I am in love with the idea of building a building that is healthy and beautiful and functions like a flower in the environment. I have spent hours studying the International Living Building Challenge 2.0 and attempting to get a team together to put just such a building in my neighborhood.
Seattle put in 17 proposals for 2011 and Portland 19 – Portland got the go ahead for 3 buildings and their first Living Building project from 2010 is just about ready to begin construction. We heard all about their efforts recently at the Center for Urban Water in Tacoma, Washington (an amazingly earth friendly building which has been around for awhile)
I have written about one of the Living Buildings in Hawaii, completed, on Biking Architect.
Bertschi School in Seattle is now on its first year evaluation countdown as the children use the Living Science Wing of their school. I think starting with a school is extremely powerful as the children helped design and can understand what a Living Building is and how it helps the environment and think this is NORMAL, not just some random concept or idea.
No stick in the mud folks here – and no toxic materials – so theirs is a building which is health giving to each of them and to the city around them. They are completely contained. And the composting toilet is the way to go!
There are 7 petals to the L-B concept, with 20 detailed design considerations within the petal format:
- SITE Limits to growth, Urban Agriculture, Habitat Exchange, Car Free Living
- WATER Net Zero Water, Ecological Water Flow
- ENERGY Net Zero Energy
- HEALTH Civilized Environment, Healthy Air, Biophilia
- MATERIALS Red List, Embodied Carbon Footprints, Responsible Industry, Appropriate Sourcing, Conservation + Reuse
- EQUITY Human Scale + Humane Places, Democracy + Social Justice, Rights to Nature
- BEAUTY Beauty + Spirit, Inspiration + Education
It took 22 people working full time to deal with the RED LIST, which are things that cannot be in a living building (They are most likely in an energy efficient building- your house).
- CHLORINATED POLYETHYLENE AND CHLOROSULFONATED POLYETHLENE
- CHLOROFLUOROCARBONS (CFCS)
- CHLOROPRENE (NEOPRENE)
- FORMALDEHYDE (HCFCS)
- LEAD (ADDED)
- PETROCHEMICAL FERTILIZERS AND PESTICIDES
- POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC)
- WOOD TREATMENTS CONTAINING CREOSOTE, ARSENIC OR PENTACHLOROPHENOL
We in the USA are allowed to bring all of these things into our own homes. Many of them are the active ingredients in our toothpaste, dishwashing liquid, laundry products, carpeting, wall boards, and furniture. There are now protective laws about Asbestos – a bit too late for all those teachers who taught for years in schools full of this (My Mother and Aunt).
Portland, Oregon is now listed as the Greenest city in the USA, but it still falls way behind Vancouver, British Columbia, and most of the European Countries that signed on to the Kyoto Agreement and had governments and individuals who just went ahead with Green/ Sustainable planning. It is still going to take massive education to get folks to understand how this works.
To be in a healthy environment not only saves people money, but will improve the health of the people within a community, which will once again save money.
There is huge resistance to understanding health – and if people cannot grasp it for their personal understanding then it is going to take massive educational efforts to help focus whole communities and countries and heal the earth. Not a task for the faint hearted.
It was very exciting to be a room full of people who have been working all along to understand and accomplish healthy buildings and healthy environments. Having pictures of the 4 buildings completed here in the USA gave people a touchstone of reality they could be very excited about.
Is there something that you are involved with that works towards the health of the earth and your community? What excites your creative juices and gets them going?
Looking forward to your ideas
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