A group of green building practitioners are joining forces to create the Living Future Institute Australia, an organisation dedicated to setting a new standard for the built environment.

The Institute will be formally launched in Melbourne this August, at an event featuring Jason F. McLennan, CEO of the International Living Future Institute and creator of the Living Building Challenge.

The Living Future Institute Australia states its aim as ‘leading Australia’s transformation toward a civilisation that is socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative’.

The Institute promotes global environmental ideology such as the Living Building Challenge as a strategy for bringing the modern built environment into alignment with the ecosystems it inhabits.

The Living Building Challenge calls for the creation of building projects at all scales (from single-room renovations to whole communities) that operate as ‘cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature's architecture’.

To achieve certification, a project must meet 20 rigorous Imperatives (including net-zero energy, waste and water) over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.

The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre, University of Wollongong has signed up to the scheme.

More than 140 projects are now pursuing the Challenge worldwide, including four in Australia. But as the Australian Institute’s leaders note, each project has a ripple effect throughout the building industry.

Chair of the Australian Institute’s board Warren Overton said the challenge is an incredible tool for rethinking everything about how our buildings are designed, created and operated.

“What is particularly powerful about this strategy is that it changes the way people think about the built environment,” he said.

“Building inhabitants become active stewards of their own environment. Materials manufacturers question the chemicals they’re using in their products. Project teams collaborate at unheard of levels. With the Living Future Institute Australia, we will be able to support the Challenge and other far-reaching programs more effectively.”

As part of its inaugural celebrations, the Institute will host a series of lectures and workshops delivered by McLennan in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The lectures, which are free and open to the public, will provide an overview of the Living Building Challenge and explore its transformative potential for Australia. The workshops will provide a full day of training including local and international case studies.

The Living Building Challenge tour is underwritten by Aurecon, a founding sponsor of the Living Future Institute Australia. A number of regional organisations are sponsoring individual public lectures and workshops, which are eligible for Continuing Professional Development credits from professional associations. Sponsorship packages for the Public Lecture and training series are available for most Australian cities.

For further information about memberships and the upcoming events, visit http://www.livingbuildingchallenge.org/countries/australia.