When it comes to certification, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program get most of the green building industry’s attention. Now the International Living Building Institute, a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded this year by the Cascadia Region Green Building Council, has established a rigorous Living Building Challenge that could give that program a run for its money.
Photo Courtesy International Living Building Institute.
The Living Building Institute is a community of leaders dedicated to solving the environmental problems connected with the building industry. It facilitates information sharing through a members-only website that provides access to information, discussion forums and a technical companion handbook.
Although the Living Building Challenge is endorsed by the USGBC and not meant to be a competitor of the LEED program, the Challenge’s standards raise the bar higher. According to the Living Building Challenge’s standards, LEED focuses on making green building mainstream while the Living Building Challenge aims to push projects to the highest standards of sustainable building.
To achieve certification, projects must meet 16 prerequisites in six performance areas: site, energy, materials, water, indoor quality and beauty + inspiration. Projects must be lived in for 12 months to ensure they function as anticipated.