Three projects have completed the first full set of third-party audits for the Living Building Challenge from the International Living Building Institute (ILBI, The Omega Center for Sustainable Living in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and Tyson Living Learning Center in Eureka, Mo., each earned full certification as Living Buildings. Eco-Sense, a private residence in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, earned partial certification for completing four of a total six petals in the Living Building Challenge, version 1.3.

The Living Building Challenge was launched in 2006 and the ILBI reports that more than 70 projects are aiming to meet its targets. To be certified as a Living Building, a project must meet all program requirements through a full year of operation. A Living Building must generate all of its own energy through renewable resources, must capture and treat its own water through ecologically sound techniques; must incorporate only nontoxic, appropriately sourced materials; must operate efficiently; and must be designed for maximum beauty. Projects meeting a minimum of three of these category requirements are eligible for Petal Recognition.

“The Living Building Challenge calls for a fundamental shift in how we conceive of the built environment,” says Jason F. McLennan, CEO of the ILBI. “These three projects have demonstrated that we have all of the skills and technology we need to completely transform the built environment. These are quite simply the greenest buildings in the world. If the building industry follows the example set by these pioneering teams, we can begin healing our ecosystems and creating a future in which all life can thrive.”

The Omega Center for Sustainable Living, designed by BNIM Architects, is an environmental education center featuring a functioning classroom, yoga studio, and a greenhouse. It is home to Omega’s environmental initiatives and serves as a wastewater processing plant for the Omega Center’s 195-acre campus.

Designed by Hellmuth+Bicknese Architects, the Tyson Living Learning Center is located on a satellite campus of Washington University in St. Louis, and includes an outdoor laboratory and classroom structure where students focus on ecosystem sustainability. (Click here to read ECO-STRUCTURE’s onlinr profile of Tyson Living Learning Center.)

Eco-Sense, designed by its owners, Ann and Gord Baird, is home to a three-generation family of six in Victoria. It was designed to be a sustainable showcase and includes research with solar PV and wind power, solar thermal heating, rainwater harvesting via a living roof, greywater reuse, and passive solar design. According to the designers, it is the first code-approved, seismically engineered load-bearing insulated cob residence in North America.

To learn more about the three certified projects, visit The International Living Building Institute. To learn more about the Living Building Challenge in a past issue of ECO-STRUCTURE, click here: