Burh Becc at Beacon Springs Farm in Michigan has secured a Living Certified ruling via the Living Building Challenge certification by the International Living Future Institute to become World’s second Living Building.
The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is the world’s most rigorous proven performance standard for buildings. The LBC is a green building certification program and sustainable design framework that visualizes the ideal for the built environment. LBC certification requires actual, rather than anticipated, performance demonstrated over twelve consecutive months. With the LBC, you can create buildings that are – regenerative spaces that connect occupants to light, air, food, nature, and community. Those buildings will be not only healthy and beautiful but also will be self-sufficient and remain within the resource limits of their site. Living Buildings produce more energy than they use and collect and treat all water on site.
The LBC certification comprises seven performance categories site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. To receive full Living certification by the LBC, a building cannot use any materials on the LBC Red List, such as formaldehyde, halogenated flame-retardants, lead, mercury, phthalates or PVC/vinyl.
Burh Becc was designed to be a Living farmhouse, meshing perfectly with the owners goal of restoring their entire 15-acre (6 hectares) plot of depleted farmland one mile (1.6 kilometers) southwest of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The homes design and siting emphasise its function as a working farmhouse to serve many generations, combining beautiful views of the permaculture farm lands with practical house functions that will support an efficient farming operation. A key mission of Beacon Springs Farm is to use permaculture farming methods to reverse the harsh impact that current commodity farming practices have had on the 13 acres (5.3 ha) of land surrounding the Burh Becc farmhouse. The secondary mission for the new farm is to restore the long-gone oak-hickory savanna common to this part of Michigan. Additionally, Beacon Springs Farm aims to provide healthy food for the local market and especially for those with limited access to fresh produce.
The 2,200 square foot (main floor living space) home borrows from the characteristics of 200-year-old Tuscan farmhouses, with a 2,400 square foot barn and workshop. The buildings sit at the center of 15 acres of depleted farm land. It took five years for a 20-person design/build team to complete the project.