12/10/2010 14:00:00

International Living Building Institute Certifies World’s Greenest Buildings

The Living

Building Challenge℠, widely regarded as the world’s most rigorous

green building performance standard, has redefined the design and

construction process for more than seventy projects since its launch in

2006. The International

Living Building Institute announced the results of its first

third-party certification audits today, declaring that the world’s first

‘Living Buildings’ are finally a reality.

The Omega Center for Sustainable Living in Rhinebeck, NY, and the Tyson

Living Learning Center in Eureka, MO, each earned full certification, or

‘Living’ status. Additionally, Eco-Sense, a private residence in

Victoria, BC, earned partial program certification, ‘Petal Recognition’,

for achieving four of the six stringent ‘Petals’ included in version 1.3

of the Living Building Challenge. Together, the accomplishments of these

three projects mark a pivotal turning point in the green building

movement, proving that buildings can be designed and built to benefit

the ecosystems they inhabit. Summary information about each project is

available at http://ilbi.org/lbc/certified.

“The Living Building Challenge calls for a fundamental shift in how we

conceive of the built environment,” said Jason F. McLennan, CEO of the

International Living Building Institute. “These three projects have

demonstrated that we have all of the skills and technology we need to

completely transform the built environment. These are quite simply the

greenest buildings in the world. If the building industry follows the

example set by these pioneering teams, we can begin healing our

ecosystems and creating a future in which all life can thrive.”

To achieve ‘Living’ status, all program requirements must be met and

proven through a full year of operation. A Living Building must generate

all of its own energy through clean, renewable resources; capture and

treat its own water through ecologically sound techniques; incorporate

only nontoxic, appropriately sourced materials; and operate efficiently

and for maximum beauty. Project teams may alternatively receive Petal

Recognition when they meet a minimum of three category requirements.

For the projects involved, this process has been anything but business

as usual:

  • The Omega

    Center for Sustainable Living serves as a wastewater processing

    plant for Omega’s 195-acre campus in the Hudson Valley. It is also a

    functioning classroom and yoga studio, cutting to the heart of popular

    conceptions about how we treat our most precious resources. “Omega is

    thrilled to have crossed the finish line, and hopeful that projects

    like ours will mark a new era in sustainable design, one that reflects

    a truly integrated approach to creating built environments that are in

    harmony with the natural world,” said Skip Backus, Chief Executive

    Officer at Omega. This project was designed by BNIM

    Architects of Kansas City, Missouri.

  • For the Tyson

    Research Center, Washington University’s satellite campus for

    environmental research and education, the Living Building Challenge

    offered a chance to create a classroom facility that doubled as an

    educational tool. The experience changed everyone involved. "One of

    the most rewarding aspects of receiving Living Building Certification

    is that it formally recognizes the exceptional commitment it took to

    complete this project,” said Kevin G. Smith, Associate Director, Tyson

    Research Center. “From design and construction through over 16 months

    of commissioning and performance monitoring, achieving this goal

    required the full dedication of everyone involved in the project. I'm

    very proud of our team and the University for having accomplished

    this." Hellmuth

    + Bicknese Architects, of Maplewood, Missouri, designed the center.

  • Ann and Gord Baird began work on Eco-Sense

    with a clear mission: to create a truly sustainable and affordable

    multi-generational home for their family. What began as a building

    project quickly became something much more, including regular tours

    and extensive media attention. “The building of our home has lead to

    an unexpected synergistic creation of communities,” said Ann Baird.

    “The telling of a new story and the real life example set by Eco-Sense

    has inspired many others to build in similar ways or to incorporate

    aspects of Eco-Sense into their existing homes.” Eco-Sense has earned

    Petal Recognition for Site, Water, Health and Beauty. The remaining

    two Living Building Challenge Petals are Energy and Materials. (A

    seventh Petal, Equity was added to version

    2.0, released in November 2009.)

Globally, projects are now actively pursuing the Living Building

Challenge – each of which promises to provide a new model of

super-efficient, healthy, water-independent and net-zero energy building

in its jurisdiction. These projects range from classrooms to office

buildings and from community centers to private residences. More

information on the Living Building Challenge and the first certified

projects can be found at www.ilbi.org.

About the International Living Building Institute

Founded in 2009 by the Cascadia Green Building Council, the

International Living Building Institute is a non-governmental

organization dedicated to the creation of Living Buildings, Sites and

Communities in countries around the world. The Living Building Challenge

is a philosophy, advocacy tool and certification program that addresses

development at all scales and has quickly become the planet’s most

advanced green building rating system. www.ilbi.org

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is a national

source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization,

Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire

an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 195

acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000

people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New

York and at exceptional locations around the world. eOmega.org

About Washington University’s Tyson Research Center

Tyson's mission is to provide a living landscape for environmental

research and education as a component of Washington University's

International Center for Advanced Renewal Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES).

Tyson provides: A large, landscape-scale experimental venue for studies

on ecosystem sustainability; a 2,000 acre outdoor laboratory for

important research and teaching opportunities from Washington University

and other nearby institutions; and research and educational

opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students related to the

environment and sustainability.

About Eco-Sense

Eco-Sense is a celebrated site-specific example of how one family

created an affordable ecologically sensitive home and lifestyle.

Completed by owner/builders Ann and Gord Baird in December 2008, it

features passive solar design, photovoltaics with grid tie and solar

thermal installation, 90% energy and water conservation, composting

toilets, rain water harvesting and grey water reuse, vegetated roof,

earthen floors, and natural finishes – all fully integrated into their

beautiful and modern version of earthen architecture. www.eco-sense.ca.

* Images available upon request.

Parsons Public Relations

Megan Hilfer, 206-789-5668




Living Building Institute

Eden Brukman, 503-228-5533 ext. 4


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