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Washington University in St. Louis May Sport Greenest Building in North America

A Cistern being installed at the Tyson Living and Learning CenterLEED, for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, has become the alpha acronym when referring to green, or eco-friendly, buildings. The standard, from the U.S. Green Building Council, recently went 3.0.

Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, is taking the green diploma to an even higher degree. University officials are betting a new Living Learning Center will meet the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most stringent green building rating system from the Cascadia Region Green Building Council, a chapter of the USGBC and its Canadian counterpart.

If the university succeeds, the 2,900-square-foot center would be the first structure in North America to meet the Cascadia code.

What makes it so super? The center is designed to use zero net energy and wastewater, to capture rainwater and purify it for drinking and use solar energy to pump power back into the electric grid.

There’s a lot of anticipation on campus to see if the building makes the grade. More than 60 projects have given it a try so far. The new center is due to open on May 29, 2009.

Standards for The Living Building Challenge reach beyond the coveted LEED Platinum rating, by the way.

(Image credit: Washington University. Caption: A cistern is pictured alongside the Living Learning Center before being placed underground.)

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is typing about issues in the Great Lakes, from advanced biofuels to zero-emission vehicles. Jeff is an environmental journalist and social media evangelist based in Michigan, where the summers are short, the winters are cold, and the stories are plentiful.


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