GBA’s 2018-20 Strategic Plan

We hope that you will take a moment to review our 2018-2020 Strategic Plan, either in full or as an executive snapshot. In over 25 years of operation, GBA’s initiatives have evolved, but our underlying approach to change remains constant.  With each venture we undertake, we empower, connect, share, and advance innovation in the built environment, ensuring that every building and every community is sustainable.

We spent a year honing our mission — and are excited to share our 2018-20 blueprint for the future.  GBA’s 2018-2020 Strategic Plan is a direct result of thoughtful contributions by our members, strategic partners, Board of Directors, and incredible network of stakeholders and community champions. Some of the exciting changes on our horizon are highlighted below.


GBA effects change by working at different scales of the built environment. People remain our primary lever of action, but our interventions range from individual products and materials to whole buildings and citywide systems. Each level of operation provides an opportunity for improvement, and we accelerate impact by increasing the scope of our engagement.


  • Every green building professional has a current, relevant credential that supports a culture of lifelong learning.
  • Citizens enjoy workplaces, schools, and communities that are sustainable, equitable, and resilient.


  • Existing buildings meet or exceed the 2030 Challenge goals to reduce energy use, water use, and transportation emissions by 50%.  All buildings are carbon neutral by 2050.
  • Every preK-12 school is a certified green, healthy school.


  • Every new building and major retrofit is certified to LEED Silver, WELL Silver, Passive House, zero net energy, Living Building, or better.
  • All new buildings are carbon neutral by 2030 and meet the 2030 Challenge goals of 50% reductions in water use and transportation emissions.


  • Every new development is certified LEED-ND Silver, WELL Community Silver, Living Community Challenge, or better; existing neighborhoods are empowered as ecodistricts.
  • Western Pennsylvania is a manufacturing and technology hub that regenerates communities, the environment, and the economy.


Drive innovation and demand in green building markets

  • Provide a range of educational experiences varying by topic, expertise, and learning style
  • Specialize in trainings across certifications and credentials, including LEED, GPRO, Passive House, and Living Future
  • Educate stakeholders on established and emerging issues for healthy indoor environments and communities

Nurture a community of sustainability professionals to share best practices and intensify impact

  • Uphold integrative peer-to-peer and cohort learning strategies for owners, service providers, nonprofits, and K-12 schools
  • Launch a Change Agent Cohort of professionals committed to more sustainable built environments
  • Systematize Emerging Professionals group to foster the next generation of green building leaders

Support sustainability planning and evaluation to galvanize transformative impact

  • Strengthen technical support provided to project teams, developers, funders, and municipalities
  • Continue project reviews for the City of Pittsburgh, Urban Redevelopment Authority, and Uptown EcoInnovation District
  • Provide owner advisement to projects of varying scales, with sustained support for Hazelwood Green

Advocate for sustainability at all scales of the built environment

  • Update and incentivize city green building legislation and beyond code building application
  • Champion Erie Resiliency Plan and Community Resilience Action Network Erie (CRANE) green roadmap
  • Collaborate on sensible statewide green building, energy and water efficiency, and financing policies
  • Partner to create healthy products purchasing guide and commitment

Catalyze sustainable innovations from initial investment to widespread adoption

  • Drive creative funding models, including PennSEF, energy efficiency capacity credits, PACE, and impact investing
  • Investigate transformative project financing that catalyzes sector-shifting change across schools, communities, and cities
  • Identify market gaps for innovators and first adopters in regenerative technologies

Increase access to international best practices in green building

  • Reinvigorate technical inquiry library with “Ask Olive” online advice forum
  • Convene Health Learning Circle to develop regional implementation of healthy building and maintenance practices

Strengthen membership engagement strategies to promote cross-sector collaboration

  • Grow GBA membership across Western Pennsylvania, including Advocate and Lifetime membership levels
  • Honor GBA member contributions with dedicated member-only events and opportunities

Leverage GBA’s network of strategic partnerships

  • Maintain USGBC chapter status, 2030 District Network leadership status, and Green Schools National Network engagement
  • Support City of Pittsburgh in benchmarking implementation, expansion, and analysis through training delivery and data support
  • Partner with Pittsburgh Living Product Hub to advance green manufacturing in the region

Provide accurate and accessible information on green buildings and communities

  • Publish weekly national newsletter that pairs regional events with leading international stories
  • Transform website to reflect GBA’s mission, vision, and strategic initiatives; integrate all websites
  • Catalog and analyze regional green and ultra-efficient building performance across certification approaches

Communicate Pittsburgh’s sustainable transformation on the local, national, and global stage

  • Create suite of presentation tools for regional GBA Speakers Bureau
  • Expand depth and breadth of Pittsburgh’s green story through national media placements and coverage


Fulfill 2030 Challenge’s interim goal of 20% reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions

  • Release Indoor Air Quality Protocol for baseline creation and annual reporting
  • Recruit, engage, and support buildings smaller than 100,000 square feet
  • Create Oakland transportation baseline and conduct Make My Trip Count 2.0

Strengthen data analytics and contextualization to drive performance-based decisions

  • Collaborate with utilities to streamline consumption data quality and reporting
  • Implement software tools for enhanced visualization, benchmarking, and analysis of District wide and individual property progress

Expand 2030 Challenge participation region-wide

  • Expand boundary to Uptown EcoInnovation District and other strategic areas
  • Advance exploratory Erie 2030 District toward Emerging District status
  • Create 2030 Affiliate Property standing for any building that pursues and annually reports toward 2030 Challenge goals


Build culture of sustainability in K-12 education and administration

  • Complete third cohort of School Sustainability Culture Program
  • Benchmark six years of School Sustainability Culture Program
  • Explore model for Sustainability Culture Program at district and national scales

Amplify green and healthy school operations and construction

  • Scale green and healthy schools workshops throughout Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, re-engaging committed participants and reaching new audiences
  • Develop national school facility operations credential
  • Advance healthy school practices through trainings, walkthroughs, and mini-grants


Explore community-scale engagement to expand environmental, economic, and equitable impacts

  • Partner with place-based stakeholders to identify best GBA leverage points
  • Partner with emerging Pittsburgh Ecodistricts Collaborative
  • Create Community Sustainability Leadership cohort to provide education and technical assistance to neighborhoods and regional communities