Our Planet: What’s next in Sustainable Design?

Our Planet: What’s next in Sustainable Design?

By: Janet H. Thomas, RID The EpiCenter in Bozeman, Montana was developed as the first Living Building Challenge during the mid-1990’s. Its intent was to develop the most sustainable design project in the world. The project was developed by BNIM and team member Jason F. McLennan crafted the requirements that became known as Living BuildingTM. This guideline was further refined and Living Building Challenge version 1.0 was officially launched in 2006. 2014 saw the release of Living Building Challenge 3.0 which builds upon lessons learned from projects certified in 12 different countries. Living Building Challenge 3.0 goes beyond the concepts of LEED by building on the goals set by USGBC and CaGBC to achieve greater ecological benefits. The concepts have been refined to allow application to very small projects all the way to Master Plans for entire communities. Initially launched by the Cascadia Green Building Council, International Living Future Institute was created to house both CaGBC and Living Building Challenge organizations. Living Building Challenge 3.0 consists of 7 Petals or performance categories containing 20 Imperatives that cover spheres of influence to achieving long term sustainability and Net Positive outcomes in energy, water and waste. Taking on the challenge requires a project to commit to redefining communities so they move away from having a negative environmental impact and instead creating a regenerative environment. The 7 Petals are:

  • Place; project location and unique characteristics
  • Water; usage realignment and redefinition of environmental waste
  • Energy; renewable forms without combustion or fission at 105% of project need
  • Health & Happiness; optimizing physiological & psychological well being
  • Materials; non-toxic, regenerative, transparent content that’s accessible
  • Equity; access for all peoples to fresh air, sunlight & water
  • Beauty; elevating human spirit through good design

There are three levels of Certification available; Living Building Certification, Petal Recognition or Net Zero Energy Building Certification. The Certification process requires registering the project, assembling the documentation throughout design, construction and owner operation over a 12 month cycle and the final audit which determines the level of Certification awarded. The owner must commit to the principles of Living Building Challenge and maintain them going forward. To learn more about this initiative check out some of the case studies on the Living Building Challenge site. What strides has your community taken to achieve regenerative responses to environmental, social and economic challenges? Photo by Ratchanida Thippayas Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_violetkaipa’> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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