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Living Building Challenge: Smith College

Scapes Builders & Excavation builds The Bechtel Environmental Classroom, a Living Building Challenge-certified Building

The Bechtel Environmental Classroom is the fifth Living Building Challenge (LBC) certified building in the world, and the first in New England.

“Smith College’s newest building, a 2,300-square foot learning center at its nearby field station, has achieved top honors for environmental sustainability by meeting the rigorous performance requirements of the Living Building Challenge™, a green building standard overseen by the International Living Future Institute. The Living Building Challenge is considered the most comprehensive design- and performance-based building standard related to the environment. The Bechtel Environmental Classroom, as Smith College’s building is known, is only the fifth Certified Living Building™ in the world, and the first such building in New England.”

“The Living Building Challenge is straightforward, but immensely difficult,” says Bruce Coldham, one of the building’s architects. Even before ground was broken, Coldham and the contractors were conscious of the requirements of the Living Building Challenge. In their design, they incorporated elements like composting toilets and solar panels that return to the grid 50 percent more energy than the building uses. They used local materials and sited the classroom in an area that required clearing mostly invasive species. Also, all materials used were certified free of carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting chemical agents.”

Read the full press release here: Living Building Challenge-Bechtel Environmental Classroom or watch a time lapse video of construction.