To become a Certified Living Building, a project must prove that it interacts with the natural environment like any other helpful biological force - improving its surroundings, rather than degrading them. Using passive design techniques, net-zero or net-positive energy systems, and a host of other green tricks, each project works to meet Living Building Challenge standards on seven different “petals,” or categories. These petals are Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. The following nine structures have all passed the test and become glowing examples of green buildings that give back.
1. Smith College Bechtel Environmental Classroom
The Bechtel Environmental Classroom, designed by Coldham and Hartman Architects, is a former pastoral observatory transformed into a green learning space in Whatley, Massachusetts. The 2,500-square-foot, single-story building serves as a part of Smith College and sits on 223 acres of pasture and forest, overlooking an old stone dump site. One of the two enclosed areas provides space for biological and environmental science classes and the other, larger area gives plenty of room for humanities seminars and other classes, such as poetry and dance. A drilled well ensures a sustainable water supply and composting toilets give back to the Earth. LED lighting and two solar panels combined ensure a gentle footprint on this peaceful site.
2. Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Lab
If you are going to teach the next generation how to move forward with alternative energy, the facilities had better reflect the mission. That is just what the Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Lab ensured with its completely sustainable, net-zero-energy design. Flansburgh Architects are behind the structure, which achieved