Embracing Change with the Living Building Challenge at Georgia Tech

Overcoming the inherent challenges of planning and designing a Living Building Challenge certified building is part of the transformative nature of this project. After all, the intent is to encourage change in how we as planners, designers, and builders view the built environment. As the Living Building at Georgia Tech project team can attest, learning how to address the challenges of achieving building performance while balancing other variables including budget, project milestones, and an extensive project team is leading to real, positive change.  

John DuConge'John J. DuConge', RA, LEED AP

Sr. Project Manager, Facilities Management
Georgia Institute of Technology

"As the project manager for the Living Building at Georgia Tech, one of the biggest challenges is juggling the strict certification requirements and holistic project goals while balancing the typical project objectives like meeting budgets and schedules. The integrated nature of a Living Building Challenge project, coupled with the larger project objectives, requires intensive collaboration and coordination among the project team. This project aspires to be a catalyst for change and inherently impacts a broad spectrum of persons, internal departments and workflows as well as outside interests. These challenges are truly transforming our conventional thinking – standard approaches to the design and construction process, the definition of success, perceptions of what a building can do to inspire and create equitable opportunities."

Jim Hanford, AIA, Principal
Building Performance Lead
The Miller Hull Partnership

"A key challenge with the Living Building at Georgia Tech is that there are several absolutes – design, performance and budget. Most often in projects, there is some compromise and fluidity within design and performance (i.e., how far can you go?) while the program remains fixed. To work within the absolutes of this project, we have to work differently. The compelling design concept remains consistent, while we remain nimble on exactly how we are achieving the required performance within fluid programmatic needs (i.e., how much can you get?), all within the overall budget goals. It is a puzzle that is challenging and fun!"

Joshua R Gassman, RA, LEED AP BD+C
Senior Associate, Lord Aeck Sargent

"The most exciting challenge has been centered around the Red List items and the Declare Label. The research our team has had to put into making sure to specify Declare Label items has been extensive and has stretched our team in terms of out-of-the-box thinking including how to use these new building materials. This process has been energizing for our group and has really brought the design firms together into an exceedingly collaborative relationship."

Todd Mowinski, PE, LEED AP
Partner, Newcomb & Boyd

"One of the most challenging aspects has been living within the net positive energy budget.  Project teams are used to operating within a dollar budget, but there are very few decisions on the Living Building at Georgia Tech that get made that don’t also impact the energy budget – it’s all related.  It’s changing how we think about all of our projects, particularly in the early design stages."


Categories: Georgia Tech