The Bullitt Center in Seattle: The planet’s ‘greenest’ office facility?

Note to Reader:

On December 3, 2013 the Partnership for Water Sustainability and the Irrigation Industry Association of BC (IIABC) are joining forces to co-host a workshop that will explore regulatory requirements, water balance benefits and practical applications of rainwater harvesting design and operation. The workshop is structured as four cascading modules.

In the third of the four modules, the team of Mark Buehrer, Craig Borland and Ron Schwenger will highlight what one needs to know about the design and installation of rainwater harvesting systems in a Living Building context. Their context presentations will prepare participants for a “Town-Hall Sharing & Learning” segment on Rainwater Harvesting-Greatest Challenges. Below is a preview of the perspective that Mark Buehrer will provide.

TO REGISTER for the workshop, go to the IIABC website:

TO DOWNLOAD a copy of the Program Overview, click on Get Your Mind Into the Gutter: A Workshop on Rainwater Harvesting in British Columbia.




Bullitt Centre is at the Forefront of Performance-Based Design

“A six-story building using solar panels, a rainwater cistern, composting toilets and a constellation of other systems to achieve what might be the most arduous certification process in sustainable building today. This is the Bullitt Center, extolled as the planet’s ‘greenest’ office facility,” wrote Evan Marczynksi in an article published in the Bellingham Business Journal in June 2013.

“The Bullitt Center is among the most high-profile U.S. projects to have attempted the Living Building Challenge, a rigorous sustainable-building certification launched in 2006 by the Cascadia Green Building Council.”

And Mark Buehrer played a key role in its development.

A “Closed Loop” Water System

Mark Buehrer 2011_120p“Whenever you’re the first at doing something, it takes a lot of effort,” states Mark Buehrer.

“The goal of the Bullitt Center is to change the way buildings are designed, built and operated to improve long-term environmental performance and promote broader implementation of energy efficiency, renewable energy and other green building technologies in the Northwest.”

“The water petal of the Living Building Challenge envisions a future whereby all buildings are designed to harvest sufficient water to meet the needs of occupants, while respecting the natural hydrology of the site, the water needs of neighbors, and the ecosystem it inhabits.”

“The integrated design provides the ‘closed loop’ water system required by Imperative 5 and 6 of the Living Building Challenge.”

Wholistic Engineering

Mark Buehrer is the founder and director of 2020 ENGINEERING located in Bellingham, Washington.  He is a registered professional civil engineer, author, and inventor with 30 years of broad experience in engineering design, construction and project management.  “Since 1995, our company has been dedicated to providing simple and innovative solutions for the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of local, national and international communities,” states Mark Buehrer.

Mark conceived and developed the concept of Wholistic Engineering.

“Wholistic Engineering provides an integrated ‘problem solving’ approach that considers all issues and possible conditions related to the development of a project, such as: laws & regulations, social concerns, politics, special interests, economic & environmental issues, technology, and resources,” explains Mark Buehrer.

Mark Buehrer co-authored document “Rainwater Catchment Design and Installation Standards” by the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) and the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE).

Also, he has served on the Cascadia Region Green Building Council as a technical development member on the “Site Team” and “Water Team” for the development of The Living Building User’s Guide, the continued development of The Living Building Challenge standard and as an instructor of the Living Building Leader certification sessions.

To Learn More:

To download an information sheet that elaborates on the “closed loop” water system, click on Bullitt Center. Also, to download a PDF of the image below, click on Wholistic Engineering: Applied to Sustainable Water Resource Management.

 Bullitt Center_elevation schematic