Jason F McLenan

14 June 2012 – The Living Building Challenge, the built environment’s most rigorous performance standard, has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge awards, announced in New York earlier this month, offer $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a holistic, systems-based solution that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.

The Living Building Challenge is administered by the International Living Future Institute and was created by institute chief executive officer Jason F McLennan.

It calls for the creation of building projects at all scales, from single-room renovations to whole communities, which operate as cleanly and efficiently as nature’s architecture.

To achieve certification, a project must meet 20 rigorous imperatives, including net-zero energy, waste and water, over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.

The institute certified the first projects to fully achieve the Living Building Challenge in October 2010, proving that the challenge is attainable now, using existing technology.

About 140 more projects, spread across eight countries and 28 US states, are in progress.

Living Building Challenge Ambassadors, skilled volunteers dedicated to advancing the Challenge in their home communities, are active in 21 countries including Australia.

Mr McLennan said winning the Buckminster Fuller Prize was a huge honour.

“When we first launched the Living Building Challenge in late 2006, we really went out on a limb. We didn’t know how the building industry would respond to such an ambitious, performance-based building standard,” he said.

“Less than six years later, our challenge is changing the way buildings worldwide are created, renovated and operated.

“Our current focus is bringing the challenge up to the community and city scales, and the recognition offered by the Buckminster Fuller Institute with this award will help accelerate the international adoption of the strategies embodied by the Living Building Challenge at all scales.”

After a rigorous vetting process by the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s multi-disciplinary review team, the Living Building Challenge was chosen from a pool of 122 of entries from around the world.

In their official statement, the jurors noted the “Living Building Challenge successfully shows how humans and their built environment can be harmoniously, benignly integrated within ecosystems”.

“Above all, its rigorous standards and daringly innovative, revolutionary approach to building are already having a considerable impact on the thinking of designers and architects around the world, influencing all levels of design and technological approaches, radically pushing forward the field.”

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