The Top of the Top: The Living Building Challenge

We recently blogged about the concept of net-zero and what it takes to become a net-zero building. To quote our own blog, “In the world of sustainable building practices, net-zero is the ultimate mark of achievement.” This statement may have been a bit premature as the Living Building Challenge might just have net-zero beat.

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification is a relatively new standard monitored by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). In order to be certified, building owners must meet the requirements of 20 “imperatives” that are separated into seven different categories or “petals”:


  • Limits to growth
  • Urban agriculture
  • Habitat exchange
  • Car-free living


  • Net positive water


  • Net positive energy


  • Civilized environment
  • Healthy interior environment
  • Biophilic environment


  • Red list
  • Embodied carbon footprint
  • Responsible industry
  • Living economy sourcing
  • Net positive waste


  • Human scale + human places
  • Universal access to nature & place
  • Equitable investment
  • JUST organizations


  • Beauty + Spirit
  • Inspiration + Education


There are fewer than 10 LBC buildings in existence.


So what is the difference between LBC, LEED certification and so many of the other building sustainability standards? Amanda Sturgeon, CEO of ILFI, believes that many building owners are drawn to LBC because there is a connection between a Living Building and the change that they want to see in the world. Owners who are drawn to the program are really interested in how buildings can function like a living system. As opposed to LEED, while a hugely successful program, is more black-and-white in its approach, LBC really requires owners to think outside of the box and get creative about the way our built environment works with our natural environment.


Related- How and Why High Performance Buildings are Changing the Industry

Katie Craven
Katie Craven is Marketing, Communication and Brand Manager at Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers, a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers as well as additional blog posts can be found here.
Free E-Book
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit

Ask a Project Manager

Questions? We're here for you.