Catalyst: Inspiring the Future of Sustainable Building

Catalyst Building

What is Catalyst?

Catalyst is the result of a unique collaboration between a cross-industry team of partners that resulted in a transformative showcase for 21st century sustainable development. Anchoring Spokane’s new South Landing “eco-district” neighborhood, the Catalyst building demonstrates new building techniques, materials, and a sustainable shared energy model. These design features help make Catalyst one of the largest zero energy buildings in North America and one of the first zero carbon buildings set to be certified by the International Living Future Institute.

One the chief contributors to the sustainability goals of the project is the extensive use of Katerra-manufactured mass timber in the Catalyst building. The Michael Green Architecture (MGA) design incorporates roughly 4,000 cubic meters of locally sourced mass timber products from Katerra. The entire project embodies Katerra’s integrated, end-to-end approach to mass timber with Katerra acting as the architect of record and general contractor, as well as the supplier of mass timber, manufactured in Katerra’s Spokane Valley-based CLT factory.  It is the first vertically-integrated CLT project that Katerra has managed from inception to completion.

The Future of Sustainable Design

“When we first laid out the vision for the Catalyst building, we knew we needed a partner who could help us create a truly iconic building that showcased the future of sustainable design.

Katerra’s drive to change the status quo of how buildings are built with their CLT product and their manufacturing approach to buildings aligned perfectly with the team brought together to design and build this visionary building.”

Dean Allen – CEO, McKinstry

Getting to Zero Carbon

Designed to optimize energy use and reduce waste, Catalyst employs innovative, integrated systems for on-site renewable energy generation using photovoltaic arrays, heating, exhaust heat recovery, lighting and gray water, as well as Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to optimize operation. The extensive use of Katerra mass timber in the building, helps deliver a net neutral environmental impact by reducing the need for steel and concrete, offsetting approximately 5,000 metric tons of carbon, equating to taking 1,100 cars off the road for a year.

Catalyst Life Cycle Assessment

Catalyst, as Katerra’s first turnkey mass timber project, provided the opportunity to assess the lifecycle impact of mass timber at the whole building scale. A Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) conducted by the Carbon Leadership Forum at the University of Washington determined that the mass timber used to build Catalyst nearly offset all upfront embodied carbon in the building. Learn more about the Catalyst LCA and Net Zero building.

The Catalyst Building. ©Benjamin Benschneider

The carbon sequestered within the Catalyst project mass timber equates to removing 1,100 cars from the road for 1 year. 


Bringing Catalyst to Life

Take a peek behind the scenes of the construction process and meet the team responsible for bringing Catalyst to life.

Impact for the Long Term

The Catalyst Building. ©Benjamin Benschneider

Catalyst, as the anchor of the South Landing eco-district, provides a glimpse into the future of the energy grid, one that is more decentralized, collaborative, resilient and sustainable for the long term.

As the new home to Eastern Washington University’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CSTEM) Catalyst and the eco-district are a living laboratory for the innovators of the future.

Learn more about the integrated sustainability impact of the project.

Related Articles

March Snapshot: Women in Construction, AIA Innovation Award, Project Updates & More

News Article

Truckers get mass timber headquarters in Washington DC