Earning Certification for the Living Building Challenge


The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is a highly prestigious and sought-after certification that only six buildings in the world have been able to achieve to date. As a philosophy, advocacy tool and certification program, the LBC promotes the most advanced measurement of sustainability possible. Unlike LEED or other green programs that award certification based on levels of achievement, LBC mandates that every requirement be met in order for a building to earn the title of a “living building” and be granted LBC recognition.

Petals Performance Categories

The Living Building Challenge is comprised of seven performance categories, or “Petals.” These stand for Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Each Petal is subdivided into a total of 20 imperatives, or mandatory items that a building must meet in order to receive certification.

12-month Measurement Period

Every building applying to become a Living Building Challenge award-winner must be evaluated on actual, rather than modeled, performance. Because of this, each project must be operational for at least twelve consecutive months before being certified as a living building. Then, the board is able to study a realistic sampling of data from each building and award each project accordingly.

Submitting the Brock Environmental Center for Certification

Hourigan recently completed construction on the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, VA. The building will begin its year-long measurement phase in January 2015 in hopes of achieving Living Building Challenge certification in 2016.

What’s so unique about the Brock Environmental Center is its commitment to water and energy efficiency—and its roll as a leader in the field of sustainable construction. Built to make a net-zero impact on the delicate surrounding environment, the building is equipped with solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal wells, rain cisterns, waterless toilets, and natural landscaping. The state-of-the-art facility will harbor a team of conservationists and welcome the public to spread knowledge and passion for sustainability.

Occupant Training

To be awarded this prestigious certification, the Brock Environmental Center will have to train its occupants to be able to efficiently use the renewable energy technologies. This will take a team effort, but will benefit the environment and increase the Brock Environmental Center’s chances of reaching its goal of becoming a Living Building Challenge certification recipient.

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