Tyson Living Learning Center

Washington University in St. Louis

Project Overview


In August 2009, the International Living Building Institute published the Living Building Challenge 1.3 in an attempt "to raise the bar for building standards from doing less harm to contributing positively to the environment." (Source: International Living Building Institute) The goal was to have architects, contractors, and building owners commit to sustainability and reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. 

When Bingman started this project, over 150 teams from around the world had attempted and failed to meet the stringent requirements needed for certification which far exceeded the requirements for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification. The LBC certification required accumulating six "petals" representing Indoor Air Quality, Beauty & Inspiration, Responsible Use of Materials, Efficient Use of Land, Solar Energy and Water Independence. (A seventh petal representing Equity was added after The Tyson Center was Certified.)

Towards completion, firms from New York, Sweden, and Bingman were all racing to be the first company to meet this challenge. In the end, the company from Sweden failed and Bingman was the first to receive the Living Building Challenge 1.3 Certification by beating out the firm from New York by two weeks.

For this challenge, we had to meet the sourcing, fabrication, and assembly requirements for the entirety of the project within an extremely small radius in Eureka, Missouri. The entire facility used wood collected on the Tyson property from invasive species that were cut and from fallen trees due to wind or storm damage. Pipes and wiring used PVC-free materials, and salvaged wood doors were used throughout the interior of the facility. All materials used are non-toxic and appropriately sourced to minimize impact on the environment. Every aspect of the project was meticulously examined, from the lead-free door handles to the waterless toilet used to create compost.

The Tyson Living Learning Center is a Net-Zero Energy and Net-Zero Water facility that produces no waste. 

Bingman is proud to have been the General Contractor in building this facility. The sustainability of this project far outreaches any other we have seen or been associated with since.

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