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What Does Good Look Like?

Alpen and the Living Building Challenge: What does good look like?

That is the question that the Living Building Challenge asks. The living building challenge is just as much about beauty as it is about environmental impact—and one reason why the International Living Future Institute uses the metaphor “Efficient as a flower” to describe its key concepts.

Designing for the Future

The Living Building Challenge encourages the creation of buildings that are:

  • Regenerative spaces connecting their occupants to community, light, food, nature and air.
  • Self-sufficient, producing more energy than they use while collecting and treating all water on site.
  • Creating a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them
  • Places that last, encouraging designs that “operate for a hundred year’s time”.
  • Healthy and beautiful

LBC’s Two Core Rules

  1. There are 20 imperatives of the Living Building Challenge, and all Imperatives assigned to a Typology are mandatory. Some Typologies require fewer than twenty Imperatives because the conditions are either not applicable or may compromise other critical needs.
    Decoded: Your building / project must meet a system of minimum requirements which vary considerably based on the project specifics, found in the Summary Matrix here.
  2. Living Building Challenge certification requires actual, rather than modeled or anticipated, performance. Therefore, projects must be operational for at least twelve consecutive months prior to evaluation.
    Decoded: This thing has to actually work, and work for a while.

Source: International Living Future Institute website


The Living Building Challenge is a call to action for everyone – from architects and engineers to developers and manufacturers – to think holistically about their creations. It goes beyond simply “sustainable”–past the break-even point–and aims to create a positive regenerative influence on the environment as a whole.
Living buildings don’t just have a net zero impact, they give back and work with the environment in positive and meaningful ways. For a building to do that, it often challenges the creativity of builders.

How is Alpen involved with the Living Building Challenge?

The Living Building Challenge has the potential for fantastic positive influence on our built environment, and as we clearly commit on our About page “To manufacture highly versatile window, glass and door solutions that meet the energy efficiency needs of a changing world, and improve the comfort and durability of the buildings in which we live and work.”

Alpen has been a partner, supplier, and supporter of the Living Building Challenge for years, and is involved with projects like the Rocky Mountain Institute Innovation Center, Boulder Commons, Jackson Sustainable Winery Building, Smith College Bechtel Environmental Classroom, Honda Smart Home-US and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation Headquarters.

Numerous Alpen High Performance Products lines have earned Living Building Challenge Declare certification and are ready for use in LBC buildings. These include our Zenith Series ZR-5/525, ZR-6/625, ZR-9/925, ZR-7/725 and Commercial Ribbon Window Series windows.
For more information about how the Zenith Series of fiberglass windows and doors or our Commercial Fiberglass Ribbon Windows can help your building achieve LBC levels of quality in healthiness, beauty and sustainability, please contact us.


The Living Futures Institute Declare Program aligns with Alpen’s core value of manufacturing transparency.  Living Building Challenge Compliance further provides third party verification that Alpen windows are ideal for Healthy Home construction, particularly for homeowners with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.