The International Living Building Institute, the most innovative green building system in the World, is sweeping North America. There are now more than seventy projects in progress from coast to coast pursuing certification under this vigorous performance standard and interest continues to rise.
Founded in 2009 by the Cascadia Region Green Building Council to promote the creation of Living Buildings, sites, and communities in countries around the world, The International Living Building Institute has set a new green building standard, the next step beyond LEED.
Certified Living Building projects must be energy and water sustainable, non-toxic, provide for habitat restoration on sister sites, and urban agriculture is mandated.
20 imperatives of the challenge must all be addressed for new projects, briefly summarized as follows:
- Limits to Growth – Projects may only be built on previously developed sites.
- Urban Agriculture – Projects must integrate appropriate agriculture.
- Habitat Exchange – Equal amounts of developed and undeveloped land are set aside.
- Car-Free Living – Projects contribute to walkable, pedestrian-oriented communities.
- Net Zero Water – Occupants’ water comes from captured and recycled sources.
- Ecological Water Flow – Storm water and building water discharge must be utilized.
- Net Zero Energy – Energy needs are provided by onsite renewable means.
- Civilized Environment – Spaces have operable windows to provide fresh air and sun.
- Healthy Air – Projects must promote good indoor air quality.
- Biophilia – Designs nurture human attraction to natural systems and processes.
- Materials Red List – Projects cannot contain any chemicals from a prohibited list.
- Embodied Carbon Footprint – A one-time carbon offset must be tied to the project.
- Responsible Industry – Projects use sustainable resource extraction and fair labor.
- Appropriate Sourcing – Local solutions contribute to regional economy, sustainable practices, products, and services.
- Conservation and Reuse – Waste is reduced or eliminated to conserve resources.
- Human Scale and Human Places – The project design of places brings out the best in humanity, promotes culture and interaction.
- Democracy and Social Justice – All people should have access to and benefit equally from the project’s creation.
- Rights to Nature – Projects must allow access to and preserve the quality of fresh air, sunlight, and natural waterways.
- Beauty and Spirit – Projects are designed for human delight, culture, spirit, and place.
- Inspiration and Education – Materials are provided to the public to educate and motivate others, and direct contact opportunities are scheduled yearly.