Living Building Challenge - Materials

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  • My name is ___ and I am a volunteer for the International Living Future Institute Ambassador Network in your community. The Ambassador Network provides training, resources, and ongoing support to self-selected individuals who want to share the philosophy of the Living Building Challenge with others. I’ll share more about the network with you at the end of the presentation.Today, I’ll be providing a broad overview of the Living Building Challenge. You can find more specific information and other related documents on the web at living-building-challenge-dot-org.
  • Greetings and thank you for your interest in the Living Building Challenge, a program of the International Living Future Institute that was publicly launched in November 2006.
  • Living Building Challenge is a philosophy, advocacy tool, and certification program that addresses development at all scales.The underlying principle of the Living Building Challenge is that all projects should use nature as the ultimate measurement stick for performance – the Challenge uses the metaphor of the flower to illustrate this principle.Like a flower, all elements of the built environment are rooted in place. Yet, a flower has place-based solutions to meet all of its needs and to maintain balance with its surroundings. So, imagine a building, site or infrastructure project that is informed by its ecoregion’s characteristics. That generates energy with renewable resources, captures and treats water, operates efficiently and as part of a larger community; acts as feedstock for new developments at the end of its life; and is beautiful…. And neighborhoods that scale these solutions appropriate to size and function.
  • Material selection has the most far-reaching and broad impacts on design, construction, and occupancy. It deeply influences – and is influenced by – each of the other Petals in Living Building Challenge. It is unsurprising, then, that the Materials Petal has the most Imperatives, and each issue is distinct. There are some program exceptions that play off the clear synergies between some of the requirements to reinforce the priorities of Living Building Challenge.The Precautionary Principle is the underlying theme that defines this category, and defines the suggested method for decision making. It poses that “if an action or policy might cause severe or irreversible harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of a scientific consensus that harm would not ensue, the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the action.”* In layman’s terms, it is the “better safe than sorry” approach.(* From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precautionary_principle)
  • (FOR SOME ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE HEALTH ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH EACH RED LIST ITEM, REFER TO THE ‘RED LIST SAMPLE LETTER’)The Red List is a perfect case-in-point for the Precautionary Principle. It includes some of the worst in class materials and chemicals that are ubiquitous in the built environment. These are carcinogens, persistent organic pollutants, and reproductive toxicants, many of which are bio-accumulative, meaning that they build up in organisms and the broader environment, often reaching alarmingly high concentrations as they travel up the food chain.
  • The building industry is largely responsible for many of these materials and chemicals in use. Living Building Challenge recognizes that it is a tall order to eliminate the Red List in all cases due to current market limitations. Because of this, there are several temporary exceptions footnoted in the Standard. As a last resort, the product is allowed to be used. However, when faced with imperfect solutions, project teams must communicate with manufacturers to share expectations about product ingredients. A letter must be sent the manufacturer explaining why the product purchase does not constitute an endorsement – and include a statement that requests that the company stops using the Red List material. The Institute has already seen some great successes as a result of the positive and constructive communication between project teams and manufacturers.
  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) published a report in 2007 which demonstrated that between 13-18% of a building’s carbon impact occurs prior to occupancy. And as our projects are built for greater operational efficiencies, the percentage of embodied carbon impact is even greater. This is significant, especially when we consider that many buildings are constructed to last 75-100 years – or more. We can curb some of the carbon impacts by making better and different decisions about material procurement and assembly. The Embodied Carbon Footprint Imperative reminds us that we needs to account for this major contribution to greenhouse gases. The Scale Jumping overlay applies to this Imperative.
  • For a project to be carbon “neutral”, it is important to first reduce emission potential by examining design and construction methods. To comply with the Living Building Challenge, a project team must then calculate the project’s carbon footprint and purchase Certified Emission Reduction (CER) or Verified Emission Reduction (VER) credits through a provider that meets or exceeds the Gold Standard, Voluntary Carbon Standard, Climate Action Reserve or Green-e Climate Protocol. These each have standards that are verified by a 3rd party to ensure quality control.Acceptable carbon offset projects may only be tied to the creation of renewable energy projects – excluding hydroelectric and nuclear power options.
  • Responsible Industry intends to advocate for raw material extraction of stone and rock, metal, minerals, and timber that is holistic and truly sustainable.For industries that do not yet have standards in place, project teams must advocate for the development and enforcement of such criteria. The team is required to send one letter to the corresponding national trade association for each industry sector and ASTM International.
  • At this point, only the timber industry has a formalized standard, and Living Building Challenge cites the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as the threshold for new wood procurement. Otherwise, wood may also be from salvaged sources or harvested onsite.
  • An idea can travel around the world, but everything else has limits.Imperative 14 improves the regional availability of good products and robust knowledge needed to implement restorative principles.
  • In 2003, the US EPA estimated that 170 million tons of building related waste was generated from construction, renovation, and demolition - equal to 3.2 pounds per person per day. The intent of the Conservation + Reuse Imperative is not only to reduce or eliminate material waste, but also to redefine it as a wasted opportunity.To minimize wasted materials, project teams must consider impacts during the design, construction, operation, and end-of-life phases of a development by developing a Material Conservation Management Plan. In it, teams are encouraged to consider appropriate durability of products. Another focus area is the potential for adaptable reuse of a development to consider how a project can be flexible enough to respond to the needs of the future without getting demolished.
  • Conservation + Reuse also sets stringent levels for material recycling and salvage to deter unnecessary contributions to landfills and to reduce the creation of landfill gases. Gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are created from the waste on site and its degradation over time. Diversion percentages are based on existing infrastructure that is available for various industry sectors. Although project teams are expected to make every effort to avoid landfill deposits, there is a temporary exception for meeting this level of diversion in jurisdictions where municipalities do not have systems in place to collect all listed construction materials. In this instance, project teams must document that they have communicated with the Authority Having Jurisdiction stipulating that these basic public systems should be created. This also supports the potential for an expanded local industry that can use these materials to create new building products.
  • A project can earn partial program certification, or “Petal Recognition” by implementing the requirements of three or more Petals. At least one of the Petals must be Water, Energy or Materials. All projects must also comply with the site selection requirements in Imperative 01: Limits to Growth and the education requirements of Imperative 20: Inspiration + Education.
  • Declare is an ingredients label for building products that offers answers to three essential questions: What is the product made of? Where was it made? And what will happen to it at the end of its life?Imperative 11 of the Living Building Challenge: The Red List, addresses the prevalence of building materials and chemicals that pose threats to human health and to the resilience of ecosystems. When attempting to meet this Imperative, many Living Building Challenge project teams have experienced difficulty getting manufacturers to disclose their ingredients. Declare helps to overcome this barrier by providing an online searchable database of Red List Free and Living Building Challenge compliant building materials. After a manufacturer submits a complete ingredients list to Declare and the company leader responsible for the product signs an agreement declaring that the submittal is accurate, they can be included in the database. .Declare is a program of the International Living Future Institute.
  • Thank you for your interest in the Living Building Challenge. For more information and to subscribe to the online Community, please visit the website at living-building-challenge-dot-org. (Mention the opportunity to provide feedback on the presentation and ask if anyone has questions)
  • My name is ___ and I am a volunteer for the International Living Future Institute Ambassador Network in your community. The Ambassador Network provides training, resources, and ongoing support to self-selected individuals who want to share the philosophy of the Living Building Challenge with others. I’ll share more about the network with you at the end of the presentation.Today, I’ll be providing a broad overview of the Living Building Challenge. You can find more specific information and other related documents on the web at living-building-challenge-dot-org.
  • Living Building Challenge - Materials

    1. 1. GOOD AFTERNOONMartin BrownLiving Building Challenge UK CollaborativeInternational Living Future Institute Ambassador Network
    2. 2. RequirementsClarificationsExemptionsAdvocacyDialogueResources
    3. 3. UK Criteria to be identified
    4. 4. Restricted sourcelocation zonesfor:MaterialsContractorServices
    5. 5. A Call to ActionLiving Building Challenge UKMartin Brown. Claire Bowles @UK_LBC

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