Although it may not be part of the vernacular, LEED (Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design) certification has become more prevalent in the last few years. As awareness about the scarcity of resources has been brought to the attention of the general public, there is a need to renovate preexisting structures and design in addition to building new ones. These structures would be able to take advantage of energy efficiency and natural lighting among other eco-features that have become increasingly important.
With an eye to the future and a regenerative economy, The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is
- a philosophy, advocacy PLATFORM and certification program. Because it defines priorities on both a technical level and as a set of core values, it is engaging the broader building industry in the deep conversations required to truly understand how to solve problems rather than shift them.
- an EVOCATIVE GUIDE. By identifying an ideal and positioning that ideal as the indicator of success, the Challenge inspires project teams to reach decisions based on restorative principles instead of searching for ‘least common denominator’ solutions. This approach brings project teams closer to the objectives we are collectively working to achieve.
- a BEACON. With a goal to increase awareness, it is tackling critical environmental, social and economic problems, such as: the rise of persistent toxic chemicals; climate change; habitat loss; the collapse of domestic manufacturing; global trade imbalances; urban sprawl; and the lack of community distinctiveness.
- a ‘UNIFIED TOOL’. Addressing development at all scales, it can be equally applied to landscape and infrastructure projects; partial renovations and complete building renewals; new building construction; and neighborhood, campus and community design.
- a PERFORMANCE-BASED STANDARD. Decidedly not a checklist of best practices, the Challenge leads teams to embrace regional solutions and respond to a number of variables, including climate factors and cultural characteristics.
- a VISIONARY PATH TO A RESTORATIVE FUTURE.
The Challenge is organized by The International Living Building Institute, a non-governmental organization (NGO), “dedicated to the creation of a truly sustainable built environment in all countries around the world.”
Currently the LBC has programs in the United States, Canada and Ireland. There are three case studies throughout North America which exhibit the idea of embracing regional solutions. The three case studies are in Victoria, British Columbia (Eco-Sense), Eureka, Missouri (Tyson Living Learning Center), and Rhinebeck, NY (Omega Center for Sustainable Living).