Why Pittsburgh is a Front-Runner in Sustainable Development
One of Pittsburgh’s best attributes that has helped bring it to the top of the “livability” list time and time again is its commitment to and connection with nature. The unique thing about Pittsburgh is that, when it comes to sustainability and environmental stewardship, it has support in spades. From for- and non-profit environmental groups, government entities, outdoor recreation organizations, and research universities, Pittsburgh has a four tier approach to environmentalism and environmental education not seen in many other cities. While these organizations are mainly separate entities, they are dedicated to working together to attain the goal they all have in common: to bring awareness and change to an urban environment that has been damaged extensively by irresponsible human action and neglect.
At evolveEA, we’re excited that we have had the opportunity to partner with many enterprising nonprofits, government representatives, and even the occasional outdoor recreation agency (our office went whitewater rafting one summer) in a collaborative effort to preserve and protect the environment. Teaming up with organizations like Sustainable Pittsburgh has given us the opportunity to educate the local and regional public on issues facing sustainable development in Southwestern PA. As part of a steering committee for the Allegheny County Government, we participated in efforts to increase the efficiency of the County’s building portfolio through LEED feasibility studies. And, we are proud of the work of non-profits like Grow Pittsburgh and the Green Building Alliance who are beginning to make big impacts changing inaction into sustainable action. Our admiration for these organizations is evident in our working relationships as well as our professional ties.
Some of the biggest thought leaders for sustainability in Pittsburgh are Phipps Conservatory and Carnegie Mellon University, and we have had the privilege of working with both. We have worked closely with Phipps to bring the region its first Living Building Challenge building: The Center for Sustainable Landscapes. This ultra progressive challenge solidified Pittsburgh’s spot amongst the greenest cities in America. This building, coupled with our efforts in certifying LEED buildings on Carnegie Mellon’s campus have given us a broad range of experience with which to support sustainable development.
It is encouraging to see such a diverse group of organizations making their commitment to sustainability, especially those driven and progressive enough to seek LEED certification for their buildings. Getting LEED Certified is no small task and we applaud companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Giant Eagle and UPMC — among others — for making such great strides in reducing the impact of the built environment in Pittsburgh. We are honored to be able to work with these forward-thinking companies and help in defining and fulfilling their sustainability goals.
Our projects are diverse and span the globe — from Cairo, Egypt, to the East End Veterinary Medical Center just blocks from our office. And, although we are proud of the region in which we reside and make every effort to improve our experience of and impact on it, we also understand that there is plenty of work to be done elsewhere and will continue to strive to advance preservation and efficiency efforts whenever possible. We also understand that we cannot accomplish these broad goals alone and we know that we are fortunate to have such a great community of sustainability thought and action leaders here at home.