Living Buildings, a futuristic concept for sustainable architecture

Though in the last decades, many architects and builders use materials and elements for greening their buildings and conserve water and energy. Even some of them are LEED certified by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), but all these efforts are just infantile attempts for how green buildings are predicted to be in the future.

And as a result new standards for buildings’ concept has emerged which are called “living buildings”. These standards were identified by the Pacific Northwest chapter of the USGBC “called The Cascadia Region Green Building Council (CRGBC)” as the buildings that living buildings are the buildings that create there whole energy need by themselves from safe and renewable sources and get their own water and treat it all this combined with efficiency and beauty of the façade. These concepts have been highly promoted by the council locally and internationally by the International Living Building Institute.

Jason McLennan, CEO of CRGBC declared that they aim to push the boundaries of these standards as far as possible in order to give the best and most efficient of this concept’s application, so in 2006 they have launched a challenge for Living Buildings (LBG – Living Buildings Challenge) to give the chance for architects and builders to pursue the aim of having the best building with true sustainability standards. On which 60 different projects were submitted in such issues in North America only.

On 6,200 square foot will be the first of these projects to be really built. Which will be the Omega Center for Sustainable Living, in Rhinebeck, New York City. Which will be the HQ building for the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies which is a one level building built of sustainable material, with a geothermal heating and cooling systems, a system for retaining rain water and redirecting it for agriculture with another system for reusing of waste water within a 4500 Square-foot greenhouse, add to that solar panels for electricity generation, with the use daylighting system to minimize the electricity use for illumination.

The design should be using no more energy that what it produces “Net-Zero”.

The building of such buildings can be a lot costly these days, which will be the main obstacle for creating such concept in the current days. Another obstacle will be how to obtain the sustainable materials that are standardized by the LBC as most materials nowadays have hazardous or off-gas wastes produced by them. The LBC aim to encourage the local industrialists to produce more sustainable materials, and Jason McLennan is sure that such materials will be lower in the near future.