this fall, the Living Building at the Georgia
Tech seeks to be “the most environmentally
advanced research and education building
in the Southeast,” and the design team has
committed to publicly sharing the design
process in pursuit of full Living Building
Certification on a project website. 3
The LBC is modeled after a flower
and is organized into seven performance
“Petals.” In addition to requirements related to building design, construction and
operations—such as requiring net positive
water and energy, moving beyond doing
less bad to being good—its Equity Petal
includes a “JUST Organizations” imperative which focuses on equitable and transparent operations in the workplaces where
LBC projects are designed.
“Similar to the Living Building
Challenge’s Declare program, the JUST
– JUST User Manual
The JUST Program provides a “
transparency platform” for organizations to report
on 22 organization- and employee-related
indicators, with the goal of helping organizations “optimize policies that improve
social equity and enhance employee engagement.” 4 Addressing the topics of Diversity,
Equity, Safety, Worker Benefit, Local Benefit
and Stewardship, the JUST Label provides
a public reporting framework and scoring
system, rating an organization with one to
three stars for each indicator.
The JUST Label process has already
prompted some difficult but ultimately
beneficial conversations about equity
in the workplace and our associated
policies. Lord Aeck Sargent became one
of the first 20 architecture firms in the
world to earn a JUST Label in February
2017. Hopefully the two-year renewal
cycle will result in continued pressure
for improvements in operations, with the
associated benefits in equity, diversity
and employee engagement.
From biomedical engineering and epidemiology to ecology and oceanography,
laboratories are home to research seeking
to solve not only the issues of today, but
also anticipate the problems of tomorrow.
It’s an exciting time to see the facilities
themselves increasingly reflect the science
of sustainability as well as organizations
designing the laboratories embracing equity and diversity in their operations.
Jim Nicolow is the Director of Sustainability
at Lord Aeck Sargant and a nationally recognized expert in sustainable design and the
LEED Rating System. A frequent speaker,
author and blogger on issues of sustainable
design and high-performance buildings, he
has been named one of Building Design &
Construction’s “40 Under 40” Up-and-Comers.
He is certified by the National Council of
Architectural Registration Boards and received
his Bachelor of Science in Architecture and
Master of Architecture from the University of
Rendering of the Living Building at Georgia Tech, with its prominent photovoltaic canopy, which seeks to be one of the first research buildings to achieve full Living
Building Challenge certification.
Lord Aeck Sargent’s LEED Platinum Certified headquarters in Atlanta.