Now that we have taken a look at all of the Petals of the Living Building Challenge and the 20 Imperatives that comprise it, let's turn our attention to the different pathways available to having a project certified by the LBC.
The LBC's ultimate goal is for projects to achieve full Living Certification. They do, however, offer alternative paths, such as Petal Certification.
Net Zero Energy Certification
The ILFI defines Net Zero Energy as 100% of the building's energy needs on a net annual basis being supplied by on-site renewable energy, no combustion allowed.
All projects require 12 months of occupancy data before they can submit for certification. The exception to this requirement is Petal Certification when the project is not pursuing any Imperatives that require a performance period.
Some of the Imperatives of the LBC do not require a performance period. Projects can pursue Two-Part Certification by receiving a preliminary ruling on such Imperatives. The Preliminary Audit may take place any time after construction is complete.
For residential projects, I see each of the main certification paths described above as being practical on different project types.
Stand alone, single-family homes could pursue at minimum the Net Zero Energy Certification. However, I believe the best path for these types of projects is to pursue Petal Certification by achieving the requirements of the Water, Energy and Materials Petals.
Responsible use and stewardship of our Water, Energy and Materials is the biggest need and opportunity in designing and building self-sufficient homes.
Multi-family residential developments would be, in my opinion, a more logical project type to pursue full Living Certification. While this type of certification can be overwhelming for a single-family home, it makes much more sense on a practical level when building larger-scale residential developments.
Quotations and information cited comes from the Living Building Challenge 3.1. To learn more or download a copy of the Living Building Challenge, visit the International Living Future Institute. Neither Joshua Stewart nor JDS Design Studio is a paid advocate of the Living Building Challenge nor a member of the LBC Ambassador Network. As a residential design firm the purpose of creating this blog series is to inform, educate and advocate for a sustainable approach to designing and building fully self-sufficient homes and communities.