Allegheny County Courthouse Facilities Plan
The Allegheny County Courthouse is recognized as an exceptional example of Romanesque Revival architecture, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The Courthouse Facilities Plan is a comprehensive plan that calls for work that will restore the Courthouse as a landmark building and meet contemporary standards for comfort, performance, and sustainability.
As the sustainability consultant for the project, evolveEA led an Operations and Maintenance Review that consisted of a series of interview and data analyses in order to gain an understanding of how the Courthouse is currently operated and maintained with regards to sustainability best practices. Part of this review will inform the County’s efforts to meet the Pittsburgh 2030 District goals of reducing the building’s energy consumption by 50% (compared to a national baseline) by the year 2030. The review also identified the building upgrades that should be prioritized in order to cut GHG emissions, conserve energy and water and improve comfort.
In this fact finding stage, evolveEA also identified policies and practices that the County should develop in order to meet contemporary standards for resiliency, outdoor maintenance, purchasing, cleaning and other operational practices. We also reviewed Historic Preservation standards and sustainability frameworks that could be applied to the Courthouse in its renovation and restoration efforts over the next 15 years.
Our scope also included a review of sustainability precedents—other historic courthouses and government buildings that have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability and achieved high levels of energy and water efficiency, improved indoor environmental quality, improved purchasing, waste minimization and much more, in addition to historic preservation and tenant satisfaction. These precedents are intended as resources and inspiration for the Courthouse Facilities Plan.
evolveEA also led a Sustainability Workshop for project stakeholders and the design team to identify goals and priorities for sustainability. Goals relate to sustainability frameworks and building performance, and define how success for the project will be measured. During the workshop, stakeholders identified energy-related goals as the biggest priority for the Courthouse, water conservation goals as the second most important. Waste and indoor air quality-related goals were also identified as important.
In the final stage of planning, the team created a master plan for work on the Courthouse to be completed over the next 15 years. It is composed of a series of projects that together will meet established goals to:
- Return the Courthouse to cost effective operations
- Substantially improve energy performance with the specific goal of meeting the ‘Pittsburgh 2030 Challenge’ to cut 2015 levels of energy consumption in half by that date
- Substantially improve the conditions of the interior environment for workers and visitors
- Preserve and restore the architectural value of the building.
In 2022, the Allegheny County Courthouse received the 50-Year Timeless Architecture Award from AIA Pennsylvania in recognition of its enduring legacy and iconic community presence.