Living Future New England promotes the Living Building Challenge and other International Living Future Institute (ILFI) programs.
Reach out to email@example.com with any inquiries, questions, or concerns.
Are you an ILFI Member? Are you interested in being part of the ILFI Regional Community, a member-only benefit? If so, be heard here!
Promote the transformation of communities throughout Boston and New England that are socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative.
The Living Future Community views the built environment as part of our natural world, yet often the design decisions we make are out of balance with the natural world. In becoming more attuned to the effects of our actions, we embrace the complex interconnection between the environment we build and the environment in which we build, focusing on a holistic, systems thinking approach seeing and working in the world. The Living Future Community will bring distinct viewpoints together in one conversation, so that we can find new, mutually beneficial perspectives that address the health of the whole system rather than treating one symptom at a time.
For 2023, we’re taking a step back to look at the role humans play as one set of actors within the larger global ecosystem. We are tied to and interdependent with all the other flora, fauna (including other people), and fungi that live in the air we breathe, the soil we walk on, and the water we swim in. What is our responsibility to the living systems when our needs require the extraction, processing, and disposal of natural resources? How can we create a living future: one that is socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative?
We’re not reconnecting with nature but remembering what it means to already be part of it, scientifically, culturally, and spiritually.
We are convening deep dive meetings of practitioners working on and interested in LBC projects, we host introduction sessions for LBC, LCC, and JUST, and coordinate tours of local Living Building Challenge Projects.
What is the Living Building Challenge?
The LBC, created by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), takes the LEED rating system a step further by designing buildings that are net-energy-positive while simultaneously focusing on the wellness of the building’s occupants. LBC buildings are always aesthetically pleasing and maintain an appropriate balance between natural and human systems.
To explain further, net-energy-positive buildings are EVEN BETTER than net-zero buildings because they can literally produce more energy than they use. In almost all cases they are 100% self-sufficient and manage all waste products responsibly. An example of this could be treating wastewater on site to reduce the impact on surrounding infrastructure. Most importantly, Living Buildings provide people with a sense of community. They offer a healthier working space which in turn promotes higher production from employees.
The IFLI has 7 performance areas (called Petals) and 20 more detailed requirements (called Imperatives) by which it measures the quality of Living Buildings.
The Living Building Challenge is an investment in the future of energy security for decades to come. Skill sets in engineering, planning, designing and many other professions are needed to take these Living Buildings off the drawing board and into the real world. This holistic approach encourages widespread innovation to overcome obstacles, therefore making every building as healthy, beautiful, and efficient as possible.
Topics & Speakers
December 2023 - Rethinking "Public Land"
Land ownership confers rights of extraction of resources and use of land on the land owners. Obvious enough. Some land is owned privately by individuals while some land remains public, not free from ownership, but reserved for collective use (and extraction). Public parks, streets, and rights of way are shared, so many may benefit, yet they are usually designed for a specific subset of people, to the exclusion of other groups and other parts of the ecosystem.
Niel Angus, Director of Land Use Planning for the Devens Enterprise Commission, will kick-off the conversation by providing background on how Devens thinks about public space and its role in protecting and enhancing natural systems. We’ll continue exploring these ideas with an open discussion to rethink how “Public Space” can restore people and the land rather than extracting from it? What does it take for us to fulfill our responsibility as a critical species within the ecosystem?
Subject Matter Experts:
Neil Angus | Director and Environmental Planner | Devens Enterprise Commission
Neil Angus is the Director and Environmental Planner for the Devens Enterprise Commission, overseeing the planning and sustainable redevelopment of Devens, a former military base located in North Central Massachusetts that operates as one of North America’s premiere eco-industrial parks. Neil specializes in green building and green infrastructure and holds a Professional Design Degree in Environmental Planning from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He is a Fellow with the American Institute of Certified Planners, a Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners, a US Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional (ND, BD+C), as well as a Living Future Accredited Professional.
