Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: Center for Sustainable Landscapes

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: Center for Sustainable Landscapes

Project Information

USGBC Project ID: 10329390


1 Schenley Dr.

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Project Details

Building Size (sq. ft.): 21,892

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes is an education, research and administration complex. It is slated to be a net zero energy and net zero water building that generates all of its own energy with renewable resources, plus captures and treats all of its water on site. The facility is a model to inspire visitors to live in harmony with nature.


Funding for the Center and its site came from local and national foundations as well as Phipps donors. The $23.5 million total includes $4 million for a reasearch endowment and $3.5 million for landscape site work and educational projects.

In the News

LEED Green Building Features

Sustainable Sites

The site is designed with native plants for year round garden interest. A permeable asphalt, unit and stone paving will allow water runoff to be absorbed back into the ground. The paving also allows water harvest. A green roof reduces heat island effect

Water Efficiency

Rain gardens and bioswales capture stormwater to allow natural infiltration. An ultraviolet process disinfects water to graywater standards. Sand filtration provides additional treatment of wetland effluent. The wetland greatly reduces impact on municipal sewage treatment and energy- intensive potable water systems. A lagoon system captures stormwater runoff. Rain is stored in two 1,700 gallon underground cisterns. The rainwater used for toilet flushing and interior irrigation. In addition, ultralow flow plumbing fixtures will be used for interior facilities.

Energy & Atmosphere

A green roof insulates the building to reduce HVAC cooling in summer and heating in winter. Occupancy sensors turn off lights in unoccupied rooms. The design calls for a 100% passive cooled buildings. A robust thermal massing in walls, ceilings, and floors will help insulate the building's envelope. Possible installation of radiant floor heat provided by Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water system that collect heat from the sun to heat water and atrium can help reduce heating costs. The upper campus serves as a 'heat bank'. A renewale energy system generates electricity from wind. Solar photovoltaics and solar hot water collectors will use the sun's energy to produce energy for the building. Geothermal HVAC systems use the grounds constant temperatures to heat and cool the space. A glass atrium will act as a thermal buffer for the facility.

Materials & Resources

All construction waste will be diverted from landfills through efficient site design, recycling and reuse. Locally produced, low VOC and formaldehyde toxicity, high recycled content, and highly durable with long service lives and ease-of-maintance materials are the qualifications that must be in a product used within the project. Wood salvaged from deconstructed Western Pennsylvania barns for exterior building skin will be installed.

Indoor Environmental Quality

Extensive daylighting eliminates the need for lighting at times. Light shelves and an interior daylight celing 'cloud' maximize the depth of daylight penetration into the space. Highly reflective values spread light throughout the space. Possible use of Silatube skylights will emit more light. High prerformance T-5 fluorescent lighting equipped with daylighting sensors, controls, and dimming ballasts will be used. A DCV system will be installed. Natural ventilation and natural airflow from window locations will improve air quality.


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