Most of us who are in the various professions dealing with the built environment have heard of LEED certification and Green Globes certification for buildings and homes that attain an exemplary level of sustainability. Similarly, The International Living Future Institute has created a series of challenges to address sustainability across various aspects of the built environment. It is a series of challenges that encourages sustainable design in buildings, building products, and communities (a combination of buildings, building products, and master planning). Each of these challenges addresses different sustainable guidelines and requirements that a project must achieve to attain either a Living Building Certification, a Living Product Certification, or a Living Community Certification. These Living certifications are achieved upon meeting all of the imperatives or petals in the Living challenge. Petals are the requirements a project must achieve across various categories addressing different aspects of a project. While the living certification is achieved upon meeting all of the requirements, projects can also attain Petal Recognition for having fulfilled a minimum number of petals. The International Living Institute is proud to recognize sustainable initiative and utilization in projects regardless, of whether the building achieves a Living certification.

Buildings can also achieve a Net Zero Energy certification for having accomplished a total amount of energy offset. Reduced energy consumption is the ability for a building to provide its own renewable energy on site to sustain the annual operation of the building in order to minimize the amount of energy it draws from the power grid. Net zero energy consumption is taking that a step further and having a building provide all of the renewable energy required for annual operation of the building on site. Although the Net Zero Energy guidelines and requirements are different from those in the Living certification, they are rigorous requirements and are quintessential to reducing the strain on the existing power grid and waste generated in creating the energy a building uses in its lifecycle.

Similar to acquiring LEED certification and Green Globes certification, Living certification also requires fees for the registration and review of projects seeking to attain the certification. Fees for project certification under any of these programs are dependent on the gross floor area of the building. Therefore, the costs involved with attaining certification for a project will vary amongst individual projects.  A general breakdown of the approximate costs for attaining LEED BD+C certification, Green Globes NC certification, and Living Building certification is as described below:

LEED certification – Registration cost is approximately $900 – $1,200 and Certification cost is approximately $2,750 – $27,500

Green Globes certification – Registration cost is approximately $1,000 (using online assessment) and Certification cost is approximately $4500 – $27,500

Living Building Certification – Registration cost is approximately $500 – $1,200 and Certification cost is approximately $1,250 – $25,000

(Please note that one should consult the appropriate program for actual costs and cost estimates)

Nonetheless, the International Living Institute is committed to sustainable solutions being a part of the humanity’s interaction with the built and natural environment. They are currently working in collaboration with the Cascadia Green Building Council. The Cascadia Green Building Council has had a significant involvement in the development of LEED guidelines and leadership in sustainable buildings in the Northwest United States. Together, they are committed to spreading the use and knowledge of sustainability worldwide.

For anyone who is interested in the Living Challenges and/or would like to see the International Living Future Institute’s approach towards a sustainable future, I encourage you to visit their website here: