Living Building Challenge on College Campuses – Business Source

(The featured image has been modified from this original version.)

In 2013, Skanska completed a Living Building Challenge project at the Bertschi School in Seattle. They teamed up with local building professionals to form the Restorative Design Collective to offer their services to build this school. While the Bertschi School is an elementary school, not a university, it is still helpful to understand the elements of this design and project which components may be useful in a building on a college campus. There are many design elements in this building that can be adapted for a university building. For example, the Bertschi School has a blackwater composting system. This means that all of the waste that is flushed down a toilet is sent to a composting system. This eliminates the need for sending wastewater to a treatment plant which requires a great deal of energy and money. The building also uses a greywater system where all water from sinks is sent through a living wall which then filters the water and feeds the plants.

There are several resources on the Skanska website describing this project. One of these sources is a visual representation of the Living Building Challenge. It summarizes each petal and the innovations used in the Bertschi School design. There is also an explanation of Skanska’s geographic markets and their exemplary work in Seattle. A great resource is the case study documented by Skanska that explains the sustainable elements of this building.


Skanska is an international engineering firm that works on  a wide array of projects, from living buildings to the Brooklyn Bridge. It is a competitive and highly respected company in the industry. These sources were all retrieved directly from their website and therefore appear to be trustworthy.


3 thoughts on “Living Building Challenge on College Campuses – Business Source

  1. “The Bertschi School Living Science building, located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, is the first project in the world built to the Living Building Challenge (LBC) v2.0 criteria and in an urban setting.”

    Wow. FIRST.

    I wonder if yo can find out more about what went into this. Like, for Skanska, did they work for less then full fee to be able to get the status and marketing clout of being the first?

  2. Since it is a public school, it is possible to probable that information on costs and such are publically available. You might want to consult with Brody Selelck about finding such information, but te state or local school authorities might be a way to start.

    This simple google search yielded some possibilities…

    Bertschi School Living Science building costs comparison

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