All posts by Melissa Kops

About Melissa Kops

LEED AP accredited and a Living Future Accredited Professional, Melissa Kops earned her Masters of Architecture Degree from Rhode Island School of Design and is a Senior Architect at Centerbrook.

Designing for a Living Future

South Kent School Center for Innovation
South Kent School Center for Innovation

The dominant green building rating system is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). A leader in sustainability, Centerbrook has designed 13 LEED certified projects, 3 of them earning Platinum Certification, the highest level of recognition. A number of other projects are awaiting certification.

But there is a new emergent green building certification that is raising the bar. Instead of attempting to limit the negative impact of the built environment on human and ecological health, it is a challenge to design for positive impact. The Living Building Challenge™ is not a rating system like LEED, which awards credits towards different levels of certification. If a building is to be certified as “Living”, it must meet a series of mandatory “Imperatives” to be truly sustainable. A Living Building functions as a flower, meeting all of its energy and water needs from the sunlight and rain that falls upon it and the warmth of the ground below, while improving human and ecological health and well-being.


The Living Building Challenge (LBC) was launched in 2006 as an inspiration for the design community to imagine a built environment that works in harmony with nature, with the technology available to us today. The first Living Buildings were certified in 2010. There are only 5 certified projects to date, but these few have paved the way for many more to come. There now are more than 160 registered projects in 10 countries, including Centerbrook’s South Kent School Center for Innovation in Connecticut. Continue reading Designing for a Living Future