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Tag: Living Building Challenge

Buildings are a climate change problem … and also part of the solution

Buildings are a climate change problem … and also part of the solution. With buildings responsible for an estimated 40% of all carbon emissions and having a huge influence of lifestyle, commerce and industry carbon reduction efforts, we can now longer afford to incrementally be less bad. And this year, 2015, being a significant year for climate change action, with the COP21 in Paris in December and the imminent release of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it is time to recognise the role of buildings as a climate change solution.

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Beyond Sustainability, as you may have seen in the media, via social media or by invite, is our significant event in London on the 5th Oct. The event highlight will be Jason McLennan’s (CEO International Living Futures Institute) first UK keynote, which promises to be an inspiring call to do more good, as being less bad is not just enough anymore

The event will also include an overview of Living Building Challenge and Well Building Standard activity in the UK from Martin Brown, Fairsnape, and Ann Marie Aguilar, Arup Associates.  Hattie Hartman (Sustainability Editor at AJ) will chair a panel debate, featuring regenerative and well being sustainability activity in the UK from a range of presenters.  In addition John Alker UKGBC will introduce the UKGBC’s new campaign ‘Better Places for People‘ 

There will, of course, be opportunity for Q and A panel debates with speakers.

Please take this as your invite to attend. The event will held appropriately, in the wonderful Royal College of Physicians building on Regents Park. More details and how you can you can still register here.

Jason F. McLennan Keynote speaker:

Considered one of the most influential individuals in the green building movement today and the recipient of prestigious Buckminster Fuller Prize (the planet’s top prize for socially responsible design), Jason F. McLennan’s work has made a pivotal impact on the shape and direction of green building in the United States and Canada and he is a much sought after designer, presenter and consultant on a wide variety of green building and sustainability topics around the world.

Earth Day 2015 – Beyond Sustainability

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Martin Brown is the Leeds Beckett Green Vision Ambassador, a Living Building Challenge Ambassador and through Fairsnape an innovative, leading consultant and advocate for built environment sustainability.

We are seeing the emergence of new sustainability thinking, one that is challenging our understanding of sustainability, one that uses expressions such as net positive, regenerative and restorative sustainability.

Patagonia company founder Yvonne Chounaird thinks we should not even use the term sustainability until we give the same or more back to nature than we take. 

At this free public EarthDay presentation Martin will provide an overview of EarthDay, from its origins back in the 70’s to its present day global celebration of the Earth, along with a backdrop for a new sustainability, focusing on how buildings and the built environment can deliver a restorative sustainability, starting to heal the future and to correct some of the sector’s past environmental damage.

We are limited to 70 places on this event so secure you place now at this FREE event by email to ckeevents@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

 

Getting serious about water

On 11th March we held the second in a series of workshops exploring the seven key performance areas of the Living Building Challenge (LBC), otherwise known as petals (more about Petals & the Petal workshops here). This session focussed on the water petal.

The purpose of the water petal is to realign how people use water and to redefine “waste” in the built evironment so that water is respected as a precious resource. Attendees to the petal workshop discussed how elements of the water standard can practically be applied using real life examples from the Bullitt Centre in Seattle. This was presented via weblink by Martin Brown, Green Vision Ambassador, who happened to be visiting the centre at the time, more info here .

We asked one of the attendees to the session to summarise some of the current thinking & initiatives around water management & conversation in the UK.

 

LouiseWalkerGuest Post by Louise Walker, Innovation Manager, water@leeds, University of Leeds

The launch of the new UK Water Partnership signals a growing awareness of the need to think seriously about this most precious of our natural resources.

Launching the new body in February, its chair Lord Smith of Finsbury said:

“There’s nothing more important than water. With expanding urban concentrations around the world and the growing impacts of climate change, we need to get better at managing water, conserving it, cleaning it, delivering it, and using it. That’s where innovation is going to be so important. The UK Water Partnership will bring together people across the UK water community to stimulate ideas and develop the products and services that will take on these challenges for the future.”

I am the Innovation Manager for water@leeds, the cross-disciplinary water research centre at the University of Leeds. With over 150 members from across the different faculties of the university, we have a wealth of talent thinking about water in all its forms and for all its purposes. We work internationally and with the UK water community to incorporate the latest research findings in those products and services that will help to meet the challenges Lord Smith mentions.

My particular interest is in ‘water sensitive design’ – that is how we can better incorporate water into our thinking for new developments, and in retrofitting, to help improve water quality, reduce flooding, provide water resources and create better places to live.

The concept of ‘Water Sensitivity’ has been embraced through holistic philosophies such as Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) in Australia and Low Impact Development (LID) in the USA. Currently, water management in the UK is compartmentalised, and surface water management in particular is not prioritised. This is not surprising, given the way in which our water services have evolved over time along with urban development. We have ensured in the UK that our cities are supplied with water, that wastewater is removed and treated to a high standard and we do our best to keep our cities well-drained (though are often thwarted by nature on this last point).

This is summarised in a neat diagram by Rebekah Brown at Monash University[1], who has considered in depth how we can move towards caring for the water resource in our urban environments whilst continuing to utilise it for our needs.

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If this illustration is seen as a timeline, we can see that we somewhere around waterways cities where we are working hard to tackle pollution, but we are a way off the future vision of a Water Sensitive City.

Innovation in the built environment will help us get better at managing our water resources and this is supported by initiatives such as the The Living Building Challenge, which is described by its American developers as ‘a building certification program, advocacy tool and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today…’

The Challenge comprises seven performance categories called Petals: Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty.

The aim of the ‘Water Petal’ is ‘to meet all water demands within the carrying capacity of the site and mimic natural hydrological conditions, using appropriately-sized and climate-specific water management systems that treat, infiltrate or reuse all water resources on-site’.

So this is not just about getting better at managing water, but about being the best we can. The idea is to make sure all the needs for the development are met by the site. Used water must be reintroduced so that it does not compromise natural systems in any way.

Green Vision is currently looking at developing the methodology for a UK landscape. This type of thinking lays down the gauntlet for innovation in the built environment. When integrated into a holistic catchment scale approach of water management, linked to green and blue infrastructure, embracing the flexibility and adaptability to deal with future changes and aligned with the aims of each of the petals, It will help us move toward the vision of water sensitive cities. This is getting serious about water.

[1] Brown, R.R., Keath, N., Wong, T., 2009, Urban water management in cities: historical, current and future regimes, Water Science And Technology [P], vol 59, issue 5, IWA Publishing 2009, England, pp. 847-855.

You can find out more about Water@Leeds & connect with Louise and the team here

UKGBC to host 5-day online Living Building Challenge discussion

The UKGBC have announced that as part of this year’s pinpoint discussion series they will be running a number of sessions on the Living Building Challenge

The discussion will start on 3 February with a look at the Living Building Challenge (LBC) accreditation and performance standard for sustainable buildings. Members will be weighing in with their opinions on this progressive rating system that has an underlying sustainability philosophy which incorporates advocacy and governance. Members are also welcome to join in a tweet chat on Thursday 6 February with Amanda Sturgeon, VP of the International Living Futures Institute, developers of the LBC as well as Martin Brown and Claire Bowles of the LBC UK Collaborative. For those interested in learning more about the LBC, check out the supported events section for training days in Leeds (5 February) and London (28 February). UK-GBC members can take advantage of a substantial discount. 

 About the Living Building Challenge

 The Living Building Challenge is a green building certification programme that defines measures of sustainability in the built environment.

The Challenge is comprised of seven performance areas, or ‘Petals’: Site, Water, Energy, Health, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Petals are subdivided into a total of twenty Imperatives, each of which focuses on a specific sphere of influence. This compilation of Imperatives can be applied to almost every conceivable Typology, or project type, be it a building (both renovation of an existing structure, or new construction), infrastructure, landscape or community development.

JUST: a social justice label for construction …

Taking built environment sustainability deeper into the responsibility agenda, the International Living Future Institute are launching (Oct 2013) a new and important transparency initiative for the built environment to sit along side the Living Building Challenge and Declare. Just will provide clients, specifiers and procurers with ‘a view of how participating organisations treat their employees and where they invest their profits’

Just will cover the important areas of gender and ethnic diversity, salary equity, gender pay equity, community involvement, responsible investing and more, taking it beyond other programmes in the built environment sector. (And arguably areas that the UK Considerate Constructors Scheme should be addressing?)

The Press Release from ILFI reads:

In today’s global economy, it’s difficult to know what your consumer dollars are really supporting. JUST gives you an insider’s view of how participating organisations treat their employees and where they invest their profits. JUST works seamlessly with the International Living Future Institute’s Declare™ materials label and the next iteration of the Living Building Challenge™ (Version 3.0 — coming spring 2014).

By providing participating companies with a clear, elegant and informative equity ‘nutrition-label’, JUST aims to transform the marketplace through transparency and open communication. It aligns with the Institute’s Declare™ materials label to provide a holistic picture of both the products a company produces and the human story behind those products.
To participate in this voluntary disclosure program, an organization must submit documentation that asks for in-depth information about twenty distinct aspects of workplace equity and justice.
We’ll be launching the JUST label and searchable database FALL 2013. Join us in this critical initiative!
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Living Building Challenge Infographic

Spotted this excellent infographic explaining the Living Building Challenge recently covered on Treehugger

“The Living Building Challenge is the toughest green standard out there, but it is seriously gaining traction as people get to understand it”

Lloyd Alter writes “Skanska prepared what they call an infographic to help explain the Living Building Challenge. It’s not really; it is more like a Powerpoint presentation glued together, light on non-verifiable numbers, heavy on written content. It is the most concise summary of the LBC that I have seen yet”

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We are currently preparing the fist UK Living Building Challenge newsletter with exciting news, events, workshops, client interest and possibly the first UK registered LBC project!  To ensure you receive a copy follow @UK_LBC on twitter, leave a comment here or email us.

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