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Move over LEED?

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification has been recognized as the building standard providing a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction since its inception in 1994. These standards have been accepted throughout the U.S. and have been adopted in 30 other countries. The International Living Building Institute (ILBI) came on the scene in November 2006, not as competition to LEED, but in addition to LEED.

THE ILBI was launched by the Cascadia Region Green Building Council, (a chapter of both the US Green Building Council and Canada Green Building Council). While both LEED and ILBI advocate and set standards for environmentally sustainable construction, ILBI takes those standards further than LEED and appears to have filled in some important gaps that LEED certification allows.

In order for construction to be LEED certified, different facets of the construction are awarded points. Once the building had been certified, until very recently, there was no additional future review to ensure that the building had been updated to comply with newer building standards, or maintained to original certification standards.

Another weakness of the LEED system is that the point system can allow some energy conserving methods to be replaced by features that may or may not reduce the building’s carbon footprint. As an example, installing a bike rack in front of a commercial building rewards the builder with points while allowing that builder to not install a perhaps costlier energy conserving measure.

LEED 3 has recently been released requiring previously certified buildings submit updated performance reviews to maintain the certification. Since this requirement is new, there is, as yet, no data to show how many LEED buildings have lost that distinction. In contrast, the ILBI requires that a building be up and running for a full year, and building owners or developers must submit performance data for one year prior to receiving ILBI certification.

Last week, the ILBI released version 2 of the Living Building Challenge. This version goes beyond addressing strictly building standards, and gets into social and cultural standards as well.

Currently, more people live in urban areas than at any other time in our history. In order to address this issue, and to escape the concept of “concrete jungles” in urban areas, version 2 of the Living Building Challenge requires on-site urban agricultural programs be a component of each building completed. The ratio of required agricultural space required is relative to the amount of space available. But the ultimate goal of ILBI is the creation of more car free lifestyles and spaces that are more people oriented.

A building can be both LEED and ILBI certified. There are currently only 60 buildings worldwide that are ILBI certified (partly because the standards are so new, and few buildings seeking this certification have been completed and and in full operation for a year yet). But, additionally, ILBI standards are more stringent. As an example, to achieve this certification, a building or home must be:

Water

* Net-zero water – Water must come through onsite precipitation capture or closed-loop water systems.
* Ecological water flow – Discharged water should either be captured for reuse onsite or managed in a natural way.

Energy

* Net-zero energy – All of a project’s energy needs must be met through on-site renewable energy generation.* Civilized environment – All occupied spaces must have working windows.

Health and Human Focus

* All occupied spaces must have working windows.
* Healthy air – A variety of measures must be met to ensure that indoor air quality is at a premium level.
* Biophilia – Six different design elements need to be implemented in every 2,000 square-meters of project space.

Beauty

* Beauty + Spirit – In addition to all of the above-listed criteria, projects must have elements that are meant solely for human aesthetic pleasure.
* Inspiration + Education – What better place to learn about a living building than inside one? The Living Building Challenge requires on-site, publicly accessible educational materials.

The ILBI recognizes the environmental impact that Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification has provided over the last 10 years. But, according to Jason F. McLennan, CEO of the Cascadia Region Green Building Council “the Living Building Challenge goes beyond simply requiring energy efficient buildings with a smaller carbon footprint.”

“The simple concept of green buildings has generally produced more efficient buildings and smaller footprints. But that is no longer enough,” says McLennan. “With version 2.0 addressing issues of food, transportation and social justice, we expect a considerable leap forward will happen once again.”

The Omega Center for Sustainable Living in New York, is expected to be the first building in the U.S. that will attain both LEED and ILBI certification.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Move over LEED, is ILBI more green? – National green technology | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/green-technology-in-national/move-over-leed-is-ilbi-more-green#ixzz1T3VcFuCE

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