With a frame made from sustainably harvested wood from within a 600-mile radius, Seattle’s first multi-story wood-frame building since 1926 will actually last 250 years, an incredible improvement over the typical 40-year framing life expectancy in most modern construction.
The frame, though, isn’t a graveyard of felled heavy timber from old-growth forests. No, the planks are made of smaller, sometimes discarded, pieces of wood bonded with non-toxic glue to create larger components strong and stable enough to span support distances. All that proves good enough for the Forest Stewardship Council to make the center the first FSC-certified commercial building in the U.S.
To reduce use on Portland cement, the material responsible for 7 percent of global CO2 emissions, Bullitt uses fly ash (a waste product of coal burning) to create cement. Builders removed chemicals typically added to the fly ash mix and sourced the product from 125 miles away. The re-bar used was roughly 95 percent post-consumer recycled steel.