NW group launches net zero building certification program

Buildings that successfully complete the Living Building Challenge would automatically be certified under the new net zero program.

Buildings that successfully complete the Living Building Challenge would automatically be certified under the new net zero program.

The International Living Future Institute announced this week a new green building certification program it will administer for net zero energy use.

The Net Zero Energy Building Certification program was kicked off at the annual Greenbuild conference, held this year in Toronto.

Net zero energy — basically when a building generates all the energy it needs using thanks to on-site renewable energy generation and efficiency measures — has been an ideal in the green building industry for some time. Portland-area building projects including Sage Green and Eco Flats have sought to achieve net zero status and the Energy Trust of Oregon has a Path to Net Zero pilot program with several dozen projects working toward the goal.

But until this week, no formal certification program existed for net zero buildings.

The International Living Future Institute, launched in April as the umbrella organization for the Living Building Challenge, the Natural Step Network and the Cascadia Green Building Council, is looking to build on its success with the Living Building certification program.

"People are very excited about it," said Eden Brukman, vice president of the International Living Future Institute, who was at Greenbuild for the announcement. "For people who are not yet ready to tackle the entire Living Building system, they are very excited about being able to participate in this way."

Any building that achieves Living Building certification would automatically also receive the net zero certification.

As with the Living Building Challenge, the net zero certification is based on actual building performance rather than modeled outcomes. Buildings must be operational for at least a year prior with proven results prior to being certified.

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