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Gems of Innovation: Code Innovations for Living Buildings are “Living Gems”

Chris van Daalen and Andrew Lee recently gave a presentation “Code Innovations for Living Buildings” to a packed house at Paladino and Co. in downtown Seattle. They told a remarkable story about policy innovations happening around Puget Sound, helping overcome regulatory barriers and incentivize buildings that meet the “Living Building Challenge” (LBC) the world’s most rigorous green building standard.

Chris van Daalen and Andrew Lee recently gave a presentation “Code Innovations for Living Buildings” to a packed house at Paladino and Co. in downtown Seattle. They told a remarkable story about policy innovations happening around Puget Sound, helping overcome regulatory barriers and incentivize buildings that meet the “Living Building Challenge” (LBC) the world’s most rigorous green building standard. Living Buildings are ones that renewably produce more energy than they use, that capture, treat and use rainwater for all their water needs, and that nurture a healthy indoor and natural environment. Chris and Andrew told of Seattle’s “Living Building Pilot Ordinance,” which blazed a path for the Bullitt Center and the Bertschi School - two transformative buildings featured in the Code Innovations Database - to overcome building code barriers. They also shared stories of how Passive House standards, new outcome-based energy codes and district energy projects are making a “net-zero energy” future a real possibility in our lifetimes.


Groundbreaking work has been done, but so much more remains if we intend to make high-performance, deep green development the norm rather than the exception. That’s why the Cascadia Green Building Council and Northwest EcoBuilding Guild will continue partnering in 2016 to use Code Innovations for Living Buildings as an impetus for education and advocacy to get more transformative buildings designed, permitted and built; to make truly regenerative buildings more accessible and affordable for all; to convince code officials and policymakers what we already know is true – the technology to transform our built environment for sustainability is already here, now. All that’s standing in our way is a lack of information sharing, incentives and regulatory pathways to make it easier to innovate and build green.

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