Hitchcock Center for the Environment: A "Certified Living Building"

AMHERST, Massachusetts — The building generates more power than it uses, creates enough potable water for those who visit and work inside, and produces just 35 gallons of wastewater per day because of its compostable toilets. And it’s a great place to learn how nature works and how people can emulate the diversity, efficiency, and sustainability of our earth’s natural systems.

Three years after the Hitchcock Center for the Environment opened a new learning center at the edge of the Hampshire College campus, the building is demonstrating the possibilities of a resilient, self-sufficient building.

With a third-party audit complete and 12 months of continuous operation showing the building is performing as designed, the Hitchcock Center’s headquarters became only the 23rd building across the globe – and the first in Massachusetts – to earn a Certified Living Building Award from the International Living Future Institute.

Presented May 2, 2019 to Executive Director Julie Johnson at the Living Future UnConference, an international sustainability conference in Seattle, the award means that the center has earned designation through the Living Building Challenge, considered the most rigorous standard for green buildings.

The Hitchcock Center building was designed by designLAB Architects of Boston and built by Wright Builders of Northampton. ObjectIDEA worked with the staff at the Hitchcock Center and the architects’ consulting team to realize a pedagogical approach for exhibits and programming.