The Architectural Nexus office in Sacramento recently was certified as the first ever Living Building Challenge building in California. This “Living Building” uses recycled rainwater as its water supply and solar panels generate all of its energy. Waste? Not a problem. All waste is composted on site. No sewers needed. Creating such a building in Sacramento’s inconsistent weather made the project even more challenging.

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) created the Living Building Challenge in 2006 to inspire the industry to create buildings that give more than they take. Architectural Nexus decided to meet this challenge head-on by adapting an existing one-story office building into a “Living Building.” The result is a building that is completely off the grid. To date, only 19 such projects have been “Living Building” certified worldwide since it requires great effort in architecture and engineering. The firm’s certification celebration is this Thursday. The project is the first re-use project in the world to be Living Building Certified and also won the Engineering News Record’s national 2018 “Best of the Best” Green Project award.


This exemplifies that this technology is not for select few.

“Sacramento’s solar exposure is limited in winter and rain is scarce in summer. It is not an easy task to be 100 percent self-sustainable, especially for an existing small-building conversion,” said Dr. Kit Miyamoto. “This exemplifies that this technology is not for select few, but should be a global phenomenon. This concept really can make the world a better place.”

Jay Reiser of Miyamoto recalls visiting the original building, “a vacant, run-down printing shop, with Arch Nexus CEO Kenner Kingston and his team and taking the leap together by deciding, ‘We can make this work!’ It is undoubtedly a legacy project for California and the world,” Reiser said.