City of Pittsburgh

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p4 Measures Compared to Green Building & Sustainable Development Certifications

At this point, almost everyone in the building world is familiar (if not intimate) with LEED, with emerging awareness of the Living Building Challenge, WELL Building Standard, and Passiv House.  BUT,  in Pittsburgh, there is a new framework in town, developed right here. You’ve heard “p4” tossed about as the next frontier of sustainable, urban […]

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“City-Wide Green First Plan” Released for Public Comment

On December 2, 2016, the City of Pittsburgh & Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) released their “City-Wide Green First Plan” for public comment.  Those two entities, along with four consulting teams, worked to create both an innovative and cost-effective plan that would meet the Consent Decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to […]

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Pittsburgh’s Water, Rivers, and the Smart City Challenge

The Pittsburgh 2030 District June Partner Meeting took Partners on a stroll through the lush exhibits of Phipps Conservatory and onto the green roof of the Center for Sustainable Landscapes. Nearly 60 Partners gathered to hear about the hopeful solutions, and challenges, to sustainable development at Phipps, along Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, and throughout the city’s transportation […]

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City of Pittsburgh’s Role in a Sustainable and Resilient Economy: The Inside Scoop

The City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Innovation and Performance aims to transform Pittsburgh into a world-class city through the intersection of technology, sustainability, and performance. Grant Ervin, the City’s Chief Resilience Officer, leads the Department and we had the opportunity to pick his brain. How do these three approaches work together? They are mutually supportive. […]

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Pittsburgh 2030 District wins Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence

Since 2012, we at Green Building Alliance (GBA) have been quietly – and sometimes vocally – supporting building owners and facility managers in both Downtown and Oakland as they pursue aggressive energy, water, and transportation reduction goals. Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced that our efforts are being recognized throughout the Commonwealth with the Governor’s […]

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Breakfast Briefing: Pittsburgh as a Resilient City

Can Pittsburgh create a new paradigm of urban systems management through the lens of resiliency? Come hear from Grant Ervin, the City of Pittsburgh’s chief resilience officer, and Jordan Fischbach, co-director of RAND’s Water and Climate Resilience Center, for a look at how the topic of resiliency is changing city planning conversations in Pittsburgh and around the world.


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If sustainability is the ability to endure, then resiliency is the ability to strengthen and adapt. How does a city like Pittsburgh move beyond planning for sustainability and towards planning for true resiliency?

Last year, Pittsburgh was selected for the 100 Resilient Cities network, a Rockefeller Foundation program aimed at helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges they’ll face during the 21st century. Next, Mayor Bill Peduto compiled a team of staff members – led by Grant Ervin – to weave resiliency into city planning at all levels. Through their work in the city’s Office of Innovation & Performance, Grant and his team help ensure that city projects are no longer addressed in isolation, but as a system. With help from RAND – a research organization focused on developing solutions to public policy challenges – the City will soon enter its next phase of resilience planning.

Join Green Building Alliance for a breakfast briefing with the City’s Grant Ervin and RAND’s Jordan Fischbach, where we’ll learn about RAND’s forthcoming resilience assessment, the City’s future action plan, something called the “resilience dividend,” and much more!


About our Speakers:

Grant-Ervin-203x300Grant Ervin serves as the chief resilience officer for the City of Pittsburgh where he oversees the integration of sustainability and resilience into City services, programs and policy. Prior to joining the City of Pittsburgh, Grant served as the regional director for 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, a statewide smart growth and sustainable development policy organization; and as public policy manager for Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG).

Grant brings fifteen years of experience to this role, in which he works to engage stakeholders from the region’s communities, local governments, civic sector, business sector, and institutions; consult with an international platform of resilience experts; and collaborate with a global coalition of Chief Resilience Officers in cities around the world.

Jordan FischbachJordan Fischbach is a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, co-director of the Water and Climate Resilience Center, and a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. He is a leader in climate adaptation, water resources management, and coastal planning.

Fischbach has expertise in risk analysis, exploratory simulation modeling, and Robust Decision Making, a method designed to better manage deep uncertainty and develop robust and adaptive plans through quantitative scenario analysis. He works with government agencies to better incorporate deep uncertainty into their long-term climate and coastal adaptation planning efforts.



8:30 – 8:40 – Guests arrive, grab breakfast and coffee, find seats.

8:40 – 9:30 – Presentations.

9:30 – 10:00 – Q&A Session.


Learning Objectives:

1.Explore the intersection of sustainability and resiliency.

2.Discover how the topic of resilience is informing city planning initiatives in Pittsburgh and around the world.

3.Learn about the various players involved in working towards a Resilient City including researchers, city planners, and citizens.

4.Obtain perspective about Pittsburgh’s plan to become a Resilient City, including RAND’s resiliency assessment and the City’s forthcoming action plan.


This event is approved for 1.5 GBCI CEUs and 1.5 AIA HSW hours.

Partnering with USGBC and AIA, GBA makes it easy for our members to report continuing education credits.  Please provide your GBCI and/or AIA number so we can auto-report your credits (for applicable events).  Non-members can still earn continuing education credits but will need to self-report their GBCI CEUs.

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From Paris to Pittsburgh: COP21 and You

You’ve heard all about the climate talks that took place in Paris at the end of 2015. Now, get a first-hand account from someone who was there, and hear the Pittsburgh perspective.


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In December 2015, nations from around the world convened in Paris, France for the U.N. Climate Change Conference – Conference of Parties, also known as COP21. The conference was covered extensively in the press and was widely referred to as one of the biggest international steps to curb human-caused climate change in recent history. The results of the conference were swiftly summarized, dissected, and debated in press outlets around the world (find a few examples here, here, and here).

But wouldn’t you love to get an insider’s perspective on those talks, and learn about exactly how the agreements relate to our region specifically? That’s where Mark Dixon and Ari Lattanzi come in! Join GBA for a Lunch & Learn where Mark and Ari will share their unique perspectives on these ground-breaking negotiations.

About the Speakers

Mark DixonMark Dixon is a local photographer, filmmaker, and environmental activist who has been following international climate discussions for years. In July 2015, Mark formally represented the City of Pittsburgh and the Mayor’s Office at an official COP21 precursor event, the World Summit Climate & Territories in Lyon, France. Next up, Mark crowd-funded his way to Paris in December to attend the formal COP21 negotiations as an official member of the press. Mark documented his experiences here and he’ll share more detail and insight with the GBA audience at our event.


Version 2Ari Lattanzi joined the City of Pittsburgh’s Office of Sustainability as the resilience analyst following the completion of her SCA AmeriCorps Green Cities Fellowship with the office. She has conducted an extensive greenhouse gas emissions inventory for Pittsburgh community and local government sources and activities in 2013 and is working to update the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan (PCAP). Ari will offer insight as to what we can expect from PCAP 3.0, and offer some local context relating to the COP21 negotiations (find some details about the City’s plans and commitments here).


11:30 – 11:40 – Attendees grab lunch and find a seat; GBA introduction.

11:40 – 12:30 – Presentations.

12:30 – 1:00 – Q&A Session.

Learning Objectives:

1. Hear first-hand accounts from the COP21 climate negotiations, including insight from a Pittsburgher.

2.Discover what can be expected from Pittsburgh’s next version of the Climate Action Plan and hear updates on the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative.

3.Learn about how the climate negotiations may impact Pittsburgh, and discover more about our role in climate change.

4.Explore next steps in curbing climate change on a personal, regional, national, and international level.


This event is approved for 1.5 GBCI CEUs and 1.5 AIA HSW hours.

Partnering with USGBC and AIA, GBA makes it easy for our members to report continuing education credits.  Please provide your GBCI and/or AIA number so we can auto-report your credits (for applicable events).  Non-members can still earn continuing education credits but will need to self-report their GBCI CEUs.

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New York offers several examples in this series. Photo: Luca Sartoni on Flickr

Local Policy Best Practices for Healthy and High-Performing Buildings: Part 3

Throughout my series of Local Policy Best Practices for Healthy and High-Performing Buildings, we’ve looked at examples of mandatory green building criteria and expedited reviews in other municipalities. My hope is that we can adapt some similar practices right here in Pittsburgh. To drive this home, let’s take a look at direct financial incentives. PennSTAR: Implement […]

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In Chicago, green roofs, PV systems and wind turbines go through a special permit process (Photo: YoChicago)

Local Policy Best Practices for Healthy and High-Performing Buildings: Part 2

Mike here again. In this short series, I offer up several ideas for how Pittsburgh could craft policies and legislation relating to healthy and high-performing buildings. In Part 1, I explored mandatory green building criteria. Here, I want to take a look at another common method I’ve seen municipalities utilize: expedited review and other indirect […]

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2014 Progress

Pittsburgh 2030 District: 2014 Progress Report

The Pittsburgh 2030 District’s 2014 growth was in both scale and scope, presenting far greater opportunities for impact reduction. The goal of the Pittsburgh 2030 District is to reach 50% reductions in energy use, water use, and transportation emissions by the year 2030. As one of eleven established 2030 Districts in North America, Pittsburgh is also piloting […]

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