Living Building Challenge: 25 Projects Have Been Certified by the International Living Future Institute

The International Living Future Institute has certified its 25th project since starting the Living Building Challenge in 2006. The buildings have achieved top honors for environmental sustainability by meeting the rigorous performance requirements of the Living Building Challenge: producing as much energy as they consume annually, eliminating toxic and harmful chemicals, and collecting and treating their own water. The Living Building Challenge, with 25 certified buildings and more than 250 registered, spanning nearly nine million square feet, in five countries, and 12 U.S. states, demonstrating the influence and momentum of regenerative design.

“What has always been considered the most comprehensive performance-based green building standard in the world was once thought to be an impossibility—a bar set too high,” says the institute’s CEO Jason F. McLennan. “A mere nine years later, we have a diverse collection of 25 projects that are truly the most forward-thinking and regenerative projects in the world. It is a testament to the power of possibility and a beacon for inspired design.”

The Bullitt Center in Seattle has raised the bar for office buildings. In a city with 300 days of overcast skies, the fact that a building can reach and surpass net-zero energy, in addition to its many other green features, is remarkable. The first Living Building Challenge project to be certified in China has design elements that align with the local culture and regulations. In Pittsburgh, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens shows the beauty that can come from restoring a brown field. Berea College and West Berkeley Public Library join Sacred Heart Stevens Library as examples of communities following through on commitments to future generations. Mission Zero House shows what one family can do to eliminate their footprint. These projects are examples of the diversity that can come from innovation, ingenuity and drive to pursue a sustainable future and prove that the Living Building Challenge is maturing at an unprecedented pace.

Seven new buildings certified in 2015:

To meet the Living Building Challenge, buildings must fulfill the requirements of seven different “Petals”—Place, Water, Energy, Health and Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty—that outline a pathway to a future that is ecologically restorative, socially just and culturally rich.

Project teams are developing solutions to create net positive energy, water independent, non-toxic and culturally rich projects. To date, 25 projects have achieved Living Building Challenge Certification through any of three certification paths: eight have achieved Full Certification, four have achieved Petal Certification and 12 have achieved Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) Certification.

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