International Centre of Excellence on High Performance Building

As of September 12th 2019, Green Building Alliance (GBA) has signed an official agreement launching Greater Pittsburgh’s International Centre of Excellence on High Performance Building.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, GBA Executive Director Jenna Cramer, UNECE Director of Sustainable Energy Division Scott Foster, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald

Formalizing GBA’s quarter century of leadership in building innovation and design, Pittsburgh will join New York City’s Building Energy Exchange in a global network of sustainability experts. The other inaugural Centres include Vancouver and Ireland, with other Centres in development across eastern and central Europe and the globe.  As part of UNECE’s high performance building initiative, the Centres will distill best practices in design, construction, training, and policy into scalable solutions, catalyzing economies based on human health and equitable opportunity.

How will GBA grow the Greater Pittsburgh’s International Centre of Excellence?

  • Focus on best practices for product manufacturing operations with regards to green buildings (GBA used to have a program, the Green Building Products Initiative, funded by the Department of Community and Economic Development for $2M+ in addition to local funders, including the Richard King Mellon Foundation, to support product manufacturers)
  • Use building performance data software to help establish baselines and performance with regards to energy, water, indoor air quality (IAQ), etc. 
  • Advance research, practice, and policies that support the Centre goals
  • Provide education and training to design, construction, and trades professionals
  • Support outreach and sharing best practices/education through the networks of Centres of Excellence
  • Inspire and create demonstration projects to accelerate adoption of the next generation of buildings and practices

Read more about how your organization can get involved. 

About the Greater Pittsburgh Centre of Excellence on High Performance Building

UNECE and Pittsburgh’s Green Building Alliance (GBA) signed an agreement launching the Greater Pittsburgh’s International Centre of Excellence on High Performance Building. Pittsburgh joins New York City’s Building Energy Exchange as the second Centre of Excellence in a global network of sustainability experts tasked with disseminating and deploying UNECE’s Framework Guidelines for Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings. As part of UNECE’s high performance building initiative, the Centres will distill best practices in design, construction, training, and policy into scalable solutions, catalyzing economies based on human health and equitable opportunity.

Centres create tangible solutions to the challenges in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals, which include sustainable community development, inclusive economic growth, affordable and clean energy, resilient infrastructure, and responsible manufacturing.  Buildings consume over 70% of the electrical power generated and are responsible for 40% of CO2 emissions and 40% of primary energy and are responsible for 39% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

GBA Executive Director Jenna Cramer, UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova, City of Pittsburgh Chief Equity Officer & Deputy Chief of Staff Majestic Lane

The designation recognizes Pittsburgh’s leadership, achievements in and commitment to sustainability. The city is home to the largest 2030 District in the world, with more than 750 buildings (92.2 million square feet) committed to 50% reduction in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions by the year 2030, while improving indoor air quality (IAQ). The City of Pittsburgh has committed to achieving 100% renewable energy and has established its own Climate Action Plan, in addition to widespread commitments among non-profits and businesses to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Regionally, Western Pennsylvania is a leader in building innovation and sustainable construction, including Phipps Conservatory Center for Sustainable Landscapes and the Frick Environmental Center, both of which have achieved multiple building certifications including LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge (LBC) Certification.

The Greater Pittsburgh Centre of Excellence is a public private partnership.  Leading regional partners include:  Allegheny County, City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny Conference on Community Development, PA Department of conservation and Natural Resources, PJ Dick, Fourth Economy, Duquesne Light, Covestro, Partner4Work, Innovation Works, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, nonprofits, and professionals.  We look forward to growing this partnership to include additional developers, business leaders, and policymakers. The Centre’s programs will:

  • Train architects, engineers, planners, contractors, and tradespeople in international best practices for sustainable construction, design, and deep energy reduction
  • Provide direct expertise to projects implementing new technologies or building methods, in addition to creating demonstration projects for early stage products and financing models
  • Collaborate with local universities and companies to develop innovative building policies, products, technologies, and finance mechanisms
  • Advocate for changes in local and state policy, including building codes, zoning incentives, energy regulation, and climate and resilience strategies
  • Partner to create an economic development strategy based on clean energy and a healthy, resilient built environment

“We have the unparalleled opportunity to champion cutting-edge innovation while transitioning our workforce to create a healthier future.”

— Jenna Cramer, Green Building Alliance Executive Director

GBA at the UN