Register for the Roundtable here.
October 2023 - Rebalancing Cities Series
Rewilding: balancing the ecosystem through the built environment. What does solving for the system look like? How do we achieve balance?
Subject Matter Experts:
Luke Dias | Sustainability Manager | Superior Essex Communications
Luke works closely with all departments internally to facilitate sustainability initiatives, communicate progress, and drive the Superior Essex Communications MissionNext program. Additionally, Luke is a Sustainable Intelligent Buildings ambassador and works with the Superior Essex Communications product development teams to educate on the sustainability and technical benefits of PoE/ELV technologies. In his role as an ambassador Luke works with many industry groups and is a member of the mindfulMaterials Manufacturer Forum, TIA SPIRE Sustainability Smart Buildings Working Group, and iMasons Climate Accord Equipment Working Group.
Tyler Guidroz, AIA, LEED Green Associate | Associate/ Project Architect | Tyler moved from Lafayette, LA to pursue architecture at Tulane University. Studying and working during the rebuilding of New Orleans enhanced his understanding of progress and growth, now refined through the lenses of place, culture, history, and context. After serving as Project Architect for the Center of Developing Entrepreneurs, a unique 215,000sf multi-use space of collaboration, coworking, and corporate offices, Tyler’s recent studio work has focused on feasibility studies for a range of higher education institutions, including at Tulane, LSU, and for Tulane’s School of Medicine and their migration to the former Charity Hospital. Tyler believes that designing is an act of giving, both to the public and the client. Highly collaborative inside the studio and with our clients, he enjoys sharing his knowledge through tutorials and teaching. He strives to push forward the use of advanced software to create architecture that is a register of our time and a reference to our place.
August 2023 - Rebalancing Cities for Human Health
Clare is a circular systems thinker with over 20 years of experience as an architect in NYC, designing buildings to the highest environmental standards. In 2017 she led the development of the Zero Waste Design Guidelines through a multidisciplinary collaborative process, to show how design of the urban environment plays a crucial role in achieving zero waste. As a biomimicry professional, Clare takes inspiration from natural systems, and has founded a consultancy – ThinkWoven – which designs ways to weave urban systems into ecosystems.
She also set up the non-profit Center for Zero Waste Design, where recent work includes the advocacy campaign Put Waste to Work: Vibrant Streetscapes, Green Jobs and Healthy Neighborhoods to transform the inequitable way NYC manages waste, and get trash bags off sidewalks and compost into soils.
Gina is recognized as a national leader in advancing human and environmental health. A champion of equity and environmental justice, Gina is an innovator with a proven track record of creating leading-edge, nationally recognized sustainable spaces where we live, work, and play.
Prior to HBN, Gina was Vice President at a Minneapolis-St. Paul area real estate developer, where she spent two decades creating thousands of healthy, high-performance affordable homes. Her efforts culminated in the construction of The Rose, a 90-unit apartment building in Minneapolis that set a new national standard for healthy materials.
Gina was named to Finance and Commerce’s Top Women in Finance (2012 & 2015), and in 2021 received a Women in Sustainability Leadership Award (WSLA), one of the most prestigious awards honoring leadership in sustainability across the globe. She completed the Achieving Excellence program at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government and holds a B.S degree in Housing from the University of Minnesota.
June 2023 - Connection to and Treatment of Soil and Land
Casey Lee Bastien, RLA, CPSI | Landscape Architecture and Habitat Design Specialist | BSC GroupMr. Bastien has over 24 years of landscape architecture experience with a focus on Ecological habitat design bringing insight to landscapes as well as community and regional planning efforts. His passion to research and innovate adds meaning and value to a wide variety of project types including parks, streetscapes, transportation, institutions, and natural habitats. He prides himself on delivering designs that are both meaningful and impactful, creating harmonious, inspiring, and functional spaces for both people and nature. Recent endeavors include the Island End River Living Shoreline in Chelsea and Everett, MA, Ayer Devens Pocket Forest, Habitat at Rivergreen on the Malden, Nashua River Watershed, Forest and Landscape management guides, and multiple Regional MVP Resilience planning projects.
Keith Zaltzberg-Drezdahl | Managing Director + Head of Planning | Regenerative Design Group Cooperative
As a resilience planner and environmental designer, I’ve dedicated my career to shaping and stewarding human landscapes as a force of regeneration by awakening people’s capacity to understand, engage, and manage landscapes as living ecosystems. My current work is focused on accelerating the adoption of nature-based solutions and regenerative agriculture to address climate resilience and equity. Since founding Regenerative Design Group in 2009, I have led an incredible team of creative designers and planners on scores of projects ranging from a statewide assessment of soil health in Massachusetts to implementation of urban green stormwater projects in New England and farm planning in the Sahel of West Africa.
April 2023 - UN Sustainable Development Goals + A Living Future
February 2023 - Reflection + Year Ahead
For our first roundtable of the year, we would like to discuss each of our unique perspectives on our roles, actions, and effects in the ecosystems within which we work– in which aspects of the ecosystem are you most heavily involved? How does your emphasis relate to a whole systems approach? How can we see the whole systems we are working in?
Principal, Linnean Solutions
DiAnn Tufts, LFA, LEED AP
PCA, Senior Associate & Director of Sustainability
Jacob Bloom, LFA
Bob Donohue, LEED AP
enviENERGY Studio, Building Performance Analyst
Melissa Mattes, LC, LFA, LEED Green Associate, IALD
Sladen Feinstein, Senior Lighting Designer / Sustainability Specialist
Nicole Voss, LEED AP BD+C
isgenuity, Associate Principal & Director of Sustainability
December – Declare + Material data/ transparency
October – Biophilic Design + Local Wood
August – Biophilia and The Beauty Petal
The August Living Future Roundtable discussion on Biophilia and The Beauty Petal will host Julia Africa and Sonja Bochard as our featured experts.
Julia Kane Africa is an independent Biophilic Design and Landscape Research Consultant. In her current role on the Franklin Park Action Plan Team, she provides public health-related design and programming input to the consortium of 40+ landscape architects, planners, and ecologists tasked with creating a community driven action plan for the revitalization of the historic 500-acre Boston Park. Previously, Julia led the Nature and Health program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment, an academic research center at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, from 2012-2017. In this role, she explored the ways in which nature (parks and green spaces) and natural design cues (natural features in built environment settings) in urban settings support psychological and physiological health and resilience. She is a member of the Urban Land Institute’s Health Leaders Network, the Biophilic Cities Network Steering Committee, and is a contributing author to a forthcoming APA publication on climate change and mental health.
Sonja Bochart, a design leader in health and wellness, has had an extensive background in creating spaces to support individual, community, and ecological wellbeing for over twenty-five years, working nationally as a living-systems design consultant. Sonja is a recognized leader and educator in the industry, teaching at Arizona State University’s Herberger School of Design, advising on biophilia, health and wellness councils, including the International Living Future Institute, and as a board member of Green Plants for Green Buildings. As a director at Lens Strategy – Shepley Bulfinch, Sonja works as a regenerative design and development strategist fostering human ecological connection and wellbeing. Sonja is one of the foremost facilitators for living-systems community design workshops, organizational firm development- and LEED, Living Building Challenge, and Well Building Standard charrettes.
June – LBC Petal Certification: Air Quality Testing & Monitoring
April – Let’s Chat Petal Certification
February – What’s up with ILFI Core Certification
Interested in supporting the Living Future New England? We would love to hear from you! Get in touch with us, and in the meantime, check out the sponsorship link at the top of our website.
Founder and Principal at Linnean Solutions
Associate and the Director of Sustainability at PCA
Chief Program Officer at MassCEC
Prinicpal at The Green Engineer
N Jonathan Unaka
Adjunct Faculty, Wentworth Institute of Technology