The PCC Community Markets store located in the Ballard Neighborhood. Image courtesy of PCC.

Seattle, WA—The PCC Community Markets store in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle is the first Living Building Challenge (LBC) Petal-Certified grocery store in the world, according to a press release.

PCC met requirements for the Materials, Place, and Beauty Petals in pursuit of the Petal Certification, after what the press release says was years of effort to reimagine store design.The company websitestates that the location used Forest Stewardship Council Certified wood, increased natural light, LED fixtures for when natural light is insufficient, energy-efficient equipment, and low-flow fixtures to reduce water use.

To meet the requirements for the Place Petal, PCC has contributed funds to the International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) habitat exchange program in order to protect an area of land equivalent to Ballard PCC’s building footprint. The website also notes that excluding toxic chemicals from all building components required some parts to be modified or custom designed, because non-toxic options weren’t readily available.

Meeting the requirements for the Beauty Petal involved the 16-foot-tall octopus seen above. Constructed by Kyler Martz,the press release says that the octopus and accompanying underwater-themed mural pay homage to the nautical roots of the Ballard neighborhood and the Puget Sound. The installation also avoided ILFI's "Red List" materials; rather than using styrofoam for the initial model, the press release says, Martz used wood.

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PCC stores in West Seattle and Bellevue were both built for certification, and are undergoing evaluations. The upcoming Downtown, Kirkland and Madison Valley stores are also being developed to meet LBC requirements.

“PCC is setting the standard for grocers around the world—showing the possibilities of building for a better future,” said Shawn Hesse, Director of Business Development at the International Living Future Institute, in the press release. “We look forward to seeing how PCC continues to drive positive impacts in their community as they pursue the Challenge with their future locations.”

“For decades, PCC has worked to build sustainable and organic food systems so that we could sell food with less harmful chemicals in our stores. Through our partnership with ILFI, we were able to reduce the harmful chemicals in our stores themselves,” added Brenna Davis, PCC’s VP of Social and Environmental Responsibility. “In our pursuit of the Petals, we built a stunning store with sustainably sourced and less toxic building materials; energy-efficient systems that lower climate impact; and beautiful public art with the sole intent of celebrating the Ballard neighborhood.”