The Living Building Challenge

LBC-Petal-trThe Living Building Challenge (LBC) represents today’s most rigorous performance standard for building projects.

Managed by the International Living Future Institute, this new standard aims to transform the built environment at all scales – so buildings, parks and communities “operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature’s architecture.” To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.

Continuously evolving and improving, LBC Version 2.1 focuses on seven performance areas, or ‘Petals’: Site, Water, Energy, Health, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Petals are subdivided into a total of 20 Imperatives, with each addressing a specific sphere of influence. To date, only four buildings have been certified as “Living”. And one of those, the Tyson Living Learning Center outside St. Louis, was designed by the sustainability experts on our team, Hellmuth + Bicknese Architects.

It’s also possible to achieve “Petal Recognition” – or partial program certification – for projects that satisfy requirements in three categories of the Living Building Challenge, with one of the three being either Water, Energy or Materials. As a result, our new residence hall is aiming to meet the program’s materials requirements (below) as well as Site, Health, Equity and Beauty.

  • Red List: The project cannot contain any Red List materials.
  • Embodied Carbon Footprint: The project must make a carbon offset to account for the total footprint of embodied carbon from the project’s construction.
  • Responsible Industry: All wood in the project must be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), from salvage sources, or from the intentional harvest of onsite timber for the purpose of clearing the site.
  • Appropriate Sourcing: The project must source its materials from varying distance radii in order to contribute to the expansion of a regional economy.
  • Conservation + Reuse: The project must strive to eliminate or reduce waste during all phases of design and construction.

In addition, our design emphasizes two of the LBC imperatives as vital to residence design at Berea College in creating a naturally healthy and stimulating environment. To achieve this, we’re focused on the principles of “Biophilia” (#10) and “Beauty and Spirit” (#19) through creation of a special sundial for the front of the building and featuring student fine arts on the inside.

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