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Living Buildings for a Living Future | Jason McLennan | TEDxBend

Jun 22, 2021
How's everyone doing? My name is Jason and I'm a troublemaker. Other troublemakers here. I just want to make sure he came to the right place and I brought my little friend, the guys from Stargazer Lily, so let's talk about

buildings

. and we're going to talk a little bit about flowers, so even though I'm a troublemaker, I'm also an architect and I'm an environmentalist and I've been practicing green architecture before it was cool and I had a lot of times early in my career when people thought flowers things he was talking about were crazy and it would never get off the ground and nobody would ever do this green stuff, we tried it in the 70s and it didn't work, if you remember the old ones. enough in the 80's and 90's it wasn't kind to the green building scene but luckily things started to change LEED came along green

buildings

started to become a mainstream issue if not a mainstream business then at least a theme and we started to see some green buildings. but i started to get uneasy i was anxious us that the progress wasn't fast enough that the sustainability wasn't deep enough that it wasn't authentic that we were minimizing the damage but we were lagging behind on all the real indicators and trends so like As an architect we were taught to appreciate design and large buildings with glass and steel, but as my career progressed I began to grow more frustrated with the progress of design and increasingly turned my attention to architecture from nature like this beautiful flower or the sidewalk era you saw earlier and i started comparing these things in my mind because they were both literally and figuratively routed to the place if you think about your house or your office building they are routed to the place but unfortunately that's where the comparison tends to end, you see that a flower has to get all its energy from the sun through photosynthesis it has to get all the water that NEADS of the amount of precipitation that it can capture in the root system below it has to be very specifically adapted to a place where it can't contaminate the soil and land around it or die, in fact when it's done it will turns into nutrients for the next cycle and while alive actively responds to temperature and humidity, opens and closes and tracks the Sun actually habitat for many little creatures, some we see and some we don't, and all the better for me it's that they are so beautiful, why can't this be a criterion for our buildings, why can't it be just like us? design so I started working on this idea, a really crazy idea that became known as the Living Building Challenge about a decade ago and I started thinking about this idea of ​​how we produce buildings that are not less bad for the environment but are good for the environment, how about buildings that, instead of being less likely to give us cancer, can't give us cancer, what about buildings that, instead of having less impact on climate change and using slightly less fossil fuels , they don't use any, what about buildings that instead of being a l is a little more water efficient get all the water they need from the sky captured on the roof bring it into the building treat it and use it again why can't we do these things that nature does? one page document and like anyone with a 30 page document, I did the following crazy thing when I quit my job.
living buildings for a living future jason mclennan tedxbend
He was the youngest partner and a very successful architecture firm. People thought again that he was very crazy. I quit my job. I sold my house at a loss I had a little boy here tonight Aidan and we moved to the west coast and we lived somewhere more expensive and I joined a nonprofit that had almost no budget and free staff but I was going to launch the Living Building Challenge and people were like, Jason, you're crazy, this is too hard, it's too hard already. we're going to make buildings that don't have toxic chemicals in them when we don't even know what's in our products and I said I don't know but let's figure this out let's do it and then this Living Building Challenge idea started to take root and at first it was like you knew a plant with a few seeds but a lot has happened in the last decade and I'm excited to tell you that I've seen the signs of a revolution and architecture that's sweeping across the world and I'm really energized by this we're seeing buildings that they are radically more efficient they in fact get all their energy from the sun all their water from the sky that is free of toxic chemicals that are helping local economies and a host of other issues we care about beautiful we only certify bullet center in seattle how many people here have been in the bullets that's probably some so if you want to do a solar building the last place in the What you'd think to do is in Seattle especially a six-story Class A office building full of wi You know workers, computers, and all the trappings of modern office buildings, but we've been tracking the performance of this building and, of course, fact we generate more energy than we use annually with the sun we are net positive there are six floors of composting toilets in this building and with no sewer connection we produce nutrients i like to tell people please come shit in my building always good for a laugh the building works much like a natural system has a central nervous system for the brain and its sensors throughout the building outside the building windows open and close automatically blinds roll up and down lights dim and come on cooling system heating system actually has no cooling system is complete fully ventilated naturally the heating system is turned on as needed and so the building is always trying to find, like this flower, the best conditions for it to be in, so this building for us is really about rethinking everything we want.
living buildings for a living future jason mclennan tedxbend

More Interesting Facts About,

living buildings for a living future jason mclennan tedxbend...

Work with the City of Seattle to Create New Ordinances The Living Buildings Ordinance is now happening in Seattle and to me what is amazing about this project is the impact it is having on people. Think about this for a minute. We just demonstrated it in a market. building rate in the least sunny city in the lower 48 US that is bigger than 90% of the buildings in our country except for places like midtown Manhattan that we don't need fossil fuels and is cash positive and this is where it gets better we have now this slide is already outdated we have almost 9 million square feet of projects like the Bullet Center being built all over the world people told me this wasn't possible right?
living buildings for a living future jason mclennan tedxbend
Don't quit your job. Don't think big. it has a sewage treatment plant this is the most beautiful sewage treatment plant i have ever seen it is again powered by photovoltaics it does not use chemicals to treat the water it does not smell good because it is an aerobic process the butte flies fly in the sewage treatment plant is beautiful it produces nutrients they even do yoga in the sewage treatment plant and they encourage you to take a deep breath it is a

living

building it was a great team that did a

living

construction project in hawaii a few years ago and they integrated all the technologies in the curriculum wanted to make sure that for students this was a new normal students learned about passive solar energy and green materials and healthy building about gray water systems learned about active solar and photovoltaics and wind turbines and this is part of the curriculum and is You're on the Big Island of Hawaii if you're interested in checking it out and that's how it should be where our kids are in facilities that aren't full of carcinogens and mutagens that use nature as their running system like this, there's a story, if you know, maybe you heard me talk about this, probably some of you, but i would like to tell this story because i was more impressed by this young l ady than anyone i have ever met i came to the building one day to see him and he offered me that he was about 15 years old he offered himself to give me a tour and she gave me a better technical tour than most architects could because this to her was normal, she had been entrusted with the building, in fact we went into the building and she proceeded to show me how the whole system worked, the most of us here are scared you know our thermostat at home just admit it and this the young lady was not only knowledgeable enough to change the whole HVAC system she s ino that it was empowered to do so, which was equally impressive and now about a month ago the state of Hawaii decreed that going forward every building, every school building in the state going forward is going to use the Living Building Challenge as your paradigm we are seeing Living Building Challenge projects all over the place different climate zones different types of buildings this is in Pittsburgh amazing project the Phipp The credible conservatory project we are looking at existing buildings including historic homes and renovation projects.
living buildings for a living future jason mclennan tedxbend
It's not just about building new ones. It's all good. We need to modernize the buildings. We have to be living buildings and this one is a hundred years old. Net Zero project in Ann Arbor we are seeing amazing new research centers for sustainability coming online that are living construction projects Chesapeake Bay Foundation I'm just showing you a few if we had another six hours I could show you more we have living buildings exploding in Australia that are very exciting in canada where i am originally from now this is where i wish my kids could go to day care this is a construction project outside of vancouver canada which is amazing in mexico we have several startup projects in mexico and this is a project of home and they have their own wetland sewage treatment plant too what do you see here ballet de bravo it's called it's very cool in new zealand it's one of the most inspiring projects I've ever seen and it's been an honor to be attached to it anyway as the new Parliament for the two people today in the North Island and New Zealand and when they had l opportunity to build this new facility. to bring everyone together try to help restore their culture they knew they had to make a living building here in bend we have a living building house we have started to scale this we are starting to work with different communities across the country around the world on how do we carry these principles at scale how we think about entire districts and produce living communities last year we officially launched the Living Community Challenge we are very excited as we are working with many communities now to find out how we do this how do we plan to move to living cities in the coming decades ?
That's very exciting and we can imagine a time when this image is kind of funny now this is not this hasn't happened yet but imagine we got rid of the core ar power and coal and there were cities that were completely powered by the sun this is the

future

we need we need it fast true we need it fast and eventually we move on to trying to figure out how we make this change with products the big barrier we have is that we still don't know what's in the things we buy the things we put in our homes the things we we put in our offices we don't know if it will make us sick we don't know the hidden impacts upstream and downstream the impacts generally on poor communities of the things we make in the things we buy so this very thought process of asking the question doesn't we want to be less bad, we want to discover what good looks like and Just a month ago we launched the living product challenge and We are now working with companies around the world to start thinking about how we do this how we create products where the manufacturing processes run entirely on the sun where they don't produce waste right where they work in the water balance of their place where they support economies local that are equitable products that are not just thrown away, but are really good, it's going to be difficult, but it's what we have to do and our hope is that we can create together. a living

future

and this is what we are really trying to do.
I work for an organization called the Living Future Institute and I hope all of you become our members now and with that I want to thank everyone here and just think about the next time you do your project, whether it's a home remodel, whether it's a new office building that can actually make a living building, it's getting real, it's scaling, the revolution is almost here, thank you.

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