Sustainable Building in Iowa

August 2021

As the first fully-certified Living Building in Iowa, the new Stanley Center home will be a sustainability trailblazer in the Midwest. We hope to inspire future developers to pursue similar measures and protect the health of our planet.

Below are excerpts from the article by Neumann Monson Architects, “Why LBC? The Stanley Center’s Commitment to Climate Change Solutions” (read the full article here):

“In 2019, the Stanley Center for Peace and Security partnered with Neumann Monson and Graham Construction to design and build their new headquarters in Muscatine, Iowa. The new facility will adhere to the standards of the Living Building Challenge (LBC), the most rigorous measure for sustainable design. Pursuing the LBC represents the Stanley Center’s commitment to its global, peace-driven mission. Since 1956, the Center has brought together members of the global community to address humanity’s most pressing issues, including climate change. When completed, the new facility will embody the Center’s values and set an example for sustainable design.

“Today, the Stanley Center champions collective climate change action by facilitating collaboration among national governments, subnational governments, and actors in civil society and the private sector. Through policy change, they work to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and accelerate the use of renewable alternatives. Additionally, they find innovative solutions beyond policy by working with colleagues in migration, global public health, biodiversity, and international security. These efforts have facilitated interactions between climate activists and the agriculture and forestry industries.  Most importantly, they aim to maintain global peace as we transition to renewable energy. According to [Stanley Center President and CEO Keith] Porter, the Center believes in a ‘just transition’—keeping people at the center of climate change solutions.

“When the Stanley Center decided to build a new facility, they envisioned a building that would embody their mission. With Neumann Monson, they explored several sustainability models, including LEED, and determined that the LBC closely aligned with their values. Unlike other sustainability measures that aim to ‘do less harm,’ the LBC produces a truly restorative building that benefits the planet and the local community. For Porter, the LBC offers the exciting opportunity to create a building that embodies the Center’s mission. ‘You rarely receive the opportunity to truly demonstrate your organization’s values in a physical and tangible way,’ he says.

“The project also offers the opportunity to create a ripple effect and inspire healthy, restorative design. As the first fully-certified Living Building in Iowa, the new facility will be a sustainability trailblazer in the Midwest, an area where extreme temperature fluctuations can make energy efficiency difficult. By taking on this challenge, the Stanley Center hopes to inspire future developers to pursue similar measures and protect the health of our planet.” [Read more…]

Achieving the goal of limiting the increase in global temperatures to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels will require transformational and systemic change at all levels of society. From multinational policy solutions to accelerating lesser-explored pathways for reducing emissions, the need is urgent for global collective action on climate change.

At a local level, it is our hope that the design, construction, and public education about our new home will play an inspirational role for architects, builders, and organizations in the region to utilize the tools of the Living Building Institute and reimagine what it means to build a world that is good for people and the planet.