How does Western Pennsylvania measure up against other regions in terms of green building? Any building can be a green building, but one way to provide a framework for best practices, keep project teams accountable, and measure performance is through green building certifications.
After the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched its LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) green building rating system in 1998, three of the first 13 buildings to receive LEED certification were in Greater Pittsburgh. Since then, the city has consistently ranked high for its number of LEED and other certified green buildings, coming in at 19th in LEED buildings per capita.
Here’s where Western Pennsylvania stands (as of December 2017):
- 358 LEED certified projects in Western Pennsylvania, totaling more than 37.45 million square feet
- 492 buildings committed to Pittsburgh 2030 District goals of 50% reductions in energy, water, and transportation emissions by 2030, totaling 79.2 million square feet (the largest of 18 international 2030 Districts)
- 6 AIA COTE Top 10 Award Winners
- 3 Passive House certified structures (5 pre-certified)
- 1 Sustainable Sites certified building (of only 50 nationally)
- 1 WELL certified building (of only 51 internationally)
- 1 Certified Living Building (of only 15 full Living Buildings nationally)
- 1 Energy Petal Certified building
Western Pennsylvania also boasts 6,284 certified ENERGY STAR Homes in Pittsburgh and a whopping 22,852 in Pennsylvania! Additionally, 255 buildings in Western Pennsylvania (35.5 million square feet) have been certified under ENERGY STAR for Buildings (which applies to commercial construction, existing buildings, small business, and industrial plants). (Last updated December 2017.)
In addition, buildings with Passive House, WELL Building, Living Building Challenge, and Green Globes certifications are all represented regionally. One of the most ground-breaking projects Western PA claims is the Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which is one of the most decorated green buildings in the world, boasting 4 certifications: LEED Platinum, Living Building certification, Sustainable Sites (4 stars), and WELL Building certification.
Did you know? Pittsburgh is home to many green firsts, including:
- First LEED Food Bank – Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank
- First LEED Financial Institution – PNC Firstside Center
- First LEED Convention Center – David L. Lawrence Convention Center, now DOUBLE LEED certified!
- First LEED University Dormitory – Carnegie Mellon University Stever House
- First LEED Public Arts Facility – Pittsburgh Glass Center
- First LEED Welcome Center in a Public Garden – Phipps Conservatory Welcome Center
- First LEED Smithsonian Property – Senator John Heinz History Center
- First LEED Radio Station – WYEP Radio Station
- First LEED University Dance Studio – Point Park University Dance Complex
We’re excited about and dedicated to supporting the building owners, operators, project teams, and developers involved in many types of green building projects. Together, we can ensure that Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania continue to shine as as a green building leader!