The Sustainability Leadership Lab

Continuing a Legacy of Green Building Leadership

Shift mindsets, foster collaboration, cultivate leadership, and drive change in the built environment community.

Green Building Alliance is catalyzing our region’s next generation of sustainability leaders through an intensive professional development cohort. Architects, engineers, contractors, developers, product manufacturers, building owners, and community leaders will learn to advocate for healthy and high performing places, while leveraging their collective skills to solve the region’s most pressing challenges. From building performance decision-making analysis to communications training to social equity investigations, participants will learn to translate a passion for sustainability into practice. Through this Lab, our goal is to drive change in the built environment community toward justice, compassion, and environmental well-being. 

The Lab will provide deep, immersive learning by combining lectures, experiences and activities. Participants will be exposed to both theory and practice, while gaining access to local projects  and people that offer real-life examples of topics covered. We will launch with a retreat, and then continue with intensive monthly workshops. Workshops will include lectures by local expertsbuilding tours, and solo and group activities.


  • Align Your Goals and Values: Refine your personal and professional goals, clarify your purpose, and align your daily work with your guiding values. 
  • Amplify your Voice: Articulate your perspective with confidence and practice challenging the status quo. You’ll learn how to engage project and company leadership.
  • Share Your Talents: Apply your skills, knowledge, and background to the questions explored in the cohort. Learn from your fellow participants and offer your own ideas to the conversation. 
  • Build your Network: Create a strong community of change makers across sectors through deepened personal and professional relationships. They may become your mentors, partners, and even future colleagues. 
  • Analyze the System: Learn to evaluate environmental impact on a variety of scales, identify connections and leverage points, and evaluate both quantitative and qualitative benefits of sustainability. 


  • “This was the first professional experience where I could personally relate to the people around me who had similar goals and vision for the future – I didn’t know that existed and I feel lucky to have been able to work and think through big ideas with this group of change agents!” 
  • “Other learning programs combine multiple schools of thought to ‘create’ community. With Sustainability Leadership Lab, there is already a basis for community, so all that needs done is building stronger, more meaningful connections that will follow throughout our careers.” 
  • “Gaining insight through different personal and professional lenses gave me a new perspective on approaching new projects.” 
  • “Learning more about the dynamic communities and projects happening in Pittsburgh and meeting such dedicated and giving leaders was so valuable!” 

Given the multidisciplinary nature of the built environment, the program will balance representation from diverse sectors, positions, and backgrounds. Firms and corporations already committed to sustainability are encouraged to use this Lab to train the next generation of their staff, while organizations with developing interest should nominate a lead advocate to participate. We encourage everyone to apply, from independent consultants to large corporations, from emerging to more seasoned professionals. 

October 24-25: Opening Retreat – (Tentative Location: Gateway Lodge) 
November 22: Workshop (if a majority of participants will be attending Greenbuild during this week, we can shift the date as needed) 
December 13: Workshop 
January 10: Workshop 
February 7: Workshop 
March 13: Workshop 
April 17: Workshop 
May 15: Workshop / Graduation

Participants who are accepted into the program must be available for the opening retreat and each workshop that is scheduled. Any major conflicts with the schedule can be discussed during the application process. Everyone is expected to actively participate in each workshop, and we request that employers support employee participation in this program by providing time for them to truly engage. Participants will work on a long-term project together. Some project time will be provided during workshop days, but it may also be necessary for groups to meet for additional project time. 

The Participation Fee is $2,500 but we offer a sliding scale in an effort to make this program accessible to everyone. This covers all 7 full-day workshops and the retreat, including meals. Payment plans can be made available as needed. Participants will also receive one complementary GBA event per month during their time in the program, and a $200 credit towards one of the following trainings (as available):

  • LEED Green Associate Exam Prep Course
  • Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant Training
  • Certified Passive House Tradesperson Training
  • GPRO Operations & Maintenance Training

Applications will be accepted and reviewed through September 27 and applicants will be notified of their acceptance into the program by October 11. Any applicant should prepare to be available for the opening retreat on October 24-25.  

If you are interested in participating in the Sustainability Leadership Lab, please complete an application below.