In 2009, Seattle set out to to create the next generation of cutting-edge green buildings and inspire other forward-thinking cities to follow suit. Three years later, only one of these space-age structures is under construction, with just two more in the planning stages. What happened to the Emerald City’s “deep green” dreams?
Under the Living Building Challenge Pilot Program, which went into effect in 2010, the city offered special incentives to the first 12 developers who managed to meet at least 60 percent of the requirements of the Living Building Challenge, a program that leaves the LEED green building standards in the dust. To win official Living Building status, a structure must, among other things, generate all its own electricity and only use water that falls on site. (The latter would be a piece of cake in Rain City. The former, not so much.)
But by the middle of this summer, with just months remaining before the program was set to expire, the city had found only three takers.