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Innovations in Green Design

When discussing green building, LEED is usually the topic that comes up most. But in recent years, the discussion has moved beyond just designing and constructing buildings that meet the standards of LEED, and turned into a discussion on how buildings can be more self-sustaining. The Living Building Challenge goes beyond the requirements of LEED and asks buildings to achieve net zero energy and water for 12 full months before being certified as a Living Building. Over the last two years or so, we've taken a closer look at the Living Building Challenge and how it's affecting green building.

This month, we are highlighting a new building in Seattle that is just about to celebrate its grand opening on Monday, April 22, Earth Day. Designed by The Miller Hull Partnership, Seattle, the 50,000-square-foot, six-story Bullitt Center will achieve net zero energy and water, helping it to meet the stringent standards of the Living Building Challenge. Turn to page 34 to read more about how the Bullitt Center is pushing the boundaries of green building and trying to change the world.

Sitting atop the Bullitt Center is a 14,303-square-foot photovoltaic roof with a 230,000-kilowatt-hour solar array from SunPower Corp., San Jose, Calif., that will help the building generate as much electricity as it will use. In Senior Editor Mark Robins' article, "Improving Photovoltaics' Aesthetics," he looks into how solar panel manufacturers, along with architects, are being influenced not only by PV's performance, but by a desire to design systems that create harmony with the building itself.

In this month's building profile, we take an in-depth look at the new Papago School in Phoenix. Designed by Phoenix-based Orcutt | Winslow, the architects were faced with the challenge of respecting the tradition and memory of the previous campus, which had been built in 1953, while making the new campus a flagship and prototype for a school district that was reinventing learning. To see how they accomplished this feat, click here.

Over the year, we will continue to delve deeper into discussions on the future of design and construction, LEED and the Living Building Challenge. In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts on the future of green building, and what type of things you're doing as the discussion evolves. Drop me a note any time at


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