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Hot Topic: Designing Living Buildings to Push the Boundaries for a Healthier Planet with Jason F. McLennen

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PostedDecember 12, 2019

Episode Summary

Host Ethan Astaneh speaks with Jason F. McLennan, a prominent figure in the green building movement.

Jason is a highly sought designer, consultant, and thought leader around the world — even referred to as the ‘Steve Jobs’ of the green building industry. His company, McLennan Design, was formed with a clear overarching purpose: to make a significant positive change in the world, with a particular focus on deep green, regenerative design solutions.

In their discussion, Jason explains what a living building is and why it is so important in the global effort to tackle climate change. He elaborates on how individuals and organizations can achieve the status of a living building, what it is like working on a living building (as well as living in one), how technology intersects and whether or not it is possible to upgrade a pre-existing structure into a living building.

Key Takeaways

About today’s episode.
Jason explains what a green building is and distinguishes the differences between it and a living building.
Jason explains the analogy that "a building is like a flower," that he mentioned in his TEDx Talk.
Jason explains the Living Building Challenge and the Living Community Challenge.
How do you achieve the status of a living product or a living building? Is it a call-to-action or a certification?
Jason gives an example of a well-known living building.
Who is leading this global effort and who is supporting it?
How did Jason end up getting involved with living buildings? And what sorts of resistance and obstacles has he encountered along his journey?
As the CEO of McLennan Design, is Jason actively designing and building these living buildings?
What is it like living or working in a living building? Do you have to change your standard of living at all or compromise design?
Jason highlights some common misconceptions about living buildings.
[16:29] The cost of creating a living building.
Is it possible to improve pre-existing buildings to make them more green and ‘living?’
Does there have to be a specific geographic setting in order to make living buildings work?
How does technology intersect with living buildings?
How are the teams assembled for these living building projects?
Are schools beginning to teach and embrace the ideas that stem from living buildings?
Are governments doing anything right now to incentivize the building of these green and living buildings?
Jason recaps today’s discussion and reiterates why living buildings are incredibly important — especially in today’s environment.

Mentioned in this episode

McLennan Design

Nicola Sustainable Innovation Fund

“Living Buildings for a Living Future | Jason McLennan | TEDxBend” (Video)

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)

Living Building Challenge

Living Community Challenge

Bullitt Center

Bullitt Foundation

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Guest Bio

Jason McLennan

Jason is a highly sought out designer, consultant, and thought leader around the world — even being referred to as the ‘Steve Jobs’ of the green building industry. He is the Founder and Chair of the board of the International Living Future Institute and Cascadia Green Building Council, a chapter of both the United States Green Building Council and the Canada Green Building Council.

His company, McLennan Design, was formed with a clear overarching purpose: to make a significant positive change in the world, with a particular focus on deep green, regenerative design solutions as their means. They exist to be change agents — using design and consulting as a powerful tool for transformation.

For his full bio, visit:

About The Host - Ethan Astaneh

Ethan is a Financial Advisor in the firm’s Vancouver office. He provides strategic advice to high net worth business owners, professionals, and retirees, and offers his clients a wide range of financial services, including; retirement income planning, business succession and continuation planning, investment management, tax and estate planning, charitable giving, and intergenerational wealth transfer.

For his full bio, visit: nicolawealth.local/Our-Team/Ethan-Astaneh


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