The launch of The Living Building at Georgia Tech on November 2 was preceded by a series of events organized by the Office of Campus Sustainability, the Energy Club, and Serve-Learn-Sustain. Each event highlighted a specific petal, or focus area, of the Living Building Challenge. These events generated both enthusiasm and awareness and helped our offices build deeper relationships with students, staff, faculty, and outside organizations. Additional photos of the events are located online here.
Celebrating Health + Happiness | Campus Bike Ride
Our activity to celebrate and draw attention to the Health + Happiness Petal was a campus group bike ride. During the bike ride strategic stops were made at various spots on campus to highlight sustainability efforts at Georgia Tech. As biking is an outdoor activity that exposes participants to fresh air and daylight, this highlighted the Health + Happiness Petal imperative that “every regularly occupied space must have operable windows that provide access to fresh air and daylight.”
Celebrating Beauty | Mural Painting
The Living Building Challenge Beauty Petal recognizes “the need for beauty as a precursor to caring enough to preserve, conserve, and serve the greater good.” Over 50 students and staff gathered to paint a mural designed by Buckhead Murals at the future site of the Living Building, currently a parking lot at State Street and Ferst Drive. Individuals of all ages and stages came together to contribute to the mural, even knowing the mural will be removed during construction. This awareness and celebration of beauty has caught the attention of Arts at Tech and numerous individuals who regularly traverse the Living Building site. The pop of color and beauty that the mural contributes to an otherwise empty parking lot is appreciated by many!
Awareness of Water | Water Scavenger Hunt
We strove to increase water awareness at Georgia Tech through hosting a daily scavenger hunt on our social media channels. Participants were able to view a daily question and then respond to the challenge by taking and posting photos and tagging The Office of Campus Sustainability to view their entries. The gift for participation was a reusable metal water bottle. As the building comes together, we are excited to see how the Water Petal will take shape, as “project water use and release must work in harmony with the natural water flows of the site and its surroundings. One hundred percent of the project’s water needs must be supplied by captured precipitation or other natural closed-loop water systems, and/or by recycling used project water, and must be purified as needed without the use of chemicals. All storm water and water discharge, including grey and black water, must be treated onsite and managed either through reuse, a closed loop system, or infiltration.”
Awareness of Materials | Building Corn-Hole Boards
All materials that will go into the Living Building will be sourced to the highest of standards and must have no negative impact on human and ecosystem health. Many materials have already been collected to go into our Living Building have been recycled from other projects across the city. In this vein, we introduced awareness to the Materials Petal through offering the opportunity for individuals to build corn-hole boards out of repurposed materials. Our friends at the Life Cycle Building Center organized all of the reclaimed supplies and provided excellence guidance throughout the construction process. Though we lost power 5-minutes in, participants prevailed and left with corn-hole boards they built themselves! We also express our appreciation towards the Digital Fabrication Lab who graciously shared their space with us for this event.
Awareness of Place | Urban Agriculture Volunteer Day
“The intent of the Place Petal is to realign how people understand and relate to the natural environment that sustains us.” We spent a morning volunteering at a local urban garden, Historic Westside’s Garden’s Boone Boulevard location, to celebrate the Place Petal. It was a great opportunity for everyone to see part of the network of urban gardens throughout the city, and we are excited to see how this petal continues to take shape at our Living Building (including the projected blueberry grove on site!).
Awareness of Energy
The Energy Club hosted a “Turn down the Watt” competition to raise awareness of the Energy Petal. This competition monitored energy use per floor in several dorms to help raise awareness of energy conservation in campus housing.
Awareness of Equity
For the Equity Petal celebration, Serve-Learn-Sustain hosted a Buzz Course, a short, high impact mini-course for students that results in a certificate of completion, on the subject of Universal Design. Compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) design guidelines is the minimum accepted requirement for accessibility in the Living Building Challenge (LBC), but the LBC encourages team to practice Universal Design, a design process which focuses on making all spaces within and outside of a building accessible to all, rather than singling out people with disabilities by including separate entrances, separate restrooms, and the like. This particular course partnered with the Georgia Farmers’ Market Association to focus on accessibility to local farmers’ markets.
Campus wide, we are excited about the Living Building’s launch and watching the project develop over the year!