Rolling the Dice on Spec Offices: The Soffer Organization Comes Up a Winner

The numbers six and eight may be even, but in the context of the Penn Center West office park, they stand out as odd buildings.  These two structures in Pittsburgh’s western suburbs are shining examples of how speculative office space can utilize green design and technologies.  Owned by the Soffer Organization, these nearly identical buildings […]

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Growing Greener and Key ’93

By Andrew McElwaine Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schweiker’s proposed 2002-03 budget would make major changes to the state’s fundamental environmental laws and programs.  In particular, it would cut nearly in half the award-winning Growing Greener program and the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund.   In February, the Governor announced he was indefinitely deferring $50 million of […]

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Speaking Out on Light Rail Transit

We’ve got trouble right here in River City.  Decades of poor transportation stewardship have left Pittsburgh with a fragmented and segregated transit system and, despite a declining population, traffic congestion has increased due to suburban sprawl and urban flight. While cities like San Francisco are revitalizing their urban neighborhoods by replacing highways with clean and […]

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Green Spotlight on Daylighting

Cornerstone speaks with Robert J. Osten, Jr., R.A., and Keith J. Yancey, AIA, P.E., of Lam Partners Inc. Q:  Although everyone seems to enjoy spaces that have great daylighting, please explain why their existence is rare. A:  The technology of HVAC and fluorescent lighting was already in place in the early 1940s and, since then, energy […]

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Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

Food, water and shelter—these three things are said to be the basic necessities of life for all humans.  Sustainability, relatedly, is meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations, all the while keeping ecology, economics and society in a healthy balance.  One of the region’s best models of sustainability […]

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Fall Furnace Tune-Up: For Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety

Stories—some humorous, some sobering—abound among heating contractors about the causes and effects of heating problems.  Gary Bakalarski, an air conditioning technician for the City of Pittsburgh’s Housing Authority, recalls once clearing 13 pigeons out of someone’s chimney.  A customer of Bob Hillard’s (Hillard Plumbing & Heating) was in total disbelief when his new furnace’s heat […]

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Building-Integrated Photovoltaics Make More Than Fashion Sense

From providing electricity for satellites to powering solar calculators, photovoltaic (PV) cells capture the sun’s energy for many purposes.  But what is the reality of using solar cells to generate electricity for buildings?  This is a critical issue since buildings use more than one-third of the total energy consumed in the United States.  In the […]

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Green Spotlight on Pennsylvania Energy Production and Consumption

Cornerstone speaks with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary David Hess Q:  You have stated that over the next five years Pennsylvania will face three formidable environmental issues: water, energy use, and watershed protection.  Please elaborate on your energy concerns. A:  Energy usage is a challenge because it is such an essential part of our modern […]

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By Any Other Name: KSBA Architects Office Building

“You call it green; we call it performance,” laughs KSBA partner Grant Scott when referring to the sustainable features of his company’s offices, the KSBA Architects Building. “We were getting kicked out of our former building,” relates Scott.  “As a group of attorneys started taking over, all the other tenants were being phased out.  At […]

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