Reflections on Green Building and the Living Building Challenge

desert rain building

Reflections on Green Building and the Living Building Challenge

As construction on Desert Rain (a Living Building Challenge custom home) nears completion, we find ourselves reflecting on the process and on green building in Central Oregon. Sustainable building and healthy homes are at the core of the work we do and this project has deepened our understanding and commitment to these values.

While there is ample support for green building within our community, building a custom home to meet the Living Building Challenge (a green building certification established by the International Living Futures Institute) is no small undertaking. As the only LBC home in the Pacific Northwest, this project has required community-wide education and collaboration. It has pushed the construction industry in Bend to question our building practices and regulations, to challenge suppliers to provide local, sustainable, and exemplary materials. And it has driven us to seek out building methods that benefit not only our clients, but the construction workers and the community as well.

Green Building: Community Education

Every building professional involved with the Desert Rain home is required to attend a Living Building Challenge educational presentation before they begin working on the job site. It has been inspiring to see the construction professionals we work with, young and old alike, embrace the standards set forth by this extremely green certification. For many, it has been an opportunity to grow professionally – to take the newest and most advanced green building techniques to their other clients and onto other constructions sites.

Our suppliers have invested many hours researching the composition, production process, and shipment methods for every material and product used in Desert Rain. They can now offer that knowledge to the rest of the Central Oregon construction industry. Theses suppliers are more informed about why some products shouldn’t be used and what products are available as alternatives. What’s more is that our suppliers are giving voice to our sustainably minded community by letting companies further up the supply chain know what we want and expect.

The community has been in invited to tour the construction site throughout various stages of the process. We have had other builders, realtors, developers, curious citizens, and even classes from the local schools visit the site and attend Living Building Challenge presentations. Everyone on the Desert Rain Team (our clients, the designers, the sustainability consultant, and various efficiency specialists) is willing to share their experience and knowledge with visitors to the site. Our community has enthusiastically embraced this project, especially once they understand the impact this singular project is having.

Greening the Future

With the home almost ready to be lived in, we find ourselves wondering how we can continue to use all that we have learned. We find ourselves more able to education new clients about the green options available to them. The collaborative spirit of the Desert Rain Team has energized us as community members and building professionals.

Want to attend the next Living Building Challenge presentation? Curious about how you can green your construction site? Looking at a remodel with efficiency and sustainability in mind? Whether we act as general contractors or as project based consultants, we’d love to help. Ask us.

You can also follow this project and news about our company’s work on Facebook and Twitter.