Some companies are recognizing the importance of changing the design and construction process of buildings to reduce the environmental impact. This comes with its own challenges. Every store, office, and home would need to be net-zero in energy and water. These structures would need to be made of environmentally friendly materials and properly disposed. They must also perform consistently.
It is not an easy feat, but it is possible. This is why the long-term picture is so important. International Living Future Institute (ILFI) envisions.
According to its website, ILFI is an ecologically conscious nonprofit. Its ultimate goal is to combat climate change by encouraging cities around the world to reduce or eliminate their use fossil fuels.
Since its conception in May 2009 ILFI has managed many projects to promote sustainability and environmental awareness. This mission is carried out principally by ILFI’s flagship project, the Living Building Challenge. Because of the strict guidelines involved, The challenges websiteThis title is the world’s most rigorous green building standard.
Properties must meet criteria that are broken down into seven categories (or petals), which include water, energy, materials site, beauty and equity as well as health. After the building meets all requirements, certification will be granted after it has been in use for a year. The process will be re-evaluated if any errors or deficiencies are discovered.
Today, only 30 buildings are certified Living Buildings. Cope Environmental CenterThe most recent addition to this number was, which is located in Centerville in Indiana. It became Living Certified in May 2021. It is currently the only Living Building in Indiana. The next closest one is approximately a mile away. Ann Arbor, Michigan is 240 miles away.
The certification process for Cope Environmental Center took five years. This was the time between the Board of Directors’ initial commitment and the Center’s official recognition as a Living Building by ILFI.
Karen Hostetter, executive director of Cope Environmental Centers, stated that the building should be a showcase and a resource. We want businesses and individuals to see us not only as a place to hold events, but also as a resource that they can use to help them achieve their goals.
Robert Koester (CAP professor of architecture) said that Ball States College of Architecture and Planning played a significant role in making this dream a reality.[CAP]Koester stated that the technical advisors were appointed to the project. We assisted with site placement orientation, construction specification information, and evaluations of electric loads. We also assisted in the writing of a lot content that was submitted to ILFI to show and prove that the design met their requirements.
Copes development was not only the responsibility of the college, but also the initiative was led by an alumnus.
Kevin McCurdy is a 2010 Ball State grad. He first met Jim Cope, his wife Helen, and their original owners of this property in 2001. He worked as a naturalist that summer for them. The center had limited impact and abilities at the time so the Copes were keen to expand its sustainability.
McCurdy enjoyed his summer at the facility with his family. He credits his frequent conversations with Jim Cope for his interest in sustainable architecture.
It was my time at Cope [that summer]McCurdy stated that this convinced McCurdy that I could have a greater positive impact on the environment. I was fortunate to receive a call when the Cope staff began looking into building a facility back in 2008.
McCurdy devoted his next five-years to ILFI’s Living Building Challenge after being asked by the center. McCurdy said that McCurdy was responsible to ensure that all aspects of the challenge were in line. He explained that it was similar to how an orchestra conductor oversees each musician’s part. After years of hard work, he was able to create a symphony that would sustain the center’s staff.
It wouldn’t have been for people like Kevin who were involved from the beginning and who just kept going with it, I don’t know what would have happened. [the certification]Hostetter stated that this would have been the case. It was important for him to see it through to its end. So, when we finally got it, we were really excited that we actually managed to do this. [and]It was made possible by more grassroots input.
Cope Environmental Center was certified in 2021. It is now a part of Indiana’s history. But McCurdy still feels the impact that the project had on the work McCurdy does.
Personal note: My birthday is April 22. He said that every Earth Day, my birthday is celebrated and the world celebrates. I am speechless when i look back at the path that led me here. Twenty years ago, I could not have imagined a path that would have taken me to this point. It’s amazing to look up and see a place beyond what you could have imagined. This is how I want to continue living in a place that is beyond my dreams.
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