Great Glazing: Bullitt Center

Photos by Benjamin Benschneider

The basics: Located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the $18.5 million Bullitt Center office building opened on Earth Day, and boasts that it is the greenest commercial building in the world. The six-story, 52,000-square-foot, Class A office building’s unusually tall 14-foot floor-to-floor heights are matched with equally impressive floor-to-ceiling operable window systems, providing daylight and expansive views of the downtown skyline and surrounding environment, according to Technoform Glass Insulation.

The Bullitt Center is designed to achieve net-zero energy goals and to become the first commercial office building to earn Living Building Challenge certification, which poses the most rigorous performance standards across the globe, according to TGI.

The players: Owner, Bullitt Foundation; architect, Miller Hull Partnership LLP; developer, Point32 LLC; general contractor, Schuchart Construction; glazing contractor, Goldfinch Brothers Inc.; glazing systems manufacturer, Schüco USA LP; glass fabricator, Northwestern Industries Inc.; glass manufacturer, PPG Industries; thermal spacer systems manufacturer, Technoform Glass Insulation

The glass and systems: Bullitt Center’s operable windows capitalize on natural ventilation coupled with a heat-recovery system and weather-responsive shading system. Prior to fabrication and construction, computer simulations modeled daylight illumination for different window configurations and ceiling heights to optimize energy efficiency.

Northwestern Industries fabricated the glazing system using Technoform Glass Insulation’s TGI-Spacer for Schüco curtain wall and operable window systems with PPG Solarban 60. The spacers vary in size from 1/2-inch to 5/8-inch. Further contributing to the building’s energy goals and the occupants’ comfort, the window system’s spacer maximizes thermal performance and condensation resistance, while enhancing acoustic performance for quiet interiors, according to TGI. The curtain wall is comprised of triple-pane insulating glass units that weigh up to 468 pounds. The units are two inches thick and comprised of a spacer plus two lites of glass with low-emissivity coating on the second and fifth surfaces. This composition attains a U-factor of 0.17 and condensation rating of 86.