The Punch List – 6/22/18

PAT is revving up cleaner buses. Port Authority is planning to bring its first electric buses to the fleet: 2 buses costing more than $1 million each. Partially funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration and personally tested by ACE Fitzgerald and PAT CEO Katharine Eagan Kellemanthe buses are anticipated to hit the streets of the East End next year. Also new for PAT: 14 clean diesel buses from another FTA grant.  

Sustainability is one of Johnstown’s steps to revitalization. Once carried by the coal mining industry and steel mills, Johnstown has plans to boost the economy again: Improving energy efficiency through upgrades and installing solar panels in homes. Johnstown – a microcosm of Cambria county – recognizes that converting to sustainable energy won’t solve all their economic concerns, but it’s a start. Some Johnstownians are considering connecting their homes to solar farms as another sustainable alternative.

Calling out the rotten eggs. Allegheny County will tighten up the emission standards for local plants and facilities, specifically addressing a “rotten egg” smell that has been bothering locals for years. The smell is harmless – that is, if it’s just hydrogen sulfide, and the concern is that it’s not. Plans to cap “fugitive emissions” will save the county loads of time and money that would be involved to pinpoint the smelly source exactly. Despite various air quality initiatives, Pittsburgh continues to rank high on national air pollution charts 

A community effort payoff in Lawrenceville. Lawrenceville’s Holy Family Church’s story began in 1940, and thanks to the rallying of community groups and Mayor Peduto, will continue. Several weeks ago, plans to repurpose the abandoned building with residential housing quickly fell through with a demolition notice, which was retracted after fervent protest. The beloved landmark, symbolizing a lot of Polish history, is a candidate for the National Registry of Historic Places.  A sense of urgency for future plans exists though, as the building is rapidly degenerating. 

High hopes for the Housing Opportunity Fund. Next week, the Fund’s 17-member advising committee will be complete, meaning it’s ready to roll. The Fund is an effort to provide adequate housing that is both affordable and accessible (i.e. near public transit) to Pittsburgh residents. There are hopes it will reduce some homelessness, too. A projected annual budget of $10 million will be provided by a realty transfer tax increase that began last year. The Fund promises there will be a strong emphasis on community input in their initiatives.  

Some shiny certifications for PA communities. The State College Borough was awarded Platinum Certified Sustainable Municipality. Similar to buildings achieving points for LEED certifications, communities exhibit sustainability through attributes like high functioning O&M systems and public services. Also recently recognized as Gold Certified Sustainable: Montgomery Township 

Architecturally beautiful and expectedly sustainable. The Pittsburgh region boasts a growing number of newly constructed and renovated sustainable buildings on all sides. Some of the latest developments include a Parksmart certified parking garage, green schools, and a training center aiming for net zero energy certification – and you’re going to want to see them.

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