Living Building Challenge - defined

THE LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE - A Visionary Path to a Restorative Future

The Living Building Challenge is an idea that started to evolve after Jason McLennon read Janine Benyus' book "Biomimicry : Innovation Inspired by Nature" in 1997. He was interested in how architecture could respond to such ideas, and the LBC was ultimately developed.

The Living Building Challenge is:

-        a philosophy

-        an advocacy tool

-        a certification program

The Living Building Challenge is based on the metaphor of the flower which is rooted in place and yet:

-        harvests all energy and water

-        is adapted to climate and site

-        operates pollution free

-        is comprised of integrated systems

-        is beautiful

Why is this called a challenge? Through the infusion of inspiration and poetry, it aims to embrace the psychology of the 'end game'. In creating models for the future, it aims to stir the pot and pull the market forward.

The Living Building Challenge is comprised of seven performance areas, or 'Petals': Site, Water, Energy, Health, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Petals are subdivided into a total of twenty Imperatives, each of which focuses on a specific sphere of influence.  These imperatives can be applied to the various typologies and project types.

The four typologies are Renovation, Building, Landscape + Infrastructure, and Neigbourhood. The six "living  transect" categories address places from natural habitat preserve through to urban core zone.

There are 2 rules:

-        all imperatives assigned to a typology are mandatory

-        certification is based on actual, not predicted, performance

The 7 petals and 20 imperatives are as follows:

SITE - Restoring a healthy coexistence with nature.

01 Limits to Growth clearly articulates where it is acceptable for people to build. Eligible sites include greyfields that are not on or adjacent to sensitive ecological habitats, prime farmland or within the 100 year flood plain. Landscape may only be native and/or naturalized species planted to support succession.

02 Urban Agriculture sets out to appropriately integrate opportunities for agriculture appropriate to the scale and density of the project using its Floor Are Ration as the basis for calculation.

03 Habitat Exchange sets aside an equal amount of habitat for thriving ecosystems in exchange for each amount of land used for development.

04 Car Free Living looks to create walkable, pedestrian-oriented communities


WATER - Creating water independent sites, buildings and communities

05 Net Zero Water requires 100% of the project's water must coe from captured precipitation or closed loop systems that are appropriately purified without the use of chemicals.

06 Ecological Water Flow requires 100% of stormwater and other building water discharge to be managed on site and integrated into a comprehensive system to feed the project's demands.


ENERGY - Relying on current solar income (no combustion!)

07 Net Zero Energy requires 100% of the project's energy needs to be supplied by on-site renewable energy on a net annual basis.


HEALTH - Maximising physical and psychological health and well-being

08 Civilized Environment requires every occupiable interior space to have operable windows that provide access to fresh air and daylight.

09 Healthy Air requires the taking of precautionary measures to maintain a nourishing indoor environment.

10 Biophilia requires the design to include elements that nurture the innate human attraction to natural systems and processes


MATERIALS - Endorsing products and processes that are safe for all species through all time

11 Red List sets out a list of worst-in-class materials and chemicals that cannot be included in the project

12 Embodied Carbon Footprint requires the project to account for the total footprint of embodied carbon from its construction and projected replacement parts through a one-time carbon offset.

13 Responsible Industry advocates for the creation and adoption of third part certified standards for sustainable resource extraction and fair labour practices.

14 Appropriate Sourcing incorporates place-based solutions that contribute to the expansion of a regional economy rooted in sustainable practices, products and services

15 Conservation + Reuse aims to strive to reduce or eliminate production of waste during design, construction, operation and end of life in order to conserve natural resources.


EQUITY - Supporting a just, equitable world

16 Human Scale + Humane Places sets out requirements to create human-scaled rather than automobile-scaled places, so that the experience brings out the best in humanity and promotes culture and interaction.

17 Democracy + Social Justice requires that reasonable steps be taken to ensure that all people, regardless of background, age and socieconomic class, can benefit from the externally focused infrastructure created by the project.

18 Rights to Nature requires the project to respect the quality of fresh air, sunlight, natural waterways for all members of society and neighbouring sites


BEAUTY - Celebrating design that creates transformative change

19 Beauty + Spirit requires the project to contain design features solely for human delight, and the celebration of culture, spirit and place appropriate to its function

20 Inspiration + Education requires the team to share successful solutions and to motivate others to make change

1 comment for “Living Building Challenge - defined”

Posted Monday, October 15, 2012 at 5:23:49 PM

I think it will contribute to the expansion of a regional economy rooted in sustainable practices, products and services

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