What happened at Living Future 2017?

Seattle, ILFI

Here’s a quick roundup of some highlights from Living Futures 2017 last month in Seattle:

• In concert with the New Buildings Institute, the International Living Future Institute has rebooted its Net Zero Energy program. The change establishes NZE’s replacement — Zero Energy Building Certification— as the sole standard for an achievement that’s increasingly common among high-performance buildings.

• This spring, Google and Etsy set square-footage records for Living Building Challenge Petal-certified projects. At the conference, ILFI CEO Amanda Sturgeon announced that Microsoft has registered an even bigger Petal project at their Silicon Valley campus. Sturgeon told us after the conference that this represents a “third wave” LBC projects.

• Nine green building professionals and advocates were honored last week as Living Future Heroes for their role in helping to move the Living Building Challenge forward. Among them were Kirsti Luke, chief executive of the Ngāi Tūhoe Tribal Authority in New Zealand, who also gave a keynote address. (The other keynoters were eco-feminist author Naomi Klein and green-collar activist/CNN talking head Van Jones.)

• Living Building Challenge founder Jason F. McLennan led tours of his family’s new house on Bainbridge Island, just outside Seattle. It’s built to LBC standards — a cathedral-like “barn” with lots of salvaged materials, local cedar and and thick rammed Earth lower walls. Here’s a video of McLennan giving a video tour.

Members of the Living Building at Georgia Tech project team offered up their top three takeaways from the conference. More takeaways can be found here. And ILFI published its own list of 10 takeaways here. What did we miss? Leave a comment below if you have something to add.


  1. It was great to see LAS at the conference although briefly. Really liked seeing the presentation on Friday and can’t thank you, Kendeda and GT for the vision of a living building in the Southeast.

  2. We all develop working professional relationships initially through emails, phone calls, video calls and social media. The power of an event such as Living Future is that we get to greet each other in person and have time to connect on a more human and personal level. While the work we do collectively is challenging, it is our ability to build high trust networks that will ultimately lead to long term success. The Living Future global community will convene once again in Portland, Oregon May 1 – 4, 2018. See you there.

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