Ground broken on new net-zero “Catalyst” building in South University District

Ground broken on new net-zero “Catalyst” building in South University District

At 150,000 square feet, the Catalyst building set for construction is going to the first net-zero building in Spokane and is also set to be the largest net-zero building in the nation.

With the ability to create all the energy it consumes, the building will house businesses, including Avista and Katerra, and also three Eastern Washington University programs.

Those programs will be the Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Visual Communication Design programs which hold more than 1,000 students.

“Big visions,” said Scott Morris, CEO of Avista Corporation. “That is Spokane, that is who we are, that’s what we do.”

He said he hopes the building will be the catalyst for a whole host of future development in the South University District, with eco-friendly approaches in those projects as well.

He is not the only community leader looking to the future. The president of Eastern Washington University also hopes to be on the cutting edge of green architecture.

“I really want out students, our faculty to be in there helping create the next greenest thing,” said Dr. Mary Cullinan, President of Eastern Washington University.

The overall net-zero approach the Catalyst building attracted the attention of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who participated in the groundbreaking. She also noted the buildings planned use of a newer material called cross laminated timber, which is a building material that is more carbon friendly than other materials such as concrete.

“Energy efficient buildings are so important to our future, because buildings currently use 40 percent of our energy as a nation,” said Cantwell.

The building will have solar panels, low flow plumbing and rain and heat recovery systems.

Construction will get underway later this August, to be completed by 2020.