by Russ Lowe
Moving beyond the once revolutionary LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) scope of strategies and requirements for building green, Cascadia, the Northwest chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Living Building Challenge meets once unimagined sustainability standards in areas of Site, Water, Energy, Materials, Indoor Quality, Beauty and Inspiration and Process and Leadership. Using a guideline of 20 prerequisites, the initiative supports buildings as not only self-sustaining structures but as those that harmoniously give back more than they take from the environments in which they’re built. They’re living buildings—literally.
Bringing to mind the age-old parable that “if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime,” an educational component, the Living Building Leader program, aims to cultivate its own crop of green building pioneers that will enable unprecedented strides in the design and construction industry for generations to come. The Living Building Leader Program is, as Cascadia eloquently puts it, “a series of intensive, advanced eLearning sessions in green building topics, taught by experts in the diverse fields that underpin the multidisciplinary field that is green building.” Aimed at green building pros worldwide, many of whom may have already acquired previous training such as LEED Professional Accreditation, the program supplements their green building chops in a way that will most certainly distinguish them in their respective fields of Architecture, Engineering, Design, and Construction.
Already spawning elegant designs such as Mithun’s vertical urban farms (which one best of show last year), Cascadia’s poised to be the standard-bearer for the next generation of green building.