ILFI Living Building Challenge "Red List" FAQs

ILFI, the International Living Future Institute, is an environmental NGO (non-governmental organization) based in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. For more information, see

The ILFI's Living Building Challenge is "a green building certification program and sustainable design framework that visualizes the ideal for the built environment." For more information, see

Q: What is the Red List?
A: The RED List contains twenty-two classes of chemicals prevalent in the building industry, which ILFI has designated as worst-in-class. These chemicals include chlorinated polymers (such as PVC), antimicrobial agents, BPA (bisphenol A), and asbestos.

For more information, see

Q: Are the substances on the Red List toxic?
A: Some of the substances may be considered toxic. In general, the RED List identifies substances that are:

  • Polluting the environment
  • Bio-accumulating up the food chain until they reach toxic concentrations
  • Harming construction or factory workers

Q: What if my product contains a substance included on the Red List?
A: If any of the RED List substances are contained in the product, you are not allowed to declare the product as Living Building Challenge (LBC), Living Product Challenge (LPC), or Living Community (LCC) compliant.

Q: Is there a threshold or possible exemption to claim?
A: The threshold for the list is set to 0, meaning any substances on the list, regardless of amount, must be declared. However, there are temporary exceptions for numerous Red List items due to current limitations in the materials economy.

Q: Why is it necessary to report this information back to my client?
A: The RED List is not a part of any government regulation or standard. However, construction industry customers may require products that help “environmentally green” finished office buildings and homes gain accreditation, such as LEED Certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Vetting parts & materials against the RED List, using supplier declarations, is the foundation for calculating conformity with this and other NGO standards.

For more information, see

Q: How do I prepare a declaration for the Red List? Are there specific acceptance criteria?
A: The same Declaration of Compliance (DOC) requirements as for EU RoHS or EU REACH also apply to the RED List.

Q: How do I declare for the Red List in Assent's portal?
A: The ILFI Red List module on Assent's portal should be used to declare any listed substances present in a supplier's products. The substances list in the module corresponds to the RED List of substances defined by ILFI.

Q: Do Red List declarations have an expiration date?
A: Declarations don’t have a specific expiration date, but when the RED list is updated any existing declarations may become invalid.

Q: How frequently are new substances added to the Red List?
A: The RED List is updated annually, usually in May.

Q: How is the initiative enforced?
 International Living Future Institute (ILFI) is in charge of the Living Challenges, and provides certification for companies to declare their buildings, products, or community to be compliant.

Q: Am I obliged to comply with this request, even though it is not a legally enforced requirement? 
A: No, you are not legally required to comply. If your customers request that you comply, however, compliance may become necessary from a business standpoint.

This content is current as of 2019-09-15.

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