How are you celebrating the new creation during Earth Day 2013 and this Season of Easter?


– by Tom Sine – Let me tell you what I did.  On this beautiful blue sky Earth Day here in Seattle I joined several hundred people in celebrating the dedication of the Bullitt Center, a six story 50,000 square foot building.  It is heralded at the greenest office building in America.  Both Governor Jay Inslee and Mayor Michael McGinn and others spoke at this historic event.  It is the first urban mid-rise commercial project in the US to meet the Living Building Challenge.  To be certified as a Living Building, a structure is required to be self-sufficient for energy and water for at least 12 continuous months and to meet rigorous standards for green materials and for the quality of its indoor environment.

As I was touring the building after the celebration I found myself climbing the stairs to the sixth floor, with a stellar view of the Olympic Mountains, with Denis Hayes who is the President of the Bullitt Center which is a nonprofit foundation.  Denis is also the person who launched the first Earth Day April 22, 1970 and has been one of the leaders of the environmental movement since that historic date.

I turned to Denis as we reached the top floor and said “congratulations on the monumental day this must be very satisfying time for you,” He replied that it was indeed.  I said “that first Earth Day in 1970 radically changed my life.”  He replied “for the good I hope.”  I responded “It did indeed.  It brought me to Seattle and totally changed the direction of my life.” I added “I hope to tell you the story at another time.” I will explain a bit of my story in my blog next week.

Let me share what I learned about this remarkable building during the tour.  First, the Bullitt Center is energy independent.  They collect solar energy from panels on the roof and send it through a meter to the public utility.  Then when they need energy they draw it from the utility through another meter.  They plan to monitor the entire facility to insure they never use more energy than they produce.

They have pumps that draw heat from earth into the building in the winter.  Then the same pumps send the heat back into the earth during hot periods during the summer.  Their insulated windows are designed to open during the summer to let in the fresh breezes.  The building relies solely on rain water stored in tanks and uses composting toliets.   As you might imagine and all the material used in construction of this pace setting structure meet the highest sustainability values.

Governor Jay Inslee told those at the celebration, “For those who say we can’t power the future, let them come to the Bullitt Center.”Read more:

In this Season of Easter and Earth day 2013 how are you celebrating the coming of the new creation? Write me today and tell us.