The Petals of the Living Building Challenge

The Living Building Challenge is organized around seven “Petals” — as in petals of a flower.

LBC founder Jason F. McLennan, viewed the flower as a fitting metaphor for a green building standard designed to transform the built environment into a force that regenerates the balance of nature.

While the Petals set broad standards for such wide categories as air, water and even beauty, they’re broken into a total of 20 more specific “Imperatives.” Still, even the Imperatives amount to fairly broad goals. They aren’t nearly as prescriptive, for example, as the various prerequisites and credits around which LEED is organized.

To give you a better idea of the Petals and how they work with a project team, we’ve developed pages that bundle a variety  information on the Petals, including backgrounders and articles — highlighted by a column on each Petal by team members on the Kendeda Building.


Place Petal


“The Living Building Challenge envisions a world full of compact, connected communities with healthy rather than inhumane levels of density—inherently conserving the natural resources that support human health and the farmlands that feed us, while also inviting natural systems back into the daily fabric of our lives. As previously disturbed areas are restored, the trend is reversed, and nature’s functions are invited back into a healthy interface with people.”

Read our page on the Place Petal

Water Petal


“The intent of the Water Petal is to realign how people value water; to address the energy and chemicals involved in transporting, purifying and pumping water; and to redefine ‘wastewater’ as a precious nutrient and resource.”

Read our page on the Water Petal

Energy Petal


“The Energy Petal attempts to establish a new paradigm for humans’ relationship with energy, in which the places we live, work and play become catalysts for a healthy and resilient future.”

Read our page on the Energy Petal

Health & Happiness Petal


“The intent of the Health + Happiness Petal is to create healthy spaces that allow all species to thrive by connecting people to nature and ensuring that our indoor spaces have healthy air and natural daylight.”

Read our page on the Health & Happiness Petal

Materials Petal


“The intent of the Materials Petal is to help create a materials economy that is non-toxic, ecologically restorative, and transparent. Throughout their life cycle, building materials are responsible for many adverse environmental issues, including personal illness, habitat and species loss, pollution, and resource depletion. The Imperatives in this section aim to remove the worst known offending materials and practices and to drive business toward a truly responsible materials economy.”

Read our page on the Materials Petal

Equity Petal


“The Living Building Challenge envisions a built environment that is welcoming and accessible, and that enables all people to participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. It is a built environment created by equitable organizations, who lead inclusive design and construction processes.”

Read our page on the Equity Petal

Beauty Petal


“As a society, we are often surrounded by ugly and inhumane physical environments. The key to creating beautiful buildings is to embrace a biophilic design process that emphasizes that people and nature are connected and the connection to place, climate, culture and community are crucial to creating a beautiful building.”

Read our page on the Beauty Petal