Author: Derek Goodroe

Living Building Certification and JUST Program

Living Building Certification requires that at least one of the project team members have a JUST Label for their organization. The goals of the JUST program are:

  1. to elevate the discussion around social justice in all organizations
  2. to create a common language for social justice issues
  3. to elevate the causes of those individuals who lead these issues
  4. to change the policies and practices of thousands of organizations worldwide
  5. to make life better for people from all walks of life

The JUST program serves as a way to identify socially just and equitable organizations. In February, 2016, Ashley McGraw Architects applied for and received the Living Building Challenge’s JUST Label. To achieve its JUST label, Ashley McGraw had to report on the following indicators: gender and ethnic diversity; gender pay and pay-scale equity; living wage and full-time employment; occupational safety; employee benefits and worker happiness; local control and sourcing; responsible investing; charitable giving; community volunteering; and transparency. Each indicator metric outlines measurable accountabilities in order for the organization to be recognized at a one-, two-, or three-star level.

As the Architect of Record on the Nuthatch Hollow Living Building project, Ashley McGraw’s JUST Label satisfies the requirements of Imperative 18 for the project, while also serving as a barometer against which Ashley McGraw continues to measure its progress in becoming an increasingly socially just and equitable organization.

Nuthatch at the NYS Green Building Conference

We know the materials in our buildings have a real impact on human health. But how do we find out what is in those materials? And how can we use materials research during the design process to encourage transparency within the materials industry and help transform how building materials are made?

Matthew Broderick, Principal of Ashley McGraw Architects, Susanne Angarano, Senior Interior Designer of Ashley McGraw Architects, and Lisa Carey Moore, Healthy Materials Specialist of Integrated Eco Strategy, LLC will share their experiences at the 15th Annual New York State Green Building Conference on Friday, March 31 at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown.

Lessons will be drawn from several Living Building projects, including the ongoing design of the Nuthatch Hollow Living Building. They will provide an overview of how the LBC works to advocate for healthy building materials and layout a methodology to develop a materials ethic for a design project and strategies for identifying an initial material palette while incorporating audience participation.

Other key LBC initiatives to be discussed include:

  • The LBC imperative for specifying health materials relative to indoor air quality and the significant deficiencies in policies that regulate the chemicals in the products we use.
  • Explore how the essence of project place can be extracted to help inform the material palette selection, and strengthen the relationship between those healthy materials and LBC design imperatives.
  • Outline how to “vet” a product – an overview of product types, documentation associated with these, and how we answer the question of “is it good enough”.

To register or learn more about the New York State Green Building Conference, please visit the conference website.