The Bullitt Center – Seattle, Washington - Atlas Obscura

Seattle, Washington

The Bullitt Center

This unique Seattle structure was designed to be the greenest commercial building on the planet. 

The Bullit Center, a commercial office complex located smack-dab between the Seattle neighborhoods of Capitol Hill and the Central District, opened on Earth Day, April 22, 2013. The timing was appropriate: This six-story eco-friendly enterprise prides itself on being the greenest commercial building in the world.

The center is known as a “Living Building,” meaning it uses less electricity than it produces. Home to businesses like Sonos and Hammer & Hand, the complex regularly produces surplus energy that it puts back into the Emerald City’s electrical grid for urban use.

The building converts rainwater into drinkable water and also includes a bicycle garage with a repair and wash station, onsite composting toilets, and 26 geothermal wells that run 400 feet below surface level to help regulate building temperatures between the summer and winter months. From the 575 solar panels along the roof to an elevator that generates electricity by braking between floors, the list of environmentally friendly features is long. Any major city looking to reduce its carbon footprint would do well to look to this sustainable Seattle gem for inspiration.

Know Before You Go

The University of Washington Center for Integrated Design offers public and private all-ages tours of the Bullitt Center. All tours are arranged by reservation only.