Being Green – Living Buildings

Hi Folks:

Friday once again, so T.G.I.F. to all of you!  Actually, Marcia and I believe it’s important to give thanks every day, but that’s another topic entirely.

So, the big news this week is…

The International Living Building Institute celebrates the world’s first Living Buildings.
(cue applause)

If you’ve read my ‘Being Green‘ posts before you’ll know that I’ve sometimes lamented the (overly?) many, complicated and often divergent standards and certifications that exist for everything from floor tiles to lighting, and from green landscapes to green travel to entire green neighbourhoods.  For the most part I don’t doubt the integrity of the various organizations involved in creating and maintaining these standards and certifications, it’s just that as someone with more than a basic knowledge of this field I often find them bewildering and conflicting.  However, of all of the standards in existence, there has been one for the last few years that has stood out in my mind as being the most advanced and most comprehensive green building standards of all, and that is the Living Building Challenge.  While many systems work on a series of ‘points’ to achieve different levels of certification, the  Living Building Challenge is different.  Organized into seven ‘petals’ or performance areas (Site, Water, Energy, Health, Materials, Equity and Beauty), each Petal is subdivided into as many as 20 imperatives and each imperative in each petal is mandatory to achieve certification.  Also, the Living Building Challenge certification is withheld until after the building has been completed and operational for a minimum of 12 months before testing to determine whether or not the building’s actual performance conforms to expectations.  An overview of the Living Building Challenge 2.0 requirements may be found here (.pdf).

Is the Living Building Challenge something you and/or your company should consider?  There’s no right or wrong answer for that question.  From what I can see, constructing to the Living Building Challenge standard requires an extremely high level of dedication and commitment from everyone involved in the building project, and a considerable investment of both time and money.  There are a number of other worthwhile building certifications in existence, such as LEED, BuiltGreen, Passivhaus and others, but I don’t believe any of them can meet the overall results achieved by the Living Building Challenge.

Seth Godin posted an interesting blog post today on ‘Heroes and Mentors‘.  Even if this standard remains one of your ‘heroes’, it still provides something to which we can all aspire.

Have a great week!


P.S.  If you’ve read these posts before you’ll know that every week I provide a long list of links to other articles of interest I’ve come across this past week.  Well, I invested about three hours in doing so today, but when I switched from HTML to the Visual Editor, WordPress decided to simply delete them all.  I guess I should have listened to that little voice that told me to hit the ‘Save Draft’ button…  And I know better!  Oh, well.

Instead, how about the following talk from Ze Frank on connecting with others through the web (TED video).

Being Green – Cost/Benefit Analysis

Hi Folks:

Friday once again…  Before I get started on today’s ‘Being Green‘ post I thought I’d take a second for a little shameless self-promotion.  Marcia and I write on a variety of topics, as you can see from the columns on the left side of the page.  In addition to Friday’s  post, on Mondays Marcia does a ‘Marcia’s Meanderings‘ segment, on Wednesdays she writes her ‘Poetry Corner‘, and on Sundays we both write on a shared topic in our ‘He Says, She Says…‘ posts.  There are also sections on food, photography, random items, spirituality, and at the top of the page you’ll find links to some of our short stories and other creative writings.  Okay, that’s all the ‘advertising’ you’re going to get here, so on with the show!

Okay, the title for this week’s post is ‘Cost/Benefit Analysis’, and it has several sources for its inspiration.  In some Native societies there’s an idea of the ‘seventh generation’ – that we must plan our actions now for how they will affect the earth seven generations from now.  In a world run by politicians we tend to think in four-year terms instead, knowing that a new candidate or a new government can overturn much of what’s previously been done .  If the world were run by accountants, everything would have a margin of profit or loss and everything would be measured in terms of whether or not a specific product or activity made a profit.  We tend to apply such thinking to most if not all of what we do as a society. Continue Reading →

Being Green – ‘Pulchraphilia’

Hi Folks:

Friday once again!  The topic for this week’s ‘Being Green‘ post is ‘pulchraphilia’.  If you’ve never heard the word ‘pulchraphilia’ before, don’t be surprised.  I’d not heard of it myself until recently.  In truth it’s a made-up word.  Then again, all words have to begin somewhere…  I have no claim to it; the word was invented (as best I can tell) by Jason F. McLennan, CEO of the Cascadia Region Green Building Council, and the creator of the ‘Living Building Challenge’.  The word has two Latin words as its base: ‘pulchra’, meaning ‘beauty’, and ‘philia’, meaning ‘love of’.  Roughly translated then, pulchraphilia would be a love of beauty, just as biophilia is a love of life.  It comes from an article in the Spring 2010 issue of Trim Tab, the e-zine put out by Cascadia. Continue Reading →