ILFI Celebrates 50th Living Building Certification

The Miller Hull Partnership Seattle Studio achieves Petal Certification in Place, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty.

The Miller Hull Partnership in Seattle has the distinction of being the International Living Future Institute’s 50th project to be certified under the program’s Living Building Challenge. The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is a certification program that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability—providing a framework for design, construction and the symbiotic relationship between people and all aspects of the built environment.

In 2016, Miller Hull undertook renovation of their studio in the historic Polson Building in Pioneer Square, transforming 14,000 square feet of tenant space to achieve 12 Imperatives in four LBC Petals including Place, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. One of the most significant achievements is compliance with the Living Building Challenge Red List, which included custom design and local hand fabrication of furniture and furniture systems. Additionally, as part of the Place Petal requirements and in partnership with a local conservation and Land Trust organization, Miller Hull offset a portion of land to help conserve 18 acres of forest, wetlands, tideland and marine shoreline in Puget Sound.

“The Miller Hull Partnership has set an incredibly high bar with the renovation of this existing space into a beautiful, flexible open workplace that fosters collaboration and innovation, while at the same time achieving the highest environmental design standards in the world,” said Amanda Sturgeon, CEO of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). “They are the first architecture firm to design both a fully certified Living Building (The Bullitt Center) and a Petal Certified project.” Miller Hull is also on the design team for a project that is pursuing full Living Building Certification at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

“We were informed not only by our goals in relation to the LBC, but also by the desire to connect our interiors with nature as much as possible,” said Chris Hellstern, LFA and Living Building Challenge services director for The Miller Hull Partnership.  “Open perimeter workstations preserve views and natural light. Existing exposed heavy timber structure and salvaged wood floors combine with a neutral color palette to ground the space in nature.”

Working within the limits of Tenant Improvement in an existing building, the project team was nonetheless able to achieve remarkable energy performance. Between lighting reduction, occupancy sensors, and new energy efficient systems, the team reduced the energy use intensity (EUI) of the space to 45 which is a 37.5 percent reduction over the 2030 Challenge baseline for this building type.

Other notable metrics include:

  • 88 percent savings in lighting electricity use
  • 25 percent savings in plug load electricity use
  • 22 percent overall savings in electricity use
  • 19 percent overall savings in energy use