Sustainability consulting for UPMC by evolveEA


The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) “is an $8 billion integrated global health enterprise headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.” Its mission is “to provide outstanding patient care and to shape tomorrow’s health system through clinical innovation, biomedical and health services research, and education,” and its vision is “to create a new economic future for western Pennsylvania” built on new ways of thinking about health care and sparked by leveraging the uniqueness of the integrated health enterprise.

Understanding that an organization can do well by doing good, UPMC is operationalizing these high-level goals through its progressive pursuit of sustainability principles in its practices, and, most notably, in its facilities. evolveEA has been involved since the beginning of UPMC’s green building initiative, and is proud to call itself its ongoing sustainability and green building consultant. We have performed full-service LEED consulting including specification writing, leading project meetings, advocating for the owner to meet project goals, managing the design and construction team to document LEED submission, and managing the commissioning agent selection process for a number of UPMC’s hospitals and office spaces.

US Steel Tower

UPMC and the UPMC Health Plan occupy 40 percent of the US Steel Tower in downtown Pittsburgh, or roughly 900,000 square feet of office space, spread across 23 of the iconic building’s 64 floors. evolveEA has been managing UPMC’s efforts to systematically retrofit these spaces to LEED standards in a series of project phases. Between 2007 and 2013, more than half of UPMC’s occupied floors in the US Steel Tower have achieved at least basic LEED certification, with floors 8, 9, 12, 25 and 55 achieving LEED Silver. The remaining floors are currently under construction and are targeting LEED Silver certification, expected in 2014.


  • UPMC Passavant Hospital: This 190,000 square foot LEED NC 2.2 project that comprises an addition to the UPMC Passavant Hospital met its goal of LEED basic certification.
  • UPMC East Hospital: This 300,000 square foot LEED NC project has surpassed its goal of LEED basic certification, achieving LEED Silver.
  • UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital: This 50,000 square foot addition and renovation project at the internationally renowned Magee Women’s Hospital achieved LEED CI Silver certification in 2013.


Building Case Study: Passavant Hospital

The addition at UPMC Passavant increases the capacity of its Cancer Center, emergency department and surgical services, as well as the number of intensive care unit beds, progressive care unit beds, and medical-surgical unit beds. Construction was completed in March 2011 on the seven-story pavilion addition. The addition increases the hospital’s inpatient bed capacity by 88 (to 399), adds 27,000 sf to the existing Cancer Center, adds 21,000 sf to the emergency department, adds 6 new state of the art operating rooms, adds 16 critical beds for medical/surgical patients, and 24 additional PCU beds.

Noteworthy Green Features

  • Indoor Environmental Quality: This is a critical issues for a place of healing. The project is on target to earn 11 of a possible 15 points in this category by focusing on increased ventilation (over 3 times the level required by ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2004), low-emitting materials (adhesives, paints, carpet and sealants), controllability of lighting and temperature, and chemical and pollutant control (HEPA-level filtration).
  • Water Use Reduction: Water efficient fixtures in the new addition are projected to be over 30% more efficient than conventional fixtures.
  • Optimize Energy Performance: The hospital’s new power plant will serve the entire campus, providing steam, chilled water and will incorporate energy recovery units from exhaust air. Performance is projected to be 11% more efficient by energy and 7% by cost.
  • Heat Island Effect-Roof Surfaces: The building has incorporated roof materials with a Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) of over 90 for the flat roofs.

Evolve EA