Living Future New England promotes the Living Building Challenge and other International Living Future Institute (ILFI) programs.

Reach out to livingfuture@builtenvironmentplus.org 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!

 

Mission:
Promote the transformation of communities throughout Boston and New England that are socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative.

Vision:
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.

Goals:
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

June 6th 2024 - Integrative Design Across Disciplines: A Franklin Park Case Study

What does it take to make a multi-disciplinary team work in an integrated way?  Deeply integrated.

 In our June roundtable, we continue building our understanding of the interdependent parts at play – this time exploring the project team & community (I.e., stakeholders) as the system.

Rather than focusing on the resulting masterplan from the Franklin Park Action Plan Project, we invite involved members from the process to kick off a community dialogue by exploring together what makes an integrated design successful. How do we refresh this trusty tool to help build better buildings and communities?

Not familiar with the Franklin Park Acton Plan? Check out this link to learn more: https://franklinparkactionplan.com/

Mayrah is a senior architect and educator based in MASS’s Santa Fe office. Her work is grounded in a deep commitment to living ecosystems, environmental justice, and architecture’s role in equitably redefining territory worldwide. Prior to MASS, she worked with Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative, Urban- Think Tank, Global Citizens for Sustainable Development, and Enterprise Community Partners. Mayrah holds a Master of Architecture with Honors from Columbia University, a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Environmental Studies with Honors from Wellesley College, and is the recipient of Kinne, Watson, Schiff, Albright, and Noble Foundation Fellowships and the airWG Artist Residency. She has taught at Kent CAED, Barnard College, and the Santa Fe Art Institute Summer Design Workshop, and is the author of “On Fragile Architecture: Exploring Causes of Indigenous Housing Insecurity” and “Bangalore: Urban Development and Environmental Justice.” Mayrah is fluent in English, Deutsch, Español, हिंदी, and اردو.

Register here.

April 2024 - The Integrative Design Charrette: Maybe the Problem is Us!

We all know about Integrative Design and what an Integrative Design Charrette is. Don’t we? But is the powerful tool actually being used well? Our experience shows that there are serious barriers to pulling the full set of team members together, especially very early in a project. The Living Future Community wants to use this upcoming Roundtable to have a wide-ranging discussion with many different voices to see how project teams might reach the full potential of this “well-known” tool. Join us and offer your experience and perspective!

Charley Stevenson, LFA, LEED AP, is Integrated Eco Strategy (IES) Consulting Principal. Charley Stevenson’s interest in sustainable design began in the early 1990s when he graduated from Williams College with a concentration in Environmental Studies. He received his MS in Natural Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2002. Since then, he has worked on sustainable projects in a variety of capacities and, as a volunteer, has been active in a range of land conservation and renewable energy projects.

In 2008, Stevenson joined a consulting engineering firm specializing in energy modeling and sustainability certification. Two years later he founded IES, where he soon focused on helping clients meet the demanding, industry-changing Living Building Challenge standards. His company has now managed the green aspects of institutional projects ranging from 1,000 to 500,000 square feet. As LBC projects grew in number and complexity, IES began, concurrently, development of Red2Green software to support materials research and documentation.

Charley’s work in regenerative design is rooted in his passion for teaching. A former high school math and science teacher, Charley is chair of the Burr and Burton Academy, Manchester, VT, board. He is a member of the ILFI Material Health technical advisory group and a frequent presenter at Living Future and other sustainability conferences.

 

Matt Root, Integrated Eco Strategy (IES) Associate Principal, works with owners and design/construction teams to implement strategies for improving building performance, including energy efficiency, indoor air quality and building durability. His primary focus is on managing healthy materials and energy related projects through strong project management, with a focus on building science. Currently Root serves as the lead project manager coordinating IES materials vetting services for a group of academic institutions. Previously Root worked at Conservation Services Group/CLEAResult for thirteen years, where he led a team of mechanical engineers, enclosure experts and building scientists.

Representative Experience
● Science & Engineering Complex, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA- LBC Project Manager on the largest Materials Petal project certified to date.
● Center for Economic Development, Williams College, MA – LBC Energy Petal project

 

Amanda Garvey is Vice President at Thornton Tomasetti, and member of the Sustainability and Resilience Practice. Her focus is sustainability consulting for higher education institutions and independent schools, implementing a highly integrative process by engaging diverse stakeholders throughout the design phase. She oversees sustainability scope on building projects and campus plans, and through sustainability visioning workshops, helps teams arrive at solutions with multiple synergistic outcomes across a wide range of potentially competing objectives including cost, quality, schedule, and sustainability. Additionally, she manages projects pursuing LEED, SITES, Fitwel, WELL and ILFI Programs, and leads the healthier materials and sustainability planning services for the practice.

 

Register here.

February 2024 - Environmental Justice

We often talk about the indelible link between climate change and social justice, but usually we’re speaking in abstract terms – such as how planetary warming will impact the global south. In this month’s conversation, we’ll bring the focus home by discussing the connection between combustion-sourced heating systems, the respiratory health of our neighbors in Roxbury, and how community engagement shaped the BERDO 2.0 regulations.

Sofía Owens is ACE’s Senior Attorney and the Director of the Environmental Justice Legal Services Program. She has a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, a Masters in Environmental law and Policy from Vermont Law School, and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. When not at work, Sofia organizes with the Deeper Than Water coalition and volunteers with the Boston chapter of Black & Pink. She enjoys practicing yoga and watching soccer, particularly the US Women’s National Team and the Uruguayan national teams.

Dwaign Tyndal has over twenty-five years of professional experience in economic development, community and neighborhood development, youth development and workforce development. Throughout his professional experience, Dwaign has effectively led capable and diverse teams and has also been able to communicate complex public policies to various stakeholders to show how community-based partnerships can build stronger communities and empower residents and businesses to take active roles in their neighborhoods.

 

Register here.

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
Taking the Biophilic Perspective One Step Further;
Two experts in plant and soil health set up this month’s conversation on the lessons from soils and plants for how we build and develop land. What are our landscapes telling us and what should we do.

 

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?

Jim Newman
Principal, Linnean Solutions

 

 

 

DiAnn Tufts, LFA, LEED AP
PCA, Senior Associate & Director of Sustainability

 

 

 

Jacob Bloom, LFA
Associate, CambridgeSeven

 

 

 

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

 

2022


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

Community Stewards

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.

Community Leadership

Jim Newman

Jim Newman

Co-Facilitator

Founder and Principal at Linnean Solutions

DiAnn Tufts

DiAnn Tufts

Co-Facilitator

Associate and the Director of Sustainability at PCA

Galen Nelson

Galen Nelson

Board Liaison

Chief Program Officer at MassCEC

Sarah Michelman

Sarah Michelman

Board Liaison

Prinicpal at The Green Engineer

N Jonathan Unaka

N Jonathan Unaka

Board Liaison

Adjunct Faculty, Wentworth Institute of Technology

Event Recordings: