Friday, October 29, 2010

Living Building Challenge

The International Living Building Institute (ILBI) was launched here in the Pacific Northwest, by the Cascadia Green Building Council, in 2009 (The Living Building Challenge (LBC) was launched in 2006). The mission is "to encourage the creation of Living Buildings, Sites and Communities in countries around the world while inspiring, educating and motivating a global audience about the need for fundamental and transformative change."

The LBC seeks to bridge the gap between the ideal solution and the current solutions (aka "limits"). While other certification programs focus mostly on just the building itself, the LBC attempts to pull together the worlds of architecture, urban planning, social justice, and policy. Another thing that makes the LBC unique is that the ratings are based on actual outcomes, therefore, a building cannot be evaluated until it has been operational for a year.

One of the first certified projects, Ther Omega Center for Sustainable Living, Rhinebeck, New York 

There are four typologies for certification:

These are further broken down into Living Transcet Catergories, also based on F.A.R.:
L1. Natural Habitat Preserve (Greenfield sites)
L2. Rural Agriculture Zone
L3. Village or Campus Zone
L4. General Urban Zone
L5. Urban Center Zone:
L6. Urban Core Zone

The guidelines of the LBC include seven elements, or "petals:"

View the complete guidelines here (warning: PDF).Click here to view all projects recently certified under the LBC:

The LBC is not for the faint of heart. All imperatives for each of the seven petals are mandatory. It asks you to not just complete a checklist (not that this is simple, either) but to consider many factors, from macro and subjective (beauty) and to micro and specific (urban agriculture). The verbaige of the guidelines may be too touchy-feely for some, but the actual manifestation of those guidelines-a human-scaled, accessible, and healthy space-will be enjoyed by everyone.

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