Interior Green Wall

Bertschi Living Building Science Wing

Bertschi Living Building Science Wing

Seattle, WA

Award Winner

Project Team

Architectural Design: Chris Hellstern, KMD Architects
Civil Engineering: Colleen Mitchell, 2020 Engineering
Food Systems Consultant: Brook Sullivan, Back to Nature LLC
Geotechnical Engineering: Dave Cook, GeoEngineers
Landscape Architect: Mark Sindell, GGLO
Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing: Hollis Heron, Rushing
Preconstruction/Construction Services: Stacey Smedley, Skanska
Public Relations Services: Megan Hilfer, Parsons Public Relations
Structural Engineering: Quantum Consulting Engineers
Sustainability Consultant: Chris Edlin, O’Brien and Company

Thanks to the Restorative Design Collective, the Bertschi Living Building Science Wing is a model for sustainability in construction, and has challenged our industry to push for more net-zero buildings in our region and beyond.
— Chris Toher, Skanska
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. 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!
— Brigitte Bertschi, Bertschi School
With the integration of sustainability into our curriculum, we encourage students to become engaged as thoughtful stewards of local and global communities,” said Founder and Head of School Brigitte Bertschi. “This science building will truly bring learning to life, offering an unparalleled educational experience to not only our students but the greater community in Seattle and beyond.
— Udo Reich, Bertschi Board President
This project proves that empowering the children, whose ideas were integrated through the design, can really make a difference.
— Brigitte Bertschi, Bertschi School

A Model For The Way We Approach The Built Environment

The Green Wall was designed as an integral component of The Bertschi School Science Wing, with a primary role of meeting the Water Petal requirement of the Living Building Challenge. Located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood, the project was one of the first in the world to pursue the Living Building Challenge v2.0 criteria.

This non-profit elementary school science wing was collaboratively designed with the students and designed pro-bono by the entire design team. A 20-kilowatt PV system produces all of the electricity for the building and allows students to participate in real-time monitoring of the building’s energy use and solar power production. All the water needed for the building is collected and treated on site. This is done through a variety of methods including cisterns for storage, an interior green wall which treats grey water and a composting toilet to treat black water. The most important aspect of the project is that all sustainable features are visible and functional to students to learn ecological concepts that can become intrinsic values for future generations.

The Water Petal of the LBC requires 100% of stormwater and building water discharge to be managed onsite. Greywater from the classroom sinks flows down the drain, through an initial filtration system (Aqua2Use filtration units) and then is pumped to the green wall with distribution through an embedded (red list compliant) drip irrigation system. The plant material, selected for its hardiness, tolerance of low light, and ability to absorb water from the soil, uptakes the greywater and disperses it through evapotranspiration. The wall is a key feature of the Eco-haus, designed as a demonstration space to meet the ‘Beauty’ Petal which includes imperatives for Beauty + Spirit and Inspiration + Education. An education facility for pre-k through 5th grade, each of the sustainable systems is expressed, through design, as a visible living learning tool for the students, who measure and monitor performance of the green wall, rainwater harvesting cisterns, and other key features of the building.

Intended to be a model for the way we approach the built environment, the project is open for weekly tours by neighborhood residents, parents, and design professionals and has received thousands of visitors in the short time that it has been open. The judges praised the project’s connections to water and research, varied plant palette, as well as its integration into a larger system.

Edmonton Federal Building

Edmonton Federal Building

Edmonton, AB

Award Winner
Nedlaw Living Walls

Product Supplier & Designer: Dr. Alan Darlington, Nedlaw Living Walls
Product Supplier & Designer: Randy Walden, Nedlaw Group
Designer: Peter Streith, Kasian Architecture
Principal: Oliver San Agustin, Kasian Architecture
Job Captain: Les Poon, Kasian Architecture
Contract Administration: Susana Lui, Kasian Architecture
Principal Design: Bill Chomik, Kasian Architecture
LEED Coordinator: Esther Rivard-Sirois, GRP Kasian Architecture
Project Manager: Rob Mulyk, Kasian Architecture
Project Administration: Jennifer Tucker, Kasian Architecture

As well as being an aesthetic element, this biofilter is also a functional piece of machinery, improving indoor air quality. It actively removes pollutants from the air, generating over 1,500 cfm (700 litres per second) of virtual fresh air. That’s enough ‘fresh’ air to supply two thirds of the needs of over 150 people. And this virtual fresh air is generated using up to 90 per cent less energy than conventional air treatment systems.
— Dr. Alan Darlington, Nedlaw Living Walls

A Case Study in High Efficiency

The Bio-filter Living Wall system at the Edmonton Federal Building is the focal point of the large glass public atrium, the newly added grand entranceway into this rejuvenated historic building. The living wall and associated water feature provide a calm and serene environment in the busy public space. The vibrant layered and organic pattern of the plants makes the wall a work of art, and provides a foil for the otherwise angular and clean-lined space.

In the Edmonton Federal Building project, landscape and urban design were extremely important. The exterior of the building features numerous green roofs and an extensively landscaped plaza featuring local and native plant species. Utilizing a green wall within the building seemed the next logical step to ensure that the objectives so carefully considered on the exterior of the building also translated into the interior.

However, this living wall is not only aesthetic; it is also a working element of the building’s mechanical system. Air is actively drawn through the wall of plants, where biological components degrade pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene into harmless constituents of water and carbon dioxide. The living wall also filters fine particles such as dust and spores. Once these processes have occurred the air is distributed back to the space mechanically. The living wall also contributes to the humidity levels of the atrium space contributing innovation points to the LEED Gold certification goal.

The judges felt that this project presented an excellent integration of living wall technology into the public space of the building in both a functional and beautiful way.

Credit: Kasian & Nedlaw Living Walls

Credit: Kasian & Nedlaw Living Walls