In 2009, The International Living Future Institute issued its Living Building Challenge 2.0.
The Bertschi School, an independent elementary school, decided to try to meet the challenge. Working in partnership with the The Restorative Design Collective, the school designed and built the first living building in the state of Washington.
The Living Building Science Wing allows us to expand upon current components of the science curriculum, such as rainwater harvesting and solar energy. In addition, students will learn about passive ventilation, net-zero water and net-zero energy consumption, concepts that will push their thinking and understanding decades into the future. For our students, this building truly brings learning to life, offering an unparalleled educational experience.
The Living Building Challenge 2.0 is the toughest green standard anywhere, and water is a key component of it; it envisions a future where water is harvested, purified and reused entirely on site. Meeting it is difficult and in many locations, even illegal, as they note:
Currently, such practices are often illegal due to health, land use and building code regulations, or by the undemocratic ownership of water rights, which arose precisely because people were not properly safeguarding the quality of their water. Therefore, reaching the ideal for water use means challenging outdated attitudes and technology with decentralized site- or district-level solutions that are appropriately scaled and efficient.
Image Credit: Bertschi School