Urban Agriculture Blossoms in Ballard, Washington – Greenfire Campus used the Living Building Challenge as its roadmap



The Living Building Challenge: Make the World a Better Place

The Living Building Challenge is a cohesive “deep green” building standard, pulling together the most progressive thinking from the worlds of architecture, engineering, planning, landscape design and policy. It challenges us to ask the question: What if every intervention resulted in greater biodiversity, increased soil health, added outlets for beauty and personal expression, realigned food and transportation systems, and a deeper understanding of climate, culture and place?

Mark-Buehrer_120p“What if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place? That is the test put forward by the Living Building Challenge and one of the guiding principles for Greenfire Campus in Ballard, Washington,” writes Mark Buehrer in an article published by the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce in May 2013.

The Greenfire Campus is a new sustainable 4-story office building and separate 6-floor residential building replaced an asphalt parking lot in the heart of Ballard. Half of the site was dedicated to urban wildlife habitat, low impact rainwater management, and gardens (pea patch and urban agriculture space). Ballard is a neighborhood located in the northwestern part of Seattle.

Sustainable Water Design

“The Living Building Challenge’s ecological water flow goal is: One hundred percent of rainwater and used project water discharge must be managed on-site to feed the project’s internal water demands or released onto adjacent sites for management through acceptable natural time-scale surface flow, groundwater recharge, agricultural use or adjacent property needs,” continues Mark Buehrer.

“The innovative rainwater management approach strives to create a built condition that mimics nature through the use of features that maintain or restore a site’s natural hydrologic conditions, achieving an effective net zero amount of impervious surfaces. The Earth, just like all forms of life, needs to be able to breathe and take in water in order to maintain or restore its health.”

Urban Agriculture

“Almost half of the land at Greenfire is dedicated as urban agriculture and garden areas. An estimated 70,000 US gallons of rainwater collected throughout the year will provide all of the irrigation water needed for the urban agriculture areas.”

“The project’s design goal for using rainwater is to be 100 percent self-sufficient for all on-site irrigation needs. The chlorine-free rainwater will also help to provide healthy organic vegetables and fruits.”

To Learn More:

To read the complete article by Mark Buehrer, click on Urban Agriculture Blooms in Ballard to download a PDF copy.

Aerial view of Ballard, Seattle. Waterway at bottom is Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Aerial view of Ballard, Seattle. Waterway at bottom is Lake Washington Ship Canal.