The Living Building Challenge Explained

21 Dec 2017

The Living Building Challenge Explained You may have heard a great deal about the ‘Living Building Challenge’ (LBC) and wondered what it was all about. Well, at Varming Consulting Engineers were here to enlighten you. We love to help spread the word about initiatives that encourage sustainable building design and this program does just that.

So, let’s begin…

LBC is a building certification initiative concerning sustainable design that visualises the ideal conditions for the ‘built’ environment. The criteria that must be met to adhere to LBC are stringent and qualifying properties must include:

Spaces that connect those using it to the community, air, light, food and nature
Self-sufficiency and the ability to stay within the resource capacity of the site they are built on
The ability to create more energy than they use
Facilities to collect and treat water on site
Attractive external aesthetics consistent with the local environment

Essentially, a Living Building will give back more than it takes and positively impact those using the property and the local natural mechanisms that interact with it.

Two Core Rules
There are 2 core rules that govern the LBC, the first of which is that it requires more than just projected or theoretical performance levels. From and m & e engineering perspective, it must demonstrate the performance over an entire consecutive 12 month period.

The second concerns the 7 overall categories of qualifying criteria (referred to as ‘petals’), which are then subdivided into individual imperatives.

Scale Jumping
As LBC needs to sometimes evaluate criteria beyond the boundaries of the property in question, it has a ‘scale jumping’ overlay that allows collaboration between the site and its neighbours.

There are no rules governing who is able to build a living building, as it can be done by anyone around the globe. It can be done by any architects, designers and building services engineers who want to create efficient, ecologically sound and healthy properties. There are countless registered projects across the world in the fields of governmental, residential and educational construction.

Living buildings number amongst the most healthy and efficient in existence and are the most
resilient and self-sufficient around. LBC will continue to help raise the bar for Consulting Engineers in Ireland whilst at the same time protecting the natural environment.

For more info on LBC or answers to questions on the subject of sustainable building design, you can talk to one of our experts on 01 4872300 or visit our website for details about who we are and our experience in Building Services Engineering in Ireland over the last 70 years.


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