- What can we learn from the Living Building Challenge approach that might be applied more broadly in other industries?
- How do you think the Living Building Challenge might serve as a source of inspiration for other industries to aim for genuinely sustainable outcomes, rather than just better than business as usual?
- What do you think are the major barriers to people undertaking an approach like the Living Building Challenge?
- How might those barriers be overcome?
What can we learn from the living building approach that might be applied more broadly in other industries?
Try to change a system weakness/waste into a strength. Try to close the system - feed back waste into the system to be utilised as a resource. Ensure that the system meets all primary functions in efficient and effective ways.
How do you think that the Living Building Challenge might serve as a source of inspiration for other industries to aim for genuinely sustainable outcomes, rather than business as usual?
Encourage the development of holistic models - represent all aspects of a system. Look at the entire lifecycles of resources and products. Create systems that solve their own problems.Deals with own waste rather than externalising it.
3.& 4. What are the major barriers to people undertaking an approach like the Living Building Challenge, and how might these be overcome?
- Often involves a greater research and planning phase. Need access to cost-effective and competent planners/project managers.
*Technology is constantly changing. Often there can be more than one solution to a problem (eg. solar panels and battery technology are evolving rapidly). Therefore, we need to ensure the rapid testing and evaluation of new technologies. Need to be able to compare technological solutions for a particular problem.
*Novel building materials, techniques and practices all need to concord with council building codes and regulations. Therefore, councils need to become proactive and proficient in approving new materials, techniques and practices in terms of codes and regulations.
We can learn from the Living Building Challenge approach that it’s OK to challenge conventional thinking and conventional approaches in different industries. Jason McLennan says in the video that they wanted to push the building industry "to go much further than what people conventionally think is ‘green building’ ". That ‘push’ has produced results (e.g. first living buildings certified in 2010; in 2012 (when video was posted), there were 100 active projects in 13 countries). He also comments on the ripple effect that these projects are having - they are more than just buildings; they are changing people’s minds about architecture. It’s those fundamental changes that are needed in different industries.
I think inspiration comes from the fact that living buildings are restorative (e.g. they actively promote health and well-being, they operate pollution free, they can generate more energy than they use…), and incorporate integrated systems. As McLennan says, “We don’t want to be ‘less bad’; we want to figure out what ‘good’ looks like”. That ripple effect (changing people’s attitudes and ideas) is also hugely inspirational.
People may see several barriers to adopting an approach similar to the Living Building Challenge, including cost, planning, skill-set, technology, regulations and policies… It’s a brave move to be the first to challenge the ‘norm’ in any industry or business field. Once those innovators are visible, others are bound to follow, but it needs people to take those first steps.