Taking up the challenge
The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is managed by the US-based International Living Future Institute (ILFI). Within the LBC there are three pathways for certification: Living Building Certification, Petal Certification and Zero Energy Certification. Camp Glenorchy is registered under the Net Zero Energy pathway, which requires it to generate at least the same amount of energy as it uses (in a one-year period) on site via renewable sources. It’s not off-grid – the development draws power from the grid when on-site energy generation isn’t sufficient to meet demand (typically in the evenings and on short winter days) and feeds energy into the grid when it’s generating more than is required.
To achieve Net Zero Energy certification, a building needs to submit energy data collected over the course of a year. Camp Glenorchy has 313 kilowatt-hour meters installed on site that record how much energy is being generated, exported and used. At the end of the development’s first operational year, this data and additional documentation will be submitted to the ILFI. This is followed by an independent audit, a site visit and a report to ILFI, which then decides if the development can be Net Zero Energy-certified.
Meeting the requirements of the LBC means buildings are measured by performance, so design and construction teams have to figure out how to make it happen rather than just tick a checklist of sustainability features. Buildings like this can cost more to design and build, but these expenses can be offset by lower costs over the building’s lifetime.