Some of you may know of the Living Building Challenge it seeks to leverage existing technologies in a way which combine to make a building completely self-sufficient water and energy centers and at the same time increase livability in it's adjacent area. While the Challenge is a rating system for buildings, it is much more. Embarking on a Living Building Challenge is also becoming an active advocate for the process and how it changes the environment around the building.
The first Commercial building to begin to achieve this audacious challenge is the Bullitt Center, home of the International Living Future Institute, creator of the Living Building Challenge. So they are not only encouraging others, but demonstrating that their challenge is attainable and viable in a commercial setting.
Unlike other rating systems for a building to be granted and maintain their status as a Living Building Challenge building they must demonstrate with measurable and verifiable results that they do perform as they are designed to. These are exciting projects for those of us who contend that buildings do not have to be "appliances" plugged into infrastructure as consumers, but could and should be at least neutral to the supporting infrastructure for power and water and hopefully positive contributors for power and treated water. Truly, a community of buildings meeting the Living Building Challenge, could survive and sustain livability without huge central water treatment and power generation systems or even large surface storm water management systems. Buildings and their attendant support systems would be cross linked together to create local eco-systems of the Built Environment which were neutral to the surrounding environment or even positive in terms of water management and air quality.
Take some time looking at the Living Building Challenge website and the resources below and I think you will begin to see some of the possibilities for our future.
Wikipedia Article on Bullitt Center
Seattle’s Bullitt Center: Ready To Debut As World’s Greenest Office Building
Ashoka Fellow Jason McLennan on the Future of Green Building [video]
This article is one of a continuing series about the Built Environment and the sustainable design results which can be achieved when integrated design delivers buildings which are self sufficient in the energy and water they need to operate. It is a connection of strings of interest and links of connection which lead to a greater understanding and the possibilities available to us today. NoSilos.com