3 Reasons to attend Living Future Unconference 2019

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3 Reasons to attend Living Future unConference 2019


I had the honor of receiving a scholarship to attend the Living Future unConference 2018 in Portland OR. The scholarship covered our registration which included access to both the expo hall and the educational sessions. This scholarship shows the commitment we recipents have towards greenbuilding and sustainability.  I was truly honored and blessed to be a recipient of this scholarship. 

For those who aren’t familiar with The International Living Future Institute (ILFI), their mission is to catalyze the transformation toward communities that are socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. They accomplish this by creating frameworks for the built environment, communitities and products that are regenerative.  

The 2018 Living Future unConference in Portland was the 12thannual unConference presented by ILFI. While isn’t thousands of atteneeds or hundrends for vendors, the purpose and content of the unConference were as fullfilling as any other greenbuilding conference.  

Below I offer a few reasons why you should attend the 2019 Living Future unConference.   


1. You get to visit the Northwest Coast!

The International Living Future Institute is based in Seattle WA with offices in Portland andVancouver. The philosopy that frames the ILFI is not only based in biomimcry but also purely west coast. Our program at Lipscomb takes a trip to the birth place of  Henry David Thoreau in Concord MA; we tour New England, discovering the roots and the traditions of sustainability. What the West Coast lacks in tradition it makes up for it in innovation and culture. ILFI has held all of its conferences on the Northwest Coast, bouncing back and forth between Seattle and Portland. 

 I’m not sure why ILFI intentionally host its unConfernece on the northwest coast each year. If I were to guess after attending the conference, it would be because the NW coast is a hub for people who are agressivly pursuing major changes in sustainablility and the built environment. By remianing on the NW coast, it attracts those in the area who can make changes that can effect people across the world. It also allows those from around the world to visit a place were sustainability is not only ingrained in its culture but its apart of the State laws. Companies not only find a moral duty to be sustainiable out west but the laws and building codes allow them to justifity any increase short term cost assoicated with green building. 

ILFI tenets are as simple as life on the west coast, but with details that create a challenge for anyone who wants to push the boundrys of what is meant by being sustainablie.


2. Understand ILFI Programs.

ILFI has four programs consits of Living Challenges, Transparnency Labels, Initiatives, and Certifications. 

  • The Living Challenge programs cover the Living Building Challenge (LBC), Living Product Challenge and the Living Community Challenge. Each of these challenges is made up of 20 imperatives that they must adhere too. 
  • ILFI Transparnency Lables program challenges manufacturers and product designers to create healthy products. Those healthy products can carry ILFI’s Declare label. This label answers three major questions; Where does a product come from, What is it made of, and Where does it go at the end of its life.
  • ILFI Initiatives programs focus on areas of need, from Affordable Housing ToolKits for the LBC to Biophilic Design to an Emerge Leadership project. 
  • Lastly, ILFI offers certifications for its programs. The certifications cover the LBC, Petal and Zero Energy. 

The unConference covered all their Challenges in 80 plus educational and workshop session over the course of 4 days.  Each session develed deeper into all four programs. Including tours of Living Building certided Affordable Housing to case studies of manufactures who were able to rid the products of Red List inputs. 


3. You will see LBC pratictioners who are discovering solutions to their green building problems. (You might even see an ISP grad hosting a session) 

As graduate students in the ISP program, we study sustainability in theory and anaylze case studies. But rarely do we have the oppurtunity to sit down with architects, product design engieers, and manufacture executives who all have the same goals surrounding sustainability. At the unConference, you will have a chance to engage those who not only make the decisions but also those who are working the solutions to the problems. During my sessions, I noticed how the presenters framed their problems then through collaboration was able to discover a solution. The audenice in my sessions presented questions that were engaging and at times were left unanswered as a solution isn’t availabel yet. 

The session titled “Lost in Transparency? Authentic Stories From Pursuing Healthy Materials”, layed out cases studies on how companies can clean up their supply chains and understand what inputs are making up their products. The panelist were executives from Milliken and Allegion; and I was pleasently surpised to see my professor for Sustainable Enterpise II, my Capstone, and Lipscomb grad Mr. Will Paddock leading the session! And of course, this was the BEST session of the entire unConfernece!


Hopefully, these three reasons will encourage you to attend IFLI unConfernece 2019!