Notes from the Field Station: The Living Building Challenge

22 Sep

“What if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place?”

-The International Living Future Institute

The International Living Future Institute, an NGO aimed at instigating a global transformation toward true sustainability, created the Living Building Challenge to do just that. Without a doubt the Living Building Challenge, formally launched in 2006, has redefined the green building movement, pushing far beyond all other rating systems in terms of its holistic and ecological design considerations.

At its core, the Living Building Challenge believes that the built environment should regard nature as the ultimate gauge of its performance, and acts to support and maintain natural systems, instead of contributing to their decline. Interestingly, the Living Building Challenge combines technical priorities, common throughout most rating systems, with a set of core values, serving to prompt the multifaceted and complex conversations necessary to address the problems currently blighting the design and building industries.

Through the use of six petals divided into 20 imperatives, the Living Building Challenge requires projects to provide elegant solutions to, among many other considerations, generating energy on-site through renewable resources, the capture and treatment of all waste water, the use of local and non-toxic materials, and the employment of design as a tool for inspiration and education. Another innovative aspect of this certification process is that it measures the actual performance of the buildings in action, requiring projects to be operational for 12 consecutive months prior to evaluation. For more complete information on requirements, philosophies, or history of the program feel free to visit the International Living Future Institute’s living building standard or the Institute’s webpage.

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Tomorrow, Friday the 23rd, CEEDS is hosting a field trip to the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY- an amazing chance to tour and explore a true certified living building! Be sure to stay tuned for my next post in which I will be discussing this exciting trip!

-Jessa Finch (’12)

CEEDS MacLeish Intern

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