Certifications from Alabama to Spain include Cal Guerxo, 32nd certified Living Building and 1st in Europe, and Block 009, first affordable housing project

“Buildings have the power to change minds and culture,” noted Lindsay Baker, CEO of the International Living Future Institute in her opening address at Living Future 2023. With that in mind, the Institute celebrated new beacons for change recently, in communities from Alabama to Spain. 

At Living Future which was held this year in Washington, D.C. on May 3-5, we celebrated these beacons that achieved their Ready designation or final certification since our last gathering. This year’s cohort included 15 certified and 9 Ready designated projects, ranging in size from one of our smallest to our largest ever recognized. While predominantly domestic projects, mostly based on the West Coast, the cohort includes firsts in Alabama, Antigua, France, Missouri, and Spain. We were also thrilled to announce the first affordable housing project to achieve Petal Certification under the Living Building Challenge. 

15 building projects were honored for achieving certification:

  • Cal Guerxo, Bresca, Spain – Living Certified 
  • Block 009, Seattle, WA – Petal Certified (Water, Energy, Materials)
  • Gulf State Park Interpretive Center, Gulf Shores, AL – Petal Certified (Water, Energy, Materials)
  • Environmental Nature Center Preschool, Newport Beach, CA – Petal Certified (Energy) 
  • Inspire at Russell W Young Building, Seattle, WA – Petal Certified (Energy)   
  • PCC Downtown, Seattle, WA – Petal Certified (Materials) 
  • PCC Kirkland, Kirkland, WA – Petal Certified (Materials) 
  • Zero One, Malibu, CA – Zero Carbon Certified 
  • Boston Building Resources, Boston, MA – Zero Energy Certified 
  • City of Countryside City Hall and Police HQ, Countryside, IL – Zero Energy Certified 
  • Fellow Hall, Williams College, Williamstown, MA – Zero Energy Certified 
  • Navigate Office Center, St. Louis, MO – Zero Energy Certified 
  • Santa Ysabel Nature Center, Santa Ysabel, CA – Zero Energy Certified 
  • Town of Medway Department of Public Works, Medway, MA – Zero Energy Certified 
  • University of Illinois ECE Building, Urbana, IL – Zero Energy Certified 

Another nine projects have achieved Ready Designation by completing the Ready Audit after construction. These projects will undergo a Final Audit after a 12-month performance period:

  • PAE, Portland, OR – Living Ready
  • Google Bay View Campus, Mountain View, CA – Petal Ready (Water) 
  • Muhlenberg College Fahy Commons, Allentown, PA – Core Ready 
  • Pier 56, Mithun Office Seattle, WA – Core Ready 
  • Catalyst, Spokane, WA – Dual: Zero Energy + Zero Carbon Ready 
  • DBS Newton, Singapore – Dual: Zero Energy + Zero Carbon Ready 
  • Moissy 2 DC1, Moissy Cramayel, France – Zero Carbon Ready 
  • SCA5, Amazon Same-Day Fulfillment Center, Sacramento, CA – Zero Carbon Ready 
  • Antigua Solar Cabin, Jumby, Antigua – Zero Energy Ready 

In addition, one community achieved Vision Plan Compliance, which is the first milestone under the Living Community Challenge and supports the coalescence of a community around a common vision.

  • Verandah Living, British Columbia, Canada – Vision Plan Compliance

The cumulative impact of these projects, which represent 3.5M square feet, is impressive. 

  • Generate over 31,000 kW of renewable energy annually from on-site photovoltaics. 
  • Save more than 7.2M gallons of water compared to their baselines. 
  • Installed 181 Red List Free or Red List Approved Declare products and sent 1,100 letters to manufacturers to advocate for ingredient transparency, emissions testing, and better chemistry.   
  • Contributed to 14 new Just labels, representing organizations in our industry that are committed to optimizing policies that improve social equity and enhance employee engagement. 
  • Donated $200,000 to community-based nonprofit organizations focused on equity and inclusion. 
  • Welcome more than 63,000 visitors annually, and hosted 2,700 tours to share successful solutions and catalyze broader change. 

With these new certifications, ILFI now has 187 certified projects located in 11 countries and 32 U.S. states, each changing hearts and minds. Cal Guerxo is our 32nd certified Living Building and first in Europe. To learn about these projects, we invite you to check out our Project Map and Case Studies (please note that some case studies are still in development and will be posted as soon as they are available). Finally, if you would like to follow in the footsteps of these certified projects, plus 600 more that are actively pursuing certification, we encourage you to visit our Project Registration page or email sales@living-future.org to learn more about how to register a project.  

The International Living Future Institute’s suite of building standards serve as a framework to help make the path to regenerative buildings clear and measurable, and to catalyze our sector to develop a collective vision of industry transformation. They are both a philosophy to allow us to imagine the future and start identifying how these ideas translate to practice, and an advocacy tool to push public and private policy towards alignment with science and best practices. In addition, they are a certification system that allows us to recognize buildings that serve as beacons for change and inspiration.

The ECE Building at the University of Illinois, which achieved Zero Energy Certification, has over 950 solar panels on its roof to help offset its high energy demands.
Created to address the devastation of both the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and hurricane Ivan, the Gulf State Park Interpretive Center allows beach goers in Alabama to encounter a building powered by the sun, that harvests and purifies water, and that floats above a restored dune scape. The project achieved 19 of 20 Imperatives to earn Petal Certification under the Living Building Challenge.
Block 009, which looks to shift the paradigm of homelessness by bringing the community closer to people experiencing homelessness, is the first affordable housing project to achieve Petal Certification under the Living Building Challenge.
Cal Guerxo, an extensive renovation of a 1,000+ year old single family home in Spain, is the oldest building certified to any ILFI program and first certified Living Building in Europe.
Photo Credit: Iwan Baan
At 1.1M square feet, Google Bay View, which earned Petal Ready designation, is the largest project to achieve an ILFI certification milestone.  This building has the largest geothermal pile system in the U.S. and is already recognized for its iconic solar “skin” roof.

Header photo by www.JessicaYurinko.com

Written By

Benson Gabler

Benson is Vice President of Impact at the International Living Future Institute. In this role, Benson co-leads a department committed to inspiring, supporting, and celebrating hundreds of organizations pursuing our programs and positively impacting the world.