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Living Building Challenge: The Latest Architecture and News

Evaluating Buildings: 12 Green Building Certifications to Know

The Brundtland Report, 1987 - "Our Common Future" - introduced the notion that the sustainable use of natural resources must "meet the needs of the present generation without affecting the ability of future generations to meet theirs." Since then, the term sustainability has been popularized and, often, trivialized in our daily lives. In the construction industry, this is no different. As much as we know that to build, we need to destroy, how is it possible to mitigate the effects of construction during the useful life and demolition of buildings? A sustainable building, in its design, construction, and operation, must reduce or eliminate negative effects overall and may even generate net positive impacts on the climate and environment – preserving resources and improving the quality of life of the occupants simultaneously. To say that a building is sustainable is easy and even seductive. But what exactly makes sustainable construction?

Answering this question is not a simple exercise. That is why, in the last 30 years, several building sustainability certifications have been created. Through outsourced and impartial evaluations from different sources, they aim to verify the sustainable aspects of any construction. Each of them addresses particular building elements and is typically focused on certain regions of the world. While there are some certifications that verify whether the building meets certain efficiency criteria, others create different classifications, assigning a score based on these evaluations. Below, we list some of the primary sustainability certifications around the world – ranked alphabetically – and include their main architectural applications alongside a brief explanation:

Miller Hull Studio Earns Nation's First Living Building Challenge 4.0 Certification

The Miller Hull Partnership has earned a Living Building Challenge Petal Certification for the renovation of its San Diego studio. The renovation is the first project certified under the fourth version of the Living Building Challenge (LBC 4.0), which continues the standard’s mission of visionary building goals. Now all of Miller Hull’s offices are Petal certified.

© Chipper Hatter© Chipper Hatter© Chipper Hatter© Chipper Hatter+ 5

Perkins+Will Launches New Website to Help Designers Avoid Hazardous Materials in Their Projects

Perkins+Will has launched a newly updated website tool aimed at increasing awareness of hazardous building materials and encouraging designers to select healthier products for their projects.

The firm first established their Precautionary List of hazardous materials in 2008, with a full Transparency website coming in 2011. The new website features improved versions of both tools. Rather than a static list, materials are now organized within a searchable database that can be quickly organized using filters such as  project type, product type, and health and environmental impacts.

LBC-LA Collaborative Student Competition

“Imagine a building designed and constructed to function as elegantly and efficiently as a flower: a building informed by its bioregion’s characteristics, and that generates all of its own energy with renewable resources, captures and treats all of its water, and operates efficiently and for maximum beauty.” Los Angeles World’s Fair (LAWF) is a social purpose company that aims to bring the World’s Fair to Los Angeles in 2022.

Perkins+Will Suggests Alternative Materials to Replace Health-Threatening PVC

When you consider the practical properties of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) - durability, versatility and low price - it is easy to understand how it has become such a common construction material, with applications as roofing membranes, siding, pipes and plumbing, conduit, window frames, window blinds, molding and trim, and fencing. But perhaps it’s time to be more cautious about its use. According to a new whitepaper report by Perkins+Will, "What’s New (and What’s Not) With PVC," in spite of recent advances in plastic chemistry PVC is still responsible for a range of environmental and human health hazards created in multiple stages of its manufacturing process.

Living Building Challenge Now Fulfills LEED Energy and Water Requirements

The Living Building Challenge will now fulfill the energy and water requirements for LEED. As the U.S. Green Building Council announced, this marks an important step in the USGBC's mission to make LEED an accessible platform that complements other construction rating systems.

The USGBC's decision essentially equates the two systems in the fields of water and energy efficiency, recognizing projects that meet the Living Building Challenge's standards within these areas as equivalent to LEED standards. By doing so, it encourages a spirit of collaboration toward sustainable goals across competing rating systems.

Leonardo DiCaprio Taps Jason McLennan to Design "Restorative" Eco-Resort in Belize

Founder of the Living Building Challenge, sustainability aficionado and architect Jason McLennan has been commissioned by famed actor Leonardo DiCaprio to design a 68-vila eco-resort on a private island in Belize. As The New York Times reports, the ambitious 42 hectare (104 acres) "Blackadore Caye, a Restorative Island" will be carried out by New York developer Delos by 2018.

The resort will feature an arc of floating suites built over the water and a network of artificial reefs and fish shelters, along with 48 millionaire villas and an indigenous plant nursery focused on manatee conservation.

“My goal was always the fact that I wanted to create something not just environmental, but restorative,” said DiCaprio to the newspaper. “A showcase for what is possible.”

Perkins+Will's CIRS Building Wins RAIC's Green Building Award

Perkins+Will's Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) at the University of British Columbia has been announced as the recipient of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada's 2015 Green Building Award. Granted by the RAIC and Canada Green Building Council, the award celebrates stellar architectural designs adhering to responsiveness to occupants' well-being and environmental responsibility. The CIRS achieved LEED Platinum status and is a regenerative structure, implementing ingenious strategies to sustain net-positive energy, net-zero water, and net-zero carbon in both construction and operation.

The Green Building Wars

Originally published by Metropolis Magazine, this comprehensive analysis by sustainability expert Lance Hosey examines the current disputes within the green building industry, where market leader LEED currently finds competition from the Living Building Challenge, aiming for the "leading edge" of the market, and the Green Globes at the other end of the scale. Arguing for a more holistic understanding of what makes materials sustainable, Hosey examines the role that materials, and material industries such as the timber and chemical industries, can have in directing the aims and principles of these three sustainability rating systems - for better or for worse.