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Iconic U.S. Steel Tower Earns ENERGY STAR Certification
February 13, 2017

The tallest structure between Chicago and Philadelphia is the 64-floor U.S. Steel Tower in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, which also ranks as the 7th largest highrise office building in the US by square footage. Through a series of retrofits to improve U.S. Steel Tower energy efficiency, the iconic skyscraper built in 1970 recently achieved ENERGY STAR certification. ENERGY STAR is the US EPA’s framework to guide energy efficiency initiatives, with the program’s commercial buildings certification recognizing top energy performers.


US Steel Tower Energy Star Certified, Pittsburgh - photo courtesy evolveEA


“In the past decade, Pittsburgh has become known worldwide as an innovative, sustainable community that is focused on efficiency and performance,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Today’s announcement adds the U.S. Steel Tower to the list of properties, buildings, facilities and spaces that are focused upon reflecting those characteristics. Congratulations to Winthrop Management on this achievement, and its partners for their cooperation and collaboration in reaching this milestone.”

“Winthrop’s achievement of ENERGY STAR compliance is a great example of the leadership building owners can take in providing transparent and available data. The City’s recently passed energy transparency ordinance will help support these energy efficiency activities. We look forward to partnering with property managers like Winthrop to further advance energy efficiency across the city,” remarked Pittsburgh Mayor, William Peduto.

“Achieving ENERGY STAR certification is a tremendous accomplishment and a significant milestone in the storied history of the U.S. Steel Tower,” said Thomas J. Harrington, general manager of the building for Winthrop Management LP. “Designed with a robust infrastructure in an era when energy was inexpensive and energy efficiency not a first priority, this initiative required a major commitment from the building’s ownership, tenants and several community and business partners. The ENERGY STAR portfolio manager program allowed us to track our progress as we made improvements with the financial assistance of Duquesne Light Company’s Watt Choice program. This is a proud day for Winthrop Management and the U.S. Steel Tower.”

With the help of evolveEA, Winthrop Management’s U.S. Steel Tower energy efficiency initiatives have included:

  • Lighting: Installation of highly efficient LEDs in the building’s lobbies and new lighting in the garage.
  • VFDs and HVAC upgrades: Variable Frequency Drives and state-of-the-art HVAC technologies.
  • Elevator upgrades: A new energy efficient elevator system.
  • Tenant engagement: Winthrop and evolveEA collaborated with building tenants to establish a sustainability committee that teaches and encourages eco-friendly behavior among occupants while measuring effectiveness.
  • BOMA360: Measures to save energy were first channeled toward achieving certification under a program of the Building Owners and Managers Association and were subsequently leveraged toward achieving ENERGY STAR certification. From a 2010 baseline the U.S. Steel Tower reduced its energy use by 28.5% from 67,397,908 kWh to 48,226,200 kWh, while building occupancy rose from 78% in 2009 to 98% in 2013.

Winthrop Management was able to leverage financial incentives through Act 129, which requires PA electric distribution companies to adopt and implement conservation plans that reduce energy demand and consumption within their service territory. Duquesne Light’s Watt Choices program helped Winthrop finance major lighting projects as well as upgrades to the building’s VFDs and HVAC upgrades.

“evolveEA provided education and consulting to Winthrop, helping to map out a strategy for their sustainability initiatives. At the same time, we worked with UPMC, the primary tenant, to improve their office spaces and achieve LEED For Commercial Interiors certifications for nearly one million square feet over the last decade. This two-pronged approach has made the U.S. Steel Tower one of the region’s best performing office buildings. It’s fitting that such an iconic part of Pittsburgh’s skyline will now be identified with the city’s green renaissance and reinvention,” said Marc Mondor, evolveEA Principal.

In 2013, Winthrop Management signed the U.S. Steel Tower on to the Pittsburgh 2030 District challenge, a public-private partnership to create a high-performance and energy-efficient building district in downtown Pittsburgh by the year 2030. As part of this challenge, businesses are committing to reduce energy usage to 50 percent below the national average over the next 13 years.

Angelica Ciranni, the Green Building Alliance’s Pittsburgh 2030 District Director said:
“The U.S. Steel Tower has been a strong Pittsburgh 2030 District Property Partner, actively leading the way for 483 other committed buildings in working towards measurable energy, water, and transportation emissions reductions of 50% below baselines by the year 2030.  Quick to share innovative approaches and lessons learned, the U.S. Steel Tower’s property management, facilities staff, and tenants have worked as a team over many years to achieve an ENERGY STAR designation for one of Pittsburgh’s most iconic buildings that demonstrates the region’s leadership in energy conservation.”


A U.S. Steel Tower ENERGY STAR press conference and celebration will be held in the lobby of the building on Monday, February 27th from 9:30 to 10:30 AM, where County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Mayor William Peduto will join members of the Winthrop Management, evolveEA and Green Building Alliance teams for public remarks about the achievement. Tenants of the building are welcome to attend.

Team Update: Board Appointments, Professional Credentials & New Hires
January 09, 2017

marcMarc Mondor

The new year has brought new appointments for evolveEA Principal Marc Mondor. The Pennsylvania State Senate Minority Leader appointed Marc as a member of Pennsylvania’s Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC). Also the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Institute of Architects named Marc to its Board of Directors as Chair of Government Affairs.

The Climate Change Advisory Committee is a group of experts that advise the PA Department of Environmental Protection. A key function of the Committee is to advise the DEP in maintaining a Climate Action Plan for the state with updates every three years.

Marc first began serving on the AIA Pennsylvania Board of Directors in 2015, and has helped the organization lobby our state government to raise awareness of and garner support for the fields of architecture, engineering and construction. As Government Affairs Committee Chair, Marc will coordinate the development of AIA Pennsylvania’s annual legislative agenda and oversee the organization’s government affairs activities. He remarked that the Board appointment and the CCAC appointment present statewide synergies that overlap with his advocacy on behalf of AIA Pittsburgh and his professional interests, and he is excited to step into the new roles.


Ashley Cox

We are excited to announce that Ashley Cox has returned to evolveEA as a full-time member of our team! A talented and enthusiastic Urban Designer, Ashley was initially engaged with us during the summer of 2014 as an intern through Carnegie Mellon’s award-winning UDream program. After completing the internship program, Ashley remained in Pittsburgh to earn a Master of Urban Design degree at CMU. While in school she continued to work with us on select projects.

Ashley CoxAshley has demonstrated leadership capacity with valued contributions to our Pittsburgh community based projects such as the Hill District Centre Avenue Redevelopment Plan, Garfield Green Zone, and Urban Agriculture and Green Stormwater Infrastructure Planning in Larimer. In her new role, Ashley will continue to draw upon her advanced technical background in urban systems and her experience with creative engagement to empower people and help create resilient communities. We’re thrilled to have Ashley with us as we begin 2017!


Anna Rosenblum

Anna RosenblumAnna Rosenblum is the first member of our team to become a Certified EcoDistricts Accredited Professional! The credential is a new certification administered by that marks expertise in district-scale sustainable development. Anna’s ecodistrict planning experience on projects around our region, knowledge of the EcoDistrict Protocol and training enabled her to be one of the earliest adopters of the EcoDistrict AP credential. With the credential Anna can better assist communities to become EcoDistrict Certified under the protocol that was launched last year.


Nico Azel

nicoWe’re happy to share the news that Nicolas Azel joined our team in October 2016. Nico’s background in urban systems design and data analysis is helping to advance our work on urban scale projects. He has applied his background in planning and architecture and specialization in computational design to create data visualizations and 3D urban models focusing on transportation systems and stormwater runoff. Nico is also an Adjunct Faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture. We are especially excited about Nico’s contributions to our work with the City of Pittsburgh on a strategic plan for Greenways, as well as a Bus Rapid Transit Planning Study for the Port Authority.

Hill District Centre Avenue Corridor Plan Wins Urban Design Award
October 31, 2016
Centre Avenue Corridor Plan Wins Urban Design Award

Centre Avenue Corridor Plan Wins Urban Design Award

The Centre Avenue Corridor Redevelopment and Design Plan showcases the resilient spirit of the Hill District with The Avenue reborn as a place of exchange—where residents meet, visitors are welcomed, institutions share resources, and businesses showcase their offerings. At the Design Pittsburgh Gala, the Plan received a Certificate of Merit in Regional & Urban Design and was cited by the jury as an “excellent study looking at the complexity of urban design” in the evolution of a community. The awards gala closed the annual design exhibition and competition of AIA Pittsburgh, a chapter of the American Institute of Architects. 

The 2016 Design Pittsburgh Jury made the following additional comments:

This project… clearly defines a strategy to do smaller interventions that can transform the community over time. By focusing on several small interventions along an urban path, the team has envisioned a realistic timeline for growth and transformation. The jurors were struck by the use of time as an integrated design tool. The community engagement process was simply and powerfully communicated in this submission.

evolveEA led the design team in partnership with the Hill Community Development Corporation (Hill CDC), and 4Ward Planning. The project was funded in part by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh with support from the Office of Mayor Bill Peduto, the Office of Councilman Daniel Lavelle and the Office of City Planning, administered by the Design Center through its Design Fund program.

