Ecology and Economics of Redevelopment: Tax Increment Financing

By Robert J. Silber Over the last several years, Allegheny County has used TIFs (tax increment financing) to subsidize the development of large retail centers in ecologically sensitive areas. To understand how we got to the point where Allegheny County is using millions of tax dollars to subsidize the creation of big-box store developments in […]

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Green Spotlight on Life Cycle Assessment

Cornerstone speaks with Dr. Robert Ries Q:   What is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of building materials, and how is it done? A:  Life cycle assessment or life cycle analysis (LCA), whether for building materials, products or systems, is a structured analysis of their effect on the environment.  The considered time span typically includes the entire life of […]

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Looking Through the Glass

The Pittsburgh Glass Center (PGC) is one of those rare projects in which green attributes are visible throughout the facility.  Energy use, costs and reliance upon new materials were minimized, yet the building still has a clean and contemporary look.  Interior work spaces have a raw, unfinished feel, evoking the workshop aspect of an operational […]

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Cost of LEED Green Buildings

By William G. Reed Although the database is still limited, there currently exist enough completed projects and experience to indicate cost trends in the realization of officially certified LEED™ projects. The following qualifications need to be considered in any discussion of the “cost of green”: The cost of green buildings can only be compared when […]

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Slippery Rock University Offers (Organic) Food for Thought

Fifty miles north of Pittsburgh in an unassuming rural town lies a national leader in sustainability—Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (SRU). Founded in 1889, this state school of 7,500 students offers comprehensive programs of education, outreach and action in sustainability.  The National Wildlife Federation recognizes SRU as one of twelve national universities with an exemplary […]

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University of Pittsburgh: Putting Knowledge into Action

With 6.4 million square feet “under roof,” the University of Pittsburgh has the environment of a small city.  “A campus of this size represents a tremendous opportunity to save resources,” says Ana Guzman, Pitt’s associate vice chancellor of facilities management.  By reducing energy usage, the university has started to green its Oakland campus, while simultaneously […]

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CMU: Comprehensive Mission Undertaken

Carnegie Mellon University (the true words behind the CMU acronym) has taken a comprehensive approach to greening their campus with results that are both impressive and noteworthy.  In 1998, Carnegie Mellon’s Green Practices Committee was conceived as an effort to determine how the school could operate more efficiently in terms of both resource and energy […]

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Green Spotlight on Sustainability Indicators

Cornerstone speaks with Court Gould Q:  What new tool has been developed to measure sustainability in the Pittsburgh area? A:  Sustainable Pittsburgh (SP) recently completed the first on-line Sustainability Indicators report for our region.  The Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Indicators Report was created through a public process to develop long-term goals and corresponding indicators of success.  It provides feedback […]

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Don’t Turn Up Your Nose at Waterless Technology

Every year more than 20 billion gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater escape from overflowing sewer and malfunctioning septic systems into waterways and groundwater in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland counties. One method to control sewage problems is to reduce the amount of wastewater that needs to be […]

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Regionalizing the Sewage Collection System

The deteriorated state of our region’s sewage infrastructure is creating unsafe and unhealthy conditions in local streams and rivers.  Within the ALCOSAN service area, the sewage collection system is an integrated network of systems that have evolved over the past 100 years.  Today’s elected officials are tackling the issue of how to efficiently and cost-effectively […]

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