Living Building, Challenge Accepted

December 2020

The new Stanley Center home will pursue Living Building certification as an outcome that reflects our values, a process that integrates our community, and an example that demonstrates healthy and sustainable design.

Living Building certification is the world’s most rigorous proven-performance standard for buildings. To achieve certification, Living Buildings must be self-sufficient, create a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them, and connect occupants to light, air, food, nature, and community.

R.W. Kern Center, a Living Certified building in Amherst, MA. Source:

The International Living Future Institute—the organization that administers the challenge—compares a Living Building to a flower: rooted in place, harvesting its own energy and water, adaptive to the climate and location, receiving everything it needs from its surroundings, operating pollution-free, contributing to and integrated with the ecosystem, and demonstrating beauty.

Kendeda Building, Living Certified in Atlanta, GA. Source:

During our visioning process, Neumann Monson Architects saw substantial compatibility between our aspirations and the requirements for Living Buildings. On further exploration, Stanley leadership decided to pursue the challenge—not only for the outcome of a building that reflects our values—but for a process that integrates our community, challenges the design and construction industries to think differently, generates demand for healthy and restorative design, and leads to real climate-mitigating progress on municipal regulations and permissions.

Arch | Nexus SAC, a Living Certified building in Sacramento, CA. Source:

Hitchcock Center, a Living Certified building in Amherst, MA. Source:

The formal certification process comes after one year of occupancy because certification is based on performance outcomes, not a prescriptive checklist. To learn more about the Living Building Challenge petals—Place, Water, Energy, Materials, Health and Happiness, Equity, and Beauty—and the imperative requirements under each petal, visit the LBC website.

Indian Creek Nature Center, a Petal Certified building in Cedar Rapids, IA. Source: