Pittsburgh’s transformation from industrial to sustainable propels surge in green innovation and collaboration across sectors

Newly launched PittsburghGreenStory.com provides latest news on sustainable redevelopment, technological innovation, brownfield reclamation, energy transitions, and more.

(PITTSBURGH) February 27, 2017 — Pittsburgh’s ongoing physical, economic, and environmental transformation has propelled a surge in sustainable development, green innovation, and collaboration across multiple sectors – from municipal government, private business, nonprofit agencies, and university-based initiatives to major infrastructure projects, technology manufacturing, and equitable development.  To capture the region’s collective efforts in sustainability, Green Building Alliance and its partners announce the launch of PittsburghGreenStory.com, a new resource for finding the latest news, data, stories, people, and places driving Pittsburgh’s ongoing green evolution.

“PittsburghGreenStory.com will provide a regular feed of new and emerging story leads and background for reporters and others interested in learning more about the opportunities, achievements, and challenges facing Pittsburgh as it strives towards true sustainability,” says Dr. Aurora Sharrard, executive director of Green Building Alliance. “Pittsburgh’s legacy is as a manufacturing powerhouse – its success driven by the hard work and innovation of early industrialists, entrepreneurs and workers.  Today, that same spirit continues to energize the remaking of a city, its riverfronts, neighborhoods, and economy.  It is these deep and broad stories we are looking to share through PittsburghGreenStory.com.”

Current story leads headlining PittsburghGreenStory.com include:

  • Growing a net zero, living building in the heart of the city.  One of Pittsburgh’s largest city parks now serves as a hub for immersive environmental education for Pittsburgh city school children and as a gathering place for community programs. The new Frick Environmental Center has been built to meet the rigorous standards of both LEED Platinum and the Living Building Challenge.  When certified, will become the world’s first municipally owned, free and open to the public, Living Building.
  • Abandoned coal mine cleanup at 460-acre Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. Coal mine cleanup efforts on 66 acres of land occupied by Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. Is funded by $716,000 in federal funds. Part of the 460 acres comprising the Garden, the land was deep mined through the 1920s and surfaced mined through the 1940s.  Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is working to achieve a radical transformation of the land involving expanded use of a passive water treatment system to remove acid mine drainage; the removal of dangerous highwalls; filling subsidence holes and vertical mine shafts; removal of coal refuse piles; and installation of a sludge control system.
  • Transforming discarded plastic bottles from the streets of Haiti and Honduras into the most responsibly made fabric on the planet.  Since 2012, Pittsburgh-based fabric manufacturer Thread has moved more than 1 million pounds of waste from Haiti and Honduras and provided dignified jobs supporting more than 6,000 income opportunities for their residents.  Thread is committed to a carefully monitored, transparent fabric supply chain, from Ground to GoodTM;  fabric is made in the United States with up to 50 percent recycled PET from plastic.  Beyond income, employees benefit from job training, process improvements, and micro-loan programs.
  • Construction of petrochemical ethane cracker plant, Pittsburgh region’s largest industrial project in three decadesShell Chemical Appalachia has received approval to build the nation’s newest petrochemical ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, near Pittsburgh.  Located on a former zinc smelter site, the new facility will be the largest scale industrial project to be constructed in the tristate region in at least three decades, with expected job growth and an estimated $6 billion in economic development.  Local citizens, environmental groups, and others have opposed the cracker plant, citing concerns over its impact on local communities, air quality, and water quality.
  • Sustainable redevelopment of Pittsburgh’s last brownfield site.  Foundation, civic, and community leaders are collaborating in the redevelopment of the 178-acre “Almono” urban riverfront brownfield formerly occupied by LTV Steel in Hazelwood, a Pittsburgh neighborhood that employed nearly 13,000 people at the height of the steel industry.  The Almono master plan calls for a mixed use development  comprising a blend of housing, offices, research and development, light manufacturing, retail, parks, trails and transportation, and employing a host of sustainable standards and infrastructure.

Log on to pittsburghgreenstory.com for more on these and other emerging stories, as well as connections to Pittsburgh’s green instigators, expert sources, and video and photography assets. Story leads will be updated regularly.

Pittsburgh Green Story is a collaborative and growing partnership of organizations who are champions of Pittsburgh’s legacy, present day, and future green story; it is operating as a project of Green Building Alliance and is funded by the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Contact:

Laura Ellis, 412.952.7844 / lellis@veritaspr.com

Bob Butter, 412.736.6186 / bbutter@veritaspr.com

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