Desert Rain is currently in the company of over 100 world-wide projects pursuing the goal of meeting some or all of the Living Building Challenge petals. Barb Scott and Tom Elliot, Desert Rain owners, recently attended the seventh annual International Living Future Institute’s ‘unConference held in Seattle, Washington. Desert Rain team members, Al Tozer, designer, with Tozer Designs, James Fagan, builder, with Timberline Construction, and ML Vidas, LBC consultant also attended the event. Living Future is the forum for leaders in the green building movement who are seeking solutions to current global issues. The unConference is rooted in the Living Building Challenge and offers advanced educational sessions, provocative keynote presentations, technical information, tours, workshops, and conversations that inspire learning and networking.
The theme for the 2013 event was Resilience and Regeneration asking the questions: “How do we build, design and innovate in a changing climate? How can we reconcile our relationship with the natural world and form resilient, regenerative communities? “ The program for the three day event was chock full of interesting and compelling programs, summits, breakout sessions, trainings, and tours providing the opportunity to engage in the conversations of regeneration and resilience in the future environment.
- Jason McLennan CEO of the Living Future Institute and founder and creator of the Living Building Challenge. He is considered one of the most influential individuals in the green building movement today.
- David Suzuki, Co-Founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster.
- Paul Hawken environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author has dedicated his life to sustainability and changing the relationship between business and the environment.
(information source – The International Living Future Institute website)
One of the educational sessions focused on the lessons learned from Desert Rain. Morgan Brown, president of Whole Water Systems and ML Vidas, architect and Living Building consultant for Desert Rain presented the program entitled; LBC Water Petal Solutions – Technology and Permitting Challenges; Lessons Learned on the Bleeding Edge. The session highlighted the three year process of Desert Rain seeking approvals for cutting-edge blackwater, graywater, and rainwater harvesting systems. The odyssey of the water systems and the challenges motivated Morgan Brown to propose this presentation for the unConference. In Morgan’s words, Whole Water and Desert Rain owners and team members ‘share the objective of setting an example that expands sustainable limits, is worthy of emulation and is financially accessible.’
Barb, Tom, and the Desert Rain team members came home regenerated and energized. I asked Barb if there was any one thing that was significant to her. She brought up one of the breakout sessions she attended; Regenerating the Existing Housing Stock. Matthew Grocoff, is a presenter and pioneer in net zero homes, and also a young father. His words about materials and products used in home building struck a chord with Barb. ‘ I don’t give my clients a choice. I couldn’t sleep at night if I knew I was putting toxins in someone’s home’. That statement reflects mindfulness.
The Living Building Challenge promotes the idea that buildings should contribute to and regenerate the environment creating resilience. The Living Future unConference annually brings together designers, builders, and home inhabitants that are thinking mindfully and fostering awareness about the concept of living buildings. There is a need in the built environment for connectivity and practicing mindfulness. The unConference is creating a bridge.
The 2014 Living Future unConference – Beauty and Inspiration. Information at the Living Future Institute