Ambitious Alternative


Part of the U.S. and Canadian Green Building Councils, Cascadia Green Building council (CGBC) covers the regions of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and Montana. CGBC works to fulfill the Green Building Council’s goals of encouraging green building to businesses and the public, and serving as consulting to help firms connect. Cascadia achieves funding from membership fees like most other building councils and works in the realm of LEED certifications as well. The CGBC has four guiding issues that keep the organization focused on the problems they are trying to solve:

  1. Climate Change from Global Warming Pollution
  2. Persistent Toxic Chemicals
  3. Habitat Loss/Species Extinction
  4. Global Equity

Seven Building Parameters

LEED certification has been associated with deficiencies in the rating system and the Cascadia Green Building Council has come up with an alternative certification program that seeks to establish truly sustainable buildings. This advocacy and certification program is known as The Living Building Challenge. The necessary procedures can be applied to buildings, homes and neighborhoods with one word in mind, “zero”. Seven performance areas establish the parameters of the program, known as “Petals”. Twenty crucial subcategories fall under the seven petals that must be met to gain certification. The challenge calls for buildings to be more like flowers, because flowers take in everything they need from nature and do not need outside resources to live. A living building would provide for itself through design working with local climate and ecosystems. Some sub-parameters, such as “net zero water”, have proven to be quite challenging due to regulations and climate issues (not enough rain), but if this challenge can take off, a new era of building functionality could be a part of saving our planet and ourselves.

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