Update to Living Building Challenge

09/01/2014 |

Learn about key changes in Version 3.0

Have you considered submitting your facility to the Living Building Challenge?

This rigorous certification prides itself as the toughest sustainability standard for the built environment. Coordinated by the International Future Living Institute, the tool requires a building to have an ecological footprint with minimal impacts.

The program is comprised of seven performance categories or Petals: Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. Petals are subdivided into 20 Imperatives, each of which focuses on a specific sphere of influence. While the Living Building Challenge is versatile and can apply to any building project, all Imperatives are mandatory.

Certification is also based on actual performance, rather than modeled or anticipated. Projects must be operational for at least 12 consecutive months prior to evaluation, though some requirements can be verified after construction through a preliminary audit.

If recent updates to LEED aren’t in line with your building project, the Living Building Challenge now offers Version 3.0. The latest edition includes several key refinements and new stipulations.

Site Petal Becomes Place Petal This reflects the challenge’s deeply held belief that each project location should be viewed as a place with unique and important characteristics as opposed to merely a site ready for development.
Neighborhood Emphasis Discontinued The Neighborhood status has been removed and relaunched as the Living Community Challenge. Working at scales beyond individual buildings, as well as the infrastructure and urban fabric between buildings, deserves its own focus and attention even though market-based exceptions vary dramatically. Living Building projects still have the option to Scale Jump to community-level solutions.
Durable Construction a Priority There is greater emphasis on the importance of resilient infrastructure. This focus will ensure that in a time of uncertainty and disruption, Living Buildings can stand as beacons of safety and security.
Goals Shift to Regenerative Design Rather than earlier framings of “do no harm,” more explicit emphasis has been placed on regenerative design. The Living Building Challenge should not be viewed as a net neutral program, but as a tool for creating a pathway and vision for a truly renewable future.
Donate to Worthy Causes Make a difference in the lives of others. Options under the Living Future Exchange include habitat conservation, carbon offsets, or an equity exchange donation. Each path harnesses private development for social good and aggregates contributions for greater effect. The Equity Exchange program has been refined and fleshed out since its introduction in version 2.0. For every dollar of total project cost in Living Building Challenge projects, the development must set aside and donate half a cent or more to a charity or contribute to the Institute’s Equitable Offset Program, which is in tandem with the Institute’s carbon exchange funds renewable infrastructure for charitable enterprises.

Adjustments to Chemicals of Concern
Materials transparency is now supported through a direct connection with Declare, a materials nutrition label. Users can also consult an expanded Red List, which received its first update since 2006. Furniture systems are now included in the Materials Petal. Fluorescent lighting in all but a few applications has also been banned, the first time a green building program has taken such a step forward in reducing materials toxicity in the lighting industry.



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