Pursuing petals: Shelter embraces the Living Building Challenge

Here’s to the belief that things must change. To using fewer resources. To creating fewer toxins. To nourishing our spirit and fostering a healthier, more humane world. To staring these challenges straight in the eye and questioning the status quo.

Shelter is a tool to effect this change. We make things better by designing beautiful environments that save energy, reduce pollution and inspire those who inhabit them.

For years, Shelter has included the above statement in presentations to clients and community members. Fostering positive environmental change within our work — and our industry — has been a key motivator since we opened our doors in 2004. Our team’s early achievements included designs for the nation’s first net-zero-energy building and Minnesota’s first LEED-H Platinum-certified home.

Today, our commitment to sustainable design and building practices continues. And we’re exploring more comprehensive and rigorous approaches than ever before.

One example: We’re now partnering with clients to design residential and commercial buildings that can receive Living Building Challenge certification. To meet this program’s stringent standards, a structure must satisfy criteria in seven distinct performance areas — each identified as a separate “petal” and focused on a particular mission.

Living Building Challenge Petals

Place
Restoring a healthy interrelationship with nature.

Water
Creating developments that operate within the water balance of a given place and climate.

Energy
Relying only on current solar income.

Health & happiness
Creating environments that optimize physical and psychological health and well-being.

Materials
Endorsing products that are safe for all species through time.

Equity
Supporting a just and equitable world.

Beauty
Celebrating design that uplifts the human spirit.

To help us support home and business owners who want to pursue such remarkable goals, Shelter president and CEO Jackie Millea has received Living Future Accreditation from the International Living Future Institute, the organization that administers the Living Building Challenge. Sustainable design is one of Shelter’s core values. We’re well prepared — and extremely excited — to take on projects that have positive impacts on our community, climate and culture.

Looking for a partner to help your project achieve Living Building Challenge certification? Contact Shelter.