Christine Mondor, Principal, evolveEA commented:

It’s an honor to be recognized by this design jury, especially against national competition. We enjoyed crafting a plan with the Hill District team to help position them for equitable growth based on cultural production, as well as economic development.

Historically the Hill’s main business corridor, The Avenue’s vibrant future is shaped by “Centres” of Culture, Opportunity, and Cultivation at three key intersections. These unique Centres tie together to serve the community, attract visitors and foster economic growth. Through convening the community to articulate a shared cultural identity, the design process clarified the role of neighborhood identity in shaping place and guiding redevelopment.

Marimba Milliones, Executive Director of the Hill CDC, remarked:

The Hill District is an amazing community of talented, engaged and passionate residents and stakeholders, and the Hill CDC is privileged to represent their interests. It is gratifying to be recognized by AIA for this important redevelopment strategy and plan — a result of genuine partnership with evolveEA and the Design Center. Ultimately, we believe that redeveloping the Centre Avenue business district within the Hill District will help Pittsburgh to meet its full economic potential by shattering some of its long-time challenges of equitable development, racial diversity and cultural inclusion. We know the Hill District is a unique asset to our region, and it is affirming to be recognized. We are excited about the future, and enthusiastically work every day to advance the implementation of this phenomenal plan.


Centre Avenue Corridor Plan Wins Urban Design Award: Centre of Cultivation

DIY District at the Centre of Cultivation, Hill District Centre Avenue Corridor Design Plan

Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan Selected for Planning Excellence Award
October 20, 2016

The annual conference of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Planing Association (APA) took place in Allentown this week and included an awards ceremony to honor the best planning projects in the state. One of five projects to receive a Planning Excellence Award this year was the Ecodistrict Pivot Plan for the Borough of Millvale, located just across the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh.

evolveEA led the planning team in partnership with the Millvale Community Development Corporation, Millvale Community Library, Millvale Borough, New Sun Rising, Sisters of Saint Francis at Mt. Alvernia and other Millvale based community organizations. The Pivot Plan has been a continuing, multi-year effort to improve quality of life for Millvale’s existing community while attracting new residents and businesses by building a unique Ecodistrict identity for the town. The Plan emphasizes placemaking in addition to environmental sustainability and raising the community’s capacity to steward sustainable redevelopment initiatives.

Results include the construction of green rainwater infrastructure and $1.7 million in funding for the recently renovated Town Center and Food Hub for Millvale’s business district. The town’s community garden is also expanding with the hope of providing up to 95% of the fresh produce needed for Millvale’s restaurants, and the community is working to expand local production of solar energy beyond the 100% solar powered library.

Millvale Sustainability Coordinator, Zaheen Hussain, remarked:

The growth of our partnership with evolveEA and the Pivot plan have been key in helping to advance the community’s sustainable development goals. Like many small towns, our projects rely on bootstrapped efforts driven by community leadership. Having a plan that ties together our work not only empowers our residents, but ensures efficiency and coordination of efforts between the Millvale Community Library, Millvale Community Development Corporation, New Sun Rising, and the Borough of Millvale.

Millvale Ecodistrict Town Center Food Hub, evolveEA

evolveEA’s design for the Millvale Town Center Food Hub and Stone Soup Café, expected to open this year

Community members have been active in the planning process and determined to see their vision to completion. Millvale has been challenged by a history of flooding and other issues that threaten the well being of residents, such as poor air quality. These issues are countered by the community’s sense of self-determination, driving them to strategize around key issue areas—Water, Food, Energy, Mobility, Air and Equity. The Town Center Food Hub was identified as a focus project by the community during the first round of Ecodistrict planning (2013) in order to address the town’s “food desert” status. The Food Hub is opening in a reused building this year to house offices, a food-based business incubator and a café at street level.

Millvale Kayak Crossing Intersection: Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan, evolveEA, Planning Excellence Award Winner, 2016

The Millvale community imagined solutions for mobility chokepoints that reflect their unconventional culture, such as a Kayak Commuter Hub and Kayak Crossing Intersection.

evolveEA is a Best For The World company
September 13, 2016

Every year, B Lab highlights the Certified B Corporations in the B Corp community that go above and beyond in their pursuit of positive impact. We are proud to share that evolveEA has been recognized this month as a 2016 Best For The World company in the Environment category.


best for the world environment 2016

All B Corporations take the B Impact Assessment and meet verified score requirements to become certified. In the assessment, