Brief Overviews Living Building Challenge (LBC)
This standard is overseen by the Living Future Institute, and it attempts to “dramatically raise the bar from a paradigm of doing less harm to one in which we view our role as a steward and co-creator of a true Living Future.”
The system is based on seven distinct “petals,” each of which has stated imperatives that must be met in order to receive certifications:
Place Projects may only be built on grey-fields or brownfields.
Water 100% of water supply and treatment needs must be met on site.
Energy 105% of the project’s energy needs must be supplied by on-site renewable energy on a net annual basis, without the use of onsite combustion.
Health and Happiness Projects must produce a Healthy Interior Environment Plan that explains how the project will achieve an exemplary indoor environment.
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Materials Projects may not use materials that contain Red List chemicals; they must account for total embodied carbon; they must use and advocate for the creation and adoption of third-party certified standards for sustainable resource extraction and fair labor practices; they must use regionally sourced materials; and they need to reduce site waste by over 90%.
Equity Projects must contribute to communities that allow equitable access and treatment to all people regardless of physical abilities, age, or socioeconomic status; and the project must provide proof of contribution to a just society.
Beauty Projects must meaningfully integrate public art and contain design features intended solely for human delight and the celebration of culture, spirit, and place appropriate to the project’s function, and educational materials about the project must be provided.
The LBC is by far the most comprehensive building rating system, and differs from others not only via its higher standards, but also by requiring projects to embody the full intent of each “petal” category in order to receive certification. There are no “partial marks” or lower thresholds, though projects can choose to certify in chosen “petal” categories rather than all of them.
The LBC is unique in requiring one full year of operation of the building before certification can be given, rather than relying on computer modeling.
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