Monday, January 14, 2013

Beyond LEED: The Living Building Challenge

The Bullitt Center will be the greenest, most energy efficient commercial building in the world, firmly planting Seattle at the forefront of the green building movement. The vision of the Bullitt Center is to change the way buildings are designed, built and operated to improve long-term environmental performance and promote broader implementation of energy efficiency, renewable energy and other green building technologies in the Northwest.  The building is seeking to meet the ambitious goals of the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most strenuous benchmark for sustainability.  For example, a solar array will generate as much electricity as the building uses and rain will supply as much water, with all waste water treated onsite.

Living Building Challenge was endorsed by both the US Green Building Council and the Canada Green Building Council in 2006.  Living Building Challenge is a certification based on a demonstrated level of rigor: projects can be certified as "Living" if they prove to meet all of the program requirements after 12 months of continued operations and full occupancy. It is also possible to achieve Petal Recognition, or partial program certification, for achieving all of the requirements of at least three Petals when at least one of the following is included: Water, Energy and/or Materials.

The Living Building Challenge is premised on a belief that the 21st century will require a rapid, worldwide movement to ultra-high performance buildings. But for this movement to realize its full potential, these buildings must also be a source of beauty, joy, well-being and inspiration. They will marry architectural titan Louis Sullivan’s “form follows function” precept with the highest levels of efficiency currently achievable. Learning from nature’s preoccupation with maximizing return from scarce resources, they will also be beautifully functional.

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