Ground Breaking at Capitol Hill School Targets Net Zero Print
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:11

image007New Science Classroom at The Bertschi School Expected To Meet Greenest Building Standards.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held today for a cutting-edge green science building for The Bertschi School, an independent elementary school on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Designed to meet the standards of the Living Building Challenge, the project is expected to be the first Living Building constructed in Washington State.

Slated for completion in November 2010, the classroom was designed by the Restorative Design Collective, a multi-disciplinary team comprised of some of the region’s leading green building professionals who contributed their services pro-bono. The Bertschi School’s new science building is the first project in the City of Seattle to use version 2.0 of the Living Building Challenge. Version 2.0 broadens the focus of the Living Building Challenge to include new imperatives based on additional societal and site requirements, including urban agriculture and equity.


“After attending the Cascadia Green Building Council's Living Future conference last year, we were inspired to bring together a creative team to design a Living Building here in Seattle,” said Chris Hellstern of KMD Architects and co-founder of the Restorative Design Collective. “It has been such an energizing experience to work directly with students at The Bertschi School and to design a living classroom that will help to pave the way for more green building and net-zero projects.”

The building is designed to achieve self-sufficiency by generating all of its own energy with renewable resources, harvesting and treating all water on site and operating at maximum levels of efficiency with a healthy indoor environment.

“The Living Building Science Wing will allow students to expand upon current components of the science and sustainability curriculum, such as rainwater harvesting and solar energy,” commented Head of Bertschi School, Brigitte Bertschi. “In addition, students will learn about passive ventilation, net-zero water and net-zero energy consumption, concepts that will push their thinking and understanding decades into the future!”

Sustainable features of the project include a green roof, living wall and a rain garden for rainwater harvesting, to meet the net-zero water prerequisite of the Living Building Challenge. The project incorporates an urban agriculture element, with a learning garden and an outdoor classroom, where students can harvest and learn about native huckleberries, wild strawberries and other vegetation. The building will also produce all of its own energy through the use of solar panels.

Upon completion, the new science classroom will be available for tours to institutions as well as the public, to inspire and educate fellow building professionals, teachers, students and the community at-large about revolutionary sustainable design practices and green building materials.

Project Team
Architecture: KMD Architects
Landscape Architecture: GGLO
Civil Engineering: 2020 Engineering
Structural Engineering: Quantum Consulting Engineers
Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing: Rushing
Sustainability Consultant: O’Brien and Company
Urban Ecologist: Back To Nature Design LLC


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:16