ILFI Webinar Replay – Declare & Living Product Challenge

Host: Alyson Laura, Director of Education, Green Building Education Services
Guest Presenter: Alexandra Muller, Living Product Challenge Manager, International Living Future Institute


Goal of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI)

“To make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offensive or disadvantage of anyone.” – Buckminster Fuller

“ILFI’s certification programs aim to change the way we think about what the future could be.” – Alexandra Muller


Programs that the ILFI offers:

International Living Future Institute logo and logos of all their programs under the ILFI logo: Living Building Challenge, Living Community Challenge, Living Product Challenge, Zero Carbon Certification, Zero Energy Certification Reveal. Just. Declare. Cascadia Green Building Council, Ecotone publishing company

Living Building Challenge – is a green building certification program that sets the bar for a truly sustainable building. Living Building Certification is more stringent than LEED and even guides buildings to net-positive energy and water. The Living Building Challenge (LBC) was launched by the Cascadia Green Building Council in 2006. LBC uses the metaphor of a flower because although flowers are rooted in one place, they harvest all the energy and water they need, they adapt to climate and site changes, they operate pollution free, are comprised of integrated systems, and are beautiful. Buildings seeking LBC certification can earn one or more “Petals”. There are 7 Petals: Materials, Site, Water, Energy, Health, Equity, and Beauty. To learn more about the Living Building Challenge, click here.


Declare. – is a simple yet elegant tool for communicating what is and isn’t in building products. One of the main components of a Declare label is it’s ingredients list. Declare Demystifies the Red List Challenge, the disconnect between manufacturers and architects, and provides transparency of what ingredients are in building materials. The “Red List” is a list of the most harmful building products to avoid when constructing a new building; so, Declare labels encourage manufactures to avoid red-listed materials and instead choose more sustainable building materials. Here is a breakdown of what is included in a Declare label:

The basic requirement of a Declare label is for manufacturers to list at least 99% of all intentionally added ingredients.

For a list of building materials with the Declare label, click here.


Living Product Challenge 2.0 – is very similar to the Living Building Challenge because the Living Product Challenge is also comprised of 7 Petals: Place, Water, Energy, Health + Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. The main difference is that the Living Product Challenge is better suited for manufacturers than buildings. The backbone of the LPC looks at both the Material Health of building materials, but also, it looks at the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of building materials to achieve net positive water, net positive energy, and other positive impacts.

Both the LPC and LBC use the analogy of a “handprint”. “Handprinting” being the opposite side of the spectrum of a “footprint”. In this analogy, footprints are essentially the resources and energy that you use or consume (the depletion of limited resources); whereas, handprints are the idea of creating positive change in the world and giving more back that you use or consume. With the concept of handprinting, there is no limit to how much you can give back.

To be sustainable, we must first limit our footprint and secondly, make as large of a handprint as we can!

Here is breakdown of what a Living Product Challenge label looks like:

Learn More about Transparency of Building Materials

If you make building material selections or just like learning about the future of transparency around building material ingredients, please check out our 1-hour video training about EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) and HPDs (Health Product Declarations) and how they can help you earn LEED certification by clicking here.

Thanks for learning with GBES! For more great free content like this, please check out our blog, or check out our webinar replays.