The image above is courtesy of Julie Keefe.

Diane’s interests led her to the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), a nonprofit that is working to build an ecologically-minded, restorative world for all people. She found that the ILFI looks at the world as an integrated system, and she began to consider how ESH might act as a model for ILFI concepts.

The Emerson Street House is participating in the Living Building Challenge. The documentation is made available below as open-source with the intention of sharing what we have learned.

The Living Building Challenge is a green building certification program and sustainable design framework that visualizes the ideal for the built environment. It uses the metaphor of a flower because the ideal built environment should function as cleanly and efficiently.

Documentation for Living Building Challenge

(documents are “living” and are updated as the project is worked on)


01. Limits to Growth
02. Urban Agriculture
03. Habitat Exchange
04. Human Powered Living


05. Net Positive Water


06. Net Positive Energy


07. Civilized Environment
08. Healthy Interior Environment
09. Biophilic Environment


10. Red List
11. Embodied Carbon Footprint
12. Responsible Industry
13. Living Economy Sourcing
14. Net Positive Waste


15. Humane Scale + Humane Places
16. Universal Access to Nature and Place
17. Equitable Investment
18. JUST Organizations


19. Beauty & Inspiration
20. Inspiration + Education