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Ask Me Anything: International Living Future Institute with Sunni Wissmer

At Shadow Ventures, we've built a community of tech-focused industry professionals who refuse to accept the status quo. In our community Slack channel, we frequently host Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions...

March 13, 2020


Recently, we had the pleasure of talking to Sunni Wissmer from the International Living Future Institute. Here's what Sunni told us.


  • Presenter: Sunni Wissmer is a development planner who manages ILFI's extensive Living Future Network: the Living Future Accredited Ambassadors, Partners, and Affiliates in more than 70 nations who are creating Living Products, Buildings, and Communities. Sunni firmly believes that kindness is the highest form of intelligence.
  • Topic: The International Living Future Institute is an environmental NGO committed to catalyzing the transformation toward communities that are socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. ILFI is premised on the belief that providing a compelling vision for the future is a fundamental requirement for reconciling humanity's relationship with the natural world. ILFI operates the Living Building Challenge, the built environment's most ambitious performance standard. It is a hub for many other visionary programs that support the transformation toward a living future.


Q: Can you talk about the difference between your Net Zero Energy Building, Zero Carbon, and Zero Energy paths

Net Zero Energy Building - No longer a thing (phased out in 2018). Zero Energy Building - Collect 100% of the energy the building needs over a 12 month period. Demonstrate this performance. Zero Carbon - Meet best-in-class efficiency targets for your market, and offset any remaining carbon. Be ready to demonstrate this

Q: How's the adoption of Living Building Challenge these days? How many projects have been certified (full and petal), and how many are registered/active/etc?

Exponential! We have 120+ certified projects and 650+ registered

Q: So I think we are all familiar with LEED Certification, how is ILFI different?

All ILFI's building Certifications require a 3rd party audit to prove that the building actually does these things. ILFI is the only certification platform to require this. We send an independent auditor to verify performance after the building has been in operation for 1 full year - so we know our buildings are actually performing at this level!

Q: Is your primary customer the owner/operator? What channel partners have provided the most value promoting ILFI (Architects, Engineers, GCs, etc.)?

While we love to work with owners directly, most of our projects are led by passionate architects and engineers keen to do the best thing for their clients and the planet

Q: Are there any resources you recommend to help guide the development of new products to enable more certified buildings?

Yes, we have a whole program around healthy building materials called Declare: our website is chock-full of resources for manufacturers looking to enroll their product, and a database of products you can use to get started. https://living-future.org/declare/

Q: Do you all do residential and commercial projects?  

We do see a lot of homes, but our projects are primarily commercial - Google, Salesforce, Kingspan have all committed to updating /certifying all of their facilities under one or more of our programs. Microsoft's new campus here in Seattle is working with us, too!

Q: What's your favorite project?

I would have to say the Bullitt Center https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/03/realestate/commercial/the-bullitt-center-in-seattle-goes-well-beyond-green.html

Q: How can we get involved?

Living Future Accreditation: https://living-future.org/lfa/
Become a Member: https://living-future.org/membership/

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