What Is The Living Building Challenge?

  June 13, 2013

Today's tip of the day is about the stringent Living Building Challenges green building rating system.

This spring, on Earth Day, Seattle's much-publicized Bullitt Center officially opened its doors. Long hailed as the "greenest commercial building in the world," the $30 million Bullitt Center is a six-story, 50,000-square-foot office building seeking to be one of the largest buildings to bbe certified under the Living Buildings Challenge certification system.

The Livings Building Challenge, though in its relative infancy (at least compared to its rating system peers, like LEED), is the most stringent green building rating system in the U.S. And with the widespread and mainstream press coverage the Bullitt Center has received, the Living Buildings Challenge is increasing in prominence.

If you're not familiar, the Living Buildings Challenge is a green building rating system that takes green strategies to a whole new level. The system includes seven "petals" — Site, Water, Energy, Health, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. The goal is to achieve buildings that "function as efficiently and elegantly as a flower."

To understand just how rigorous the Living Buildings Challenge is, consider that to achieve certification a building must be both net-zero water (though LBC allows a one-time water purchase to top of cisterns) and net-zero energy. The project cannot use any products that include chemicals on an extensive red list. And projects can only be constructed on previously developed sites.

There's no doubt that the Living Buildings Challenge pushes the envelope of what is possible from an environmental responsibility standpoint.


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