William and I recently presented The Seed to an incredible group of experienced sustainable building enthusiasts, the Pittsburgh Living Future Collaborative. They were wonderfully welcoming and had some great insights and feedback on our future home. We are very thankful, and humbled, that we had the opportunity to show and tell our project!
We have decided to present to you, dear readers, our presentation for two reasons. One, it condenses our seven Living Building Challenge blogs into a 29-slide presentation as to how our home is currently attempting to meet those seven petals. Two, it gives a great visual update on our current home’s design.
So, without further ado: Welcome, to The Seed in Brief!…as of February 2021.
Our presentation goes over our home as it corelates to the Living Building Challenge’s seven petals. But before we delve into the petals, we would like to express our overall intent with The Seed.
We intend for our home to be more than just a home…we want it to be a prototype for a future endeavor.
I’ll start this blog with a warning – it’s long. We of course like to make our blogs easily readable, but these ones are important because Shelby and I are also trying to understand what it takes to make a Living Building. So, you’re basically reading our research. Ok, warning out of the way, let’s do this.
Four of the seven Petals of the Living Building Challenge have been covered, Place, Water, Energy, and Health and Happiness. That leaves three to go. If you’ve read the past four blogs on their respective Petals, then you’ll know that meeting this certification will be filled with crazy challenges. We appreciate you all sticking with us as we talk through these Petals to better understand them! Believe me, we know they’re complicated. Imagine trying to figure out how to design a small house to these standards, let alone something much bigger.
To jog your memory quick, here’s that chart of all the Petals and their Imperatives:
The article you’re about to read was written during the COVID-19 Pandemic, at the end of the year 2020. That being said, keep the pandemic in mind as we look at this standard, because I think it’s unbelievably relevant. It’s important to have a healthy home in the first place, but that much more important during a pandemic…
We have delved into what it takes to meet standards set forth by the Living Building Challenge, for the petals of place, water, and energy. Below is a visual refresher of all seven petals and their imperatives.
First came place, then came water. Now, comes energy…dun, dun, dun! The Energy Petal is the third of the seven petals for the Living Building Challenge.
Ha! I was going to say that we have high hopes for this one…but we have high hopes for the Water Petal and the Petal of Place, too. There are just way too many high hopes floating around this joint! But. If you are willing to stick with us (whether you are amused or annoyed by our ideas…), then William and I would be most honored to share our highness of hope with you!
To refresh your memory, here is a chart with all seven petals and their imperatives. In this blog, we are going to be focusing on Energy!
Thank you so much for sticking with us. I know our blogs have been a lot of research and ideas…although we just purchased a piece of land, we have a lot of design work to do before we start building anything!
As we began with Living Building Challenge: The Petal of Place, we want our lil’ home, The Seed, to meet Living Building Challenge standards (in addition to PHIUS, of course). In order to meet those standards, the home or building must adhere to the seven ‘petals’ and their imperatives. I know the term ‘petals’ sounds cheesy, but they do set a high expectation for how homes are built, lived in, and what they give back to the ecosystems they are located in.
The Water Petal alone is going to be a tough one to meet. However, it is a conundrum that we have already been pondering. Our goal is to rely totally off of our rainwater pillow for all of our potable and non-potable water needs. This, in turn, means that we need to live so water consciously that we are 100% all the time, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, prepared for a drought. It is not going to be easy, but if you have read our composting toilet and recirculating shower blogs, then you know that we have a few ideas bounding about. But are these ideas enough for us to meet the Living Building Challenge’s criteria for the Water Petal?