The sustainability gauntlet was thrown down so we decided to engage with the Living Building Challenge (LBC) from the very start. The LBC as a way to approach doing more good than harm in the spirit of true sustainability and we think it's the right thing to do. The Living Building Challenge is a collection of imperatives organized in 6 'petals' including Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. These imperatives call for design development, implementation, and maintenance to be in line with the intent of making more responsible decisions that actually make a difference in the life of a building and how it affects both its users and those of its context.

IMAGINE a building designed and constructed to function as elegantly and efficiently as a flower: a building informed by its bioregion’s characteristics, that generates all of its own energy with renewable resources, captures and treats all of its water, and that operates efficiently and for maximum beauty.

IMAGINE a city block or a college campus sharing resources from building to building, growing food, and functioning without a dependency on fossil fuel-based transportation.

IMAGINE true sustainability in our homes, workplaces, neighborhoods, villages, towns and cities—Socially Just, Culturally Rich and Ecologically Restorative”
- The Living Building Challenge Vision

Feel free to discover how we designed for the LBC and addressed each of the 20 imperatives below. We have included supporting documentation in Excel and PDF formats so you can dive in to how we reached net positive energy and waste, as well as the rest of the standards.

The Green Bastards Food Hub is a project of ~81,200 occupied square feet on a site of 45,340 square feet, our FAR is 1.79 placing the project in the L5 - Urban Center Zone / Transect meaning it is treated as medium- to high-density mixed-use development as defined by the LBC.


The place petal focuses on the connection and integration of the Green Bastards Food Hub as a building with its context, both here in the south downtown neighborhood of Las Vegas and as a fixture within the greater built environment. We address the sense of place in how we connect to existing transit infrastructures such as buses to promoting biking and walking by offering facilities and designing a welcoming place to walk and ride. The project also addresses the existing habitat offering new natural micro-habitats for bees and other birds with the landscaping and permaculture. Learn more about the imperatives of the place petal and how we engage with them below.

Limits to Growth

The Green Bastards Food Hub is located on an existing grey-field site, with the new construction sitting on the footprint of a prior building. By developing in the city and increasing the FAR by developing a mixed use project, we are helping increase density of the downtown area. We use xeriscaping along with a handful of trees to provide shading and integrate with the urban plantings of the city and region. No petrochemicals nor fertilizers are needed to develop or maintain the landscaping.

Urban Agriculture

Urban agriculture is one of the principle functions of the food hub. Not only are we producing 27 acres of leafy greens on the GB site, but we actively promote urban agriculture within the community. We currently grow on two floors of the building utilizing hydroponic indoor growing. The GB site also includes space for six freight farms, which have been built into the landscape plan for the event garden. Additionally, we have partnered with local permaculture gurus to provide in-bed growing space on the roof of the building.

Habitat Exchange

In compliance with ILFI’s habitat exchange guidance, we have reserved exactly .46 hectares of land via the Institute’s Living Future Habitat Exchange Program. This is based upon a minimum required offset amount of .4 hectares. At 45,340 square feet of development we are slightly above the minimum 1:1 offset.

Car Free Living

The GB food hub has significantly increased the density of south downtown Las Vegas. In addition to this, we have also advanced the community towards achieving a more walkable location. The cantilever of the second level provides shade to 1st Street and Coolidge Avenue. In compliance with Las Vegas form based code we have added plantings and bike racks to the sidewalk. We have also increased sidewalk width to no less than ten feet on all sides the site.

In terms of mobility, the GB food hub promotes human powered transportation by limiting on-site parking to only twelve spots. The parking area has been covered with solar integrated shading structures and also contains four vehicle charging stations. Storage for thirty bicycles is also provided under the parking lot shade structures. Transit subsidies of $20 per month are provided to employees that choose to utilize the public transit system. The hub also provides employee showers in the basement of the building and offers a one-time $100 grant to each employee seeking to purchase a new bicycle.


The Green Bastards food hub has an integrated water use and processing system that is intended to address all water demands with the collection of rain water and integrating with on-site ground water resources allowing it to act separately from the municipality-managed sewage and water supply.

The facility starts by analyzing the natural and existing hydrological conditions in the area, which in the L5 Urban center transect within the heavily controlled and restricted Colorado River Basin makes for a very difficult puzzle to engage with. In the spirit of establishing a closed loop within the desert, we start with an initial purchase of 40,000 gallons to fill the system with, then address the daily need of about 400 new gallons per day (the rest of the daily water use for the growing and hospitality as well as domestic and process water comes from the closed loop system's processed water).


I05-3 Water Supply and Use Table


The Green Bastards food hub is a net-positive project that combines the efficient power of the sun with reduced power demand, freeing the project from the electrical utility. From the collection of energy in standard PV and building integrated PV forms to the storage in the 3 MW battery array, the project addresses the maximum demands while promising resiliency for the future and the unknown.

I06-5 Spreadsheet Link

Health & Happiness

The health and happiness petal focuses on how the interior and exterior spaces of the Green Bastards Food Hub is a great environment to work in. From the material finishes to the cleaning products, everything was carefully chosen to ensure occupant safety. The GB Food Hub also seeks to connect its visitors to nature and community resiliency through several food production initiatives. Below is how we address each individual imperatives.

Civilized Environment

In accordance with the spirit of how flexible the GB Food Hub is, the occupants are able to manipulate their space based on their specific needs and desires. Most of the windows are operable and the integrated photovoltaic louvers optimize the daylight entering the building. The event areas on the top floor and roof provide excellent views of the 18b Arts District, Historic Fremont Street and the Las Vegas Strip.

Biophilic Design at the GB Food Hub

Healthy Interior Environment

Using a building wide stacked ventilation system the GB Food Hub is able to exhaust air from the top and bring in fresh air from the bottom. A series of sensors are placed throughout the building to ensure good air quality and, like most buildings in Las Vegas, smoking is prohibited.

Biophilic Environment

The team spent an entire day exploring multiple biophilic possibilities. The GB Food Hub does a great job bridging the gap between the built and natural environment. Not only does it have the optimized daylight features, described above, the growing areas give a sense of a new urban forest. Occupants have the ability to view the agriculture production from various levels, while the permaculture garden on the roof highlight how to truly grow in the ground in the desert.


Biophilic Design at the GB Food Hub


The Material Petal is about a conscientious and scrupulous way of constructing buildings. With standards on material qualities, carbon footprint, responsible industries and economy sources this petal leads the way in a comprehensive and holistic approach in making architecture. Towards an architecture that goes beyond a building as an image but a building that serves its community by diligently employing local sources.

Red List

In order to build for today and the future we need to be critical of the actual process of how our materials are made of and what they contain. A first process in the choice of assembling the Green Bastards Food Hub it was avoiding all materials and chemicals that are considered dangerous to humans and therefore to nature. The Green Bastards Food Hub is built with natural materials; no red list ingredients can be found into the building.

Materials Tracking Table

Embodied Carbon Footprint

Any construction is an action and as most human actions it provokes the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. By carefully looking at the building process for the Green Bastards Food Hub, the use of recycled materials has been maximized and the choices towards materials that into a time frame perspective are carbon effective was critical.

Responsible Industry

All the industries employed into the production of the Green Bastards Food Hub are leader in their own field. Sharing the Green Bastards approach of a coherent, environmentally friendly and graceful architecture. Nonetheless, the carbon dioxide caused from the construction will be amortized by new trees planting.

Living Economy Sourcing

A building that serves its community does not do it only after its construction but it starts to do it at the very early moments, when it is being built. The Green Bastards Food Hub employed for more than half local industries and uses local materials, in order to move and push the economy further.

Net Positive Waste

The use of recycled materials is a practice mostly forgotten by the normal economy of construction. By reusing materials, we reduce waste from the demolition of the already present structure. The construction techniques are the most efficient possible and the waste is very limited. Any waste caused from the construction will be then redirect to the Las Vegas Recycling Center.


The equity petal intents to break down barriers and create an all-inclusive community. Not only is the GB Food Hub participating in these programs, but the design team, contractors and material suppliers are encouraged to partake as well. The building itself is helping foster these environments by moving away from the vehicle scale and focusing more on the human scale. For more information on how this petal’s imperatives were achieved please read below.

Human Scale + Humane Places

One way to eliminate the automobile centric nature of Las Vegas is to make it difficult to park a car. The GB Food Hub has on-site parking only for visiting farmers and the company owned electric vehicles. Visitors can park on the street or in a garage a few blocks away.

Humane Places Plan

Universal Access to Nature & Place

Being located in the heart of the 18b Arts District allows GB Food Hub guests to experience the local arts scene more frequently, as opposed to only visiting during First Friday. Due to this increase in foot traffic, the building provides ample amounts of shade from the harsh desert sun, without blocking the daylighting efforts of the surrounding businesses. For more on daylighting and fresh air intake please see the Health & Happiness petal.

Access and Lighting

Equitable Investment

Even though the GB Food Hub is a major community driver, it is still important to give back to those less fortunate. The organizers have donated $400k to the ILFI’s Living Equity Exchange Program, which directly funds renewable infrastructure for charitable enterprises.

JUST Organizations

Not only is the GB Food Hub a transparent organization, but all of the parties involved in the design and construction have opened themselves up to society. All of the architecture and engineering firms, as well as the contractors and material suppliers have participated in the JUST program. This is a way of informing the public about a company’s diversity, equity, safety, benefits and stewardship initiatives.


The Green Bastards live and promote a beautiful place for food.