International Living Future Institute Kicks off 12th Annual Living Future unConference in Portland

“Authenticity + Action” is the Rallying Cry for the Leading Event in Regenerative Design
May 3, 2018 12:00 AM ET
Press Release

PORTLANDOre., May 3, 2018 /3BL Media/ - The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) today kicked off the 2018 unConference, a sold-out gathering of 1,000+ experts in green building, placemaking and regenerative design from around the globe. Author and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams, opens the conference; other keynote speakers include sustainable food activist Raj Patel and revitalization strategist Majora Carter.  Challenging the status quo of everything from how we redesign buildings and products to systems and communities is at the heart of this year’s conference, which is built around the theme, “Authenticity + Action.”

“Visionaries who are changing the fabric of our communities come to us for inspiration, and in turn, we have created a framework for action,” said Amanda Sturgeon, FAIA, CEO of ILFI. “Our growing ecosystem of Challenges is a catalyst for transformational change, change that is scaling in size, geographic reach and impact.”

Highlights of this year’s conference include:

The Living Building Challenge has certified 25 projects across the United States and Canada since May 2017, including six new fully certified Living Buildings. The Living Building Class of 2018 represents a diverse range of building types, including:

Commercial-Office Sector: California’s first-ever Living Building, the Arch Nexus in Sacramento, is an adaptive reuse project by a design firm whose founder has said of the impact of buildings on climate change: “If architecture is the problem, then it also can be the solution.” The Delos Headquarters in New York, home to the WELL Building Challenge creators, received Place, Health + Happiness, Materials and Beauty Petal Certification.

Education Sector:  The largest higher education project to certify, the highly lauded R.W. Kern Center at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, is joined by the first-ever modular classroom to certify, the SEED Classroom at the Perkins School, a K-12 school in Seattle.

Zero Energy Certifications have accelerated in the residential sector with 16 certifications, as well as two commercial office buildings: King Street in Seattle, and Indigo Hammond + Playle Architects Office in Davis, CA.

Residential Sector: Michigan’s first Living Building, Burh Becc at Beacon Springs Farm in Ann Arbor, an 8,700 sf home that undertook a six-year journey to certification with a goal of “creating a home that will still be standing 200 years from now and will still be regenerative to the surrounding ecosystem.” The Fallgren Naturally Healthy Home in Campo, CA., is a straw bale home filled with repurposed materials that has received Zero Energy certification.

 A full list of all Living Building Certified Projects, along with case studies, can be found here:

Accelerating a Zero Energy future with an invitation to join a collective action to make significant progress on the goals of the Paris Climate Accord by catalyzing moves that will make zero energy and zero carbon buildings the norm. The Paris Solutions Campaign is built around aggressive leadership and collective accountability.

The world’s first Zero Carbon certification, the first worldwide Zero Carbon third-party certified standard. The certification recognizes the growing interest and focus on a broad-based tool for highlighting highly efficient buildings that offset their energy use, regardless of location of renewables, as well as accommodating previously built combustion-based infrastructure. As with other ILFI certifications, a year of performance is required.

Living Buildings make people and communities healthier because they prioritize nontoxic materials – made easier by the new Red2Green (R2G) healthy materials database/product assessment software designed specifically for Living Building projects; Living Buildings also improve our connection to nature through Biophilic Design, documented in Amanda Sturgeon’s new book, Creating Biophilic Buildings, and by creating equity in our communities through the Affordable Housing Initiative.

The unConference, which runs May 1-4, features a robust agenda of workshops, networking opportunities and celebration of Authenticity + Action. For more information, visit

About the International Living Future Institute
The International Living Future Institute is a hub for visionary programs. The Institute offers global strategies for lasting sustainability, partnering with local communities to create grounded and relevant solutions, including green building and infrastructure solutions on scales ranging from single room renovations to neighborhoods or whole cities.  The Institute administers the Living Building Challenge, the environment’s most rigorous and ambitious performance standard. It is the parent organization for Cascadia Green Building Council, a chapter of both the United States and Canada Green Building Councils that serves Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. It is also home to Ecotone Publishing, a unique publishing house dedicated to telling the story of the green building movement's pioneering thinkers and practitioners.