What is Living Architecture?

Living Architecture is defined as the integration of living systems on or within a building envelope. This includes green roofs, living walls (interior and exterior), and green facades. Living Architecture does not include other green infrastructure that does not interface with buildings, like bioswales or urban trees.

Why the Living Architecture performance tool?

Despite its many benefits, living architecture is complex and varied, and this complexity leads to many barriers. Inconsistent policy, a lack of accepted performance benchmarks, and a lack of representation of living architecture in existing building rating systems (LEED, SITES, etc.) are obstacles that hinder the widespread use of living architecture.

What is the Living Architecture performance tool?


The Living Architecture Performance Tool (LAPT) is a rating system and resource, designed to certify that green roofs and walls are designed to achieve certain measurable and replicable performance benefits, so that they can be funded, designed, installed, and maintained with a higher degree of confidence. In 2018, the LAPT v.1 was released, and pilot projects are encouraged to participate.

The LAPT is a 110-point system, encompassing 30 credits in 8 major areas of living architecture performance. It is designed to be robust and comprehensive, yet easy to use with a streamlined compliance process.

Why should i participate in the pilot phase?

The  pilot phase of this program, launching in 2018, offers 25 innovative and forward-thinking organizations a chance to participate. Getting involved will help you optimize the range of benefits possible from your projects, demonstrate leadership and innovation, set the stage for long-term performance of your projects, received recognition in the marketplace, and receive personalized support through the process. Benefits and pricing from the pilot phase may not be offered in future phases of the LAPT.

what projects are eligible?

Projects across North America that use green roofs, green walls, and combinations of the two are eligible. New projects, projects in any phase of the design or construction process, or projects completed in the past five years are eligible in the pilot phase. Organizations involved in the project in any way (designers, building owners, product manufacturers, etc.) are eligible to apply, as long as they have access to the required documentation.

what is the cost of registration and what does it include?

There is a $500 fee upon registration, and an additional fee upon submission of certification documentation ($1,000 for projects with <9,999 s.f. of green roof/wall area, and $2,000 for projects with >10,000 s.f. of green roof/wall area). This low fee is designed to only cover costs and encourage widespread participation.

Organizations that register receive access to the LAPT compliance path, a personalized consultation, and access to an in-person workshop in Chicago (on July 13, 2018). Organizations that submit certification documentation also receive on-going support, review of materials, and if certified, recognition in the marketplace as a leader through publications like the Living Architecture Monitor, dedicated programming at the CitiesAlive Conference, and an opportunity to be recognized at the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Awards of Excellence Program.

i am a designer, building owner, or maintenance professional, how do i use the lapt?

The LAPT can be used as a best practice tool to optimize the breadth and depth for the design, installation, and maintenance of green roofs and walls. By demonstrating the linkages between benefits and encouraging holistic thinking, it is possible to obtain many additional benefits without significantly increasing cost or difficulty of many projects. The LAPT can also position your organization as a sustainability leader, recognizing your organizations as innovators and leaders in the field.

i am a policy maker, how do i use the lapt?

The LAPT is designed to be used as a guideline or decision-support tool by policy makers. Policy makers that want to optimize the public benefits provided by green roofs and walls but do not have the in-house expertise or capacity to ensure compliance are an ideal audience for the LAPT. For more information on how to best use the LAPT in your community, contact us.

I want more information

The LAPT document contains a detailed description of the principles, objectives, and intent of each performance area and credit, along with performance levels, weight of each credit, compliance requirements, strategies for compliance, and additional resources. 

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