Extraordinary Projects Meet the Built Environment’s Most Rigorous Performance Standard

(May 12, 2016, Seattle, Wash). — The International Living Future Institute today announced three newly certified Living Buildings, bringing the total number of buildings achieving the world’s most rigorous green buildings program to 11. Additionally, nine new projects have been certified Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB). Today’s certification brings the total certified projects in the Living Building Challenge (LBC) to 44 worldwide, with an additional 331 projects in the pipeline.

The Living Building Challenge calls for the creation of building projects that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature’s architecture. On the path to full certification are several levels that relate to increasingly rigorous standards, including Net Zero Energy, and various Petal Certifications for Place, Water, Energy, Health + Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy, making Living Buildings the only projects required to validate their design goals before achieving certification.

“These are the buildings that show the world what is possible–they provide incontrovertible proof that our built environment can both nurture and shelter us,” said Amanda Sturgeon, CEO of the International Living Future Institute. “Pursuit of the Living Building Challenge requires tenacity and a pioneering spirit, and we salute the teams who have brought these projects to life.”

Living Buildings by the Numbers

To be certified, Living Buildings must achieve the most advanced measures of sustainability in the built environment possible today. They are required to meet a series of performance criteria in every Challenge category, including Place, Water, Energy, Health + Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Three new Living Buildings are now certified:

The Chesapeake Bay Brock Environmental Center

Virginia Beach, VA
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s 10,500 square-foot Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, VA is the first public building to successfully harvest rainwater for potable use. Designed to supply all of its own water needs, the building gathers rainwater, then filters and treats it on-site. The building harvests energy from two on-site 10 kW wind turbines and 46.5 kW of installed solar PV, and features a roof clad in metal tiles that resemble fish scales. The project is designed to be resilient to the effects of climate change and is elevated 14 feet above sea level in anticipation of sea level rise and storm surge.

Old Oak Dojo

Jamaica Plain, MA
The Old Oak Dojo by Next Phase Studios is a 1,000 square-foot community gathering center that is surrounded by three large oak trees, providing inspiration for the project’s biophilic design and strong human/nature relationship. The building, which shares a half-acre residential lot with a community home, is an experiment in dissolving the boundary between public and private spheres, and hosts activities such as yoga, dance, meditation, martial arts lessons and other meetings and gatherings.

Dixon Water Foundation, Betty and Clint Josey Pavilion

Leo, TX
Josey Pavilion by Lake|Flato Architects is a 5,400 square-foot outdoor space on the Texas prairie that educates about and demonstrates environmentally and ecologically sound ranching practices.The project treats blackwater with onsite constructed wetland and features wall panels that occupants can slide or pivot to provide more or less protection from the sun, wind and rain.

More on Living Buildings can be found here.

Net-Zero Energy Building Certifications

Net-Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) rely on exceptional energy conservation and on-site renewable generation to meet all of their heating, cooling and electricity needs. To qualify for certification, projects must achieve the full Energy Petal along with a subset of requirements within the Place and Beauty Petals.

The newly certified NZEB include DPR San Francisco, a 20,000 square-foot commercial building in the heart of downtown San Francisco that is the third certified NZEB from DPR Construction, a national technical builder that specializes in highly complex and sustainable projects. This year’s certifications also recognize a number of residential projects, including three single-family homes and one detached multifamily residence building.

The newly certified Net Zero Energy Buildings are:

zHome Phase II in Issaquah, WA
DPR San Diego in San Diego, CA
DPR San Francisco
in San Francisco, CA
Sustainable Dreams in Edmonds, WA
PNC Bank Davies and Andrew Branch in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Chrisney Branch Library – Lincoln Heritage Public Library in Chrisney, IN
2938 Madrona in Bellingham, WA
Ballard NZE House in Seattle, WA
Journey to Net Zero in Seattle, WA

Petal Certified Projects

The projects receiving Petal certification demonstrate they can improve the ecosystem they inhabit. To achieve certification, they must meet at least three of the seven Petals required for Living Buildings, which include Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty.

This year’s Petal certifications include the NRDC Midwest Office Expansion in Chicago, IL, the first 3.0 Materials Petal certified project, notable for its “Design for Deconstruction” approach that includes modular glass partition systems that are easily deconstructed.

The 20,000 square-foot visitor center at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver, BC, features an orchid-inspired structure with wavy green roof “petals” that sit above rammed earth and concrete walls and link to the ground via a vegetated land ramp. This project demonstrates the Living Building Challenge’s unique recognition of Beauty and Inspiration in sustainable project design.

Additional, newly certified Petal projects include:

zHome Phase II in Issaquah, WA
NRDC Midwest Office Expansion in Chicago, IL
UniverCity Childcare in Vancouver, Canada
VanDusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver, Canada
Mohawk Design Studio in Dalton, Georgia


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