Home again, after three days as a “sponge” in Seattle, absorbing a fascinating mix of technical knowledge, sustainability principles and visions of the future. A Living Future, like the name of the ninth annual “unconference” organized by the International Living Future Institute. Architects, landscape architects, engineers, ecologists, manufacturers, and other professionals focused on sustainability in the built environment from all over the world gathered to discuss how a sense of place and community (this year’s theme) can play a role in restorative design.
Here are my highlights.
The Living Product Challenge (LPC), ILFI’s new certification protocol seems to be the most complete, powerful and holistic standard to reduce a product’s footprint throughout the manufacturing process. Like LBC, the Living Product Challenge includes seven “petals”: beauty, energy, equity, health and happiness, materials, place, and water. The introduction by Kathryn Langstaff, LPC manager at ILFI showed all its potential.
The development of ILFI continues: as described by Jason F. McLennan, ILFI’s CEO and president, seven new certified projects this year, like the Bullitt Center in Seattle and the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Center in Pittsburgh, the first LBC certified project in China, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Offices in Beijing and others. There are now 25 certified projects but above all 250 registered projects in 12 states and five countries.
U.S. Green Building Council has started accepting the energy and water imperatives from LBC as an alternative compliance path (ACP), as said by Scot Horst, responsible for all product research, development, implementation and execution at USGBC. In other words, projects meeting these two requirements in the LBC will be technically equivalent in LEED.
Flooring materials company Mohawk has been awarded by Amanda Sturgeon, Executive Director of ILFI, with 2015 Manufacturer’s Award due to its 19 different Declare certified products. Declare is like a nutrition label for the building industry, requiring companies to disclose all the ingredients of their products. It marks the horizon of the construction market, requiring total transparency from manufacturers.