Dozens and dozens of green certifications and standards have popped up during the last decade. Choosing a project standard can be daunting. This residential project chose the Living Building Challenge certification, which is a very difficult one to achieve - it requires a year of performance prior to evaluation.

While several buildings have been able to achieve this certification, the Desert Rain is the first residential project to accomplish it.

The Living Building Challenge is one tough building standard, probably the toughest in the world. There have not been a lot of buildings completed that have made it through, and Desert Rain is the first residential project to get certified. It has taken almost a decade since Thomas and Barbara Elliot decided to build an “extreme green dream home” and they have been living in it since 2013, but with the LBC you have to prove performance for a year:

The Living Building Challenge certification requires actual, rather than modeled or anticipated, performance across environmental, social and community impact. Therefore, projects must be operational for at least twelve consecutive months prior to evaluation.

Six years in the making, Desert Rain earned certification by demonstrating that its five buildings produce more electricity than residents use each year and that 100% of water requirements are met by captured rainwater. In addition, toxic chemicals were screened from all building materials and all wood was reclaimed or Forest Stewardship Council certified. Human waste from the three residences is composted on site and all greywater is processed and reused for irrigation.

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