Last week, Green Building Alliance welcomed three young Russian professionals to Pittsburgh as part of our peer-to-peer green building dialogue. This is GBA’s third year participating in the program and a small cohort of our staff will head to Russia in May to continue the exchange. Here, we introduce you to our new friends and show you what they’ve done so far while in Pittsburgh:
GBA launched a call for applications through our colleagues at the Russian Green Building Council several months ago, offering some young professionals there an opportunity to visit Pittsburgh and learn about our green building experiences. From an impressive pool of candidates, we selected Veronika Kozlova, Ekaterina (Katia) Meltcova, and Alexandra Lipina.
Veronika’s background is in engineering and sustainability science. She is a LEED and environmental impact consultant in Moscow who took Janel Everly’s LEED Green Associate exam prep course during GBA’s visit to that city last year. She received that credential and plans to take the LEED Accredited Professional exam soon.
Katia lives in Perm and has completed her master’s degree in city planning. With a focus on landscape architecture, she’s worked with the city of Perm as a town and spacial planner. Her projects include preserving urban forests in the city and reconstructing the embankment of Perm’s Kama River. Alex is currently working toward a recycling-focused master’s degree in Moscow. Her main interest is in waste containing sulfur and how that sulfur might be recycled into building construction projects. Alex also enjoys studying the connections between economics and high-performance building.
GBA’s Michael Sobkowiak has kept our guests very busy, ensuring that they get the most out of their experience here. Check out what they have done so far:
- Attended a GBA staff meeting
- Attended the Pittsburgh 2030 District Partner Meeting at Oakland’s Wyndham Hotel
- Toured Downtown’s green buildings by bicycle
- Explored Pittsburgh’s Earth Day activities and heard Aurora Sharrard speak at the Celebrating Sustainability Business Breakfast
- Witnessed their first baseball game at PNC Park (the coldest game in the history of the world!)
- Toured Chatham University’s new Eden Hall Campus (thanks, Kelly Henderson!)
- Helped GBA and friends celebrate the newly LEED Gold-certified 11 Stanwix building
- Joined community members at CCI Center’s renaming ceremony (now officially the Anne Jones Gerace Center)
- Spent a weekend touring Washington, D.C. with GBA’s Michael Sobkowiak and Bradd Celidonia
Next up, they’ll volunteer with some GBA members and staff on Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh’s WomenBuild (HFHGP is working to integrate sustainability into its construction practices), tour Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, take both a wind farm and solar home tour, visit Fallingwater, celebrate GBA’s Pittsburgh 2030 District Progress Report announcement, tour the Neville Island recycling plant, join GBA staffers at a Chatham University student design review, and more!
Following their trip, Veronika, Katia, and Alex will share their experiences with others in their hometowns of Moscow and Perm. They’ll develop presentations and blogs about what they learned and showcase how they could potentially adapt Pittsburgh’s examples into their own work. Some GBA staff members will catch up with Katia in Perm next month where she’ll be our tour guide as we attend several meetings and presentations in that city.
If you see “our girls” at any GBA events this week, be sure to say hello (or should I say, “Здравствуйте”)!