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Today, the visitors are a delegation from Indonesia. Not long ago, a group from a charter school showed up. And before that, an imam arrived with about 20 or so people from his mosque.

They all have come to see what could be the future. In 2020, Georgia Tech opened the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design. It’s a “living building,” which means it produces more energy and water than it consumes.

There are just 34 such buildings worldwide, but environmental advocates dream of a day when the living-building standard overtakes the 25-year-old LEED certification as the mark of excellence for green construction. While LEED buildings mitigate a building’s eco-damage, living buildings contribute to restoration, says Shan Arora, director of the building. “We’re not talking about buildings that are less bad. We’re talking about buildings that are actively good.”

 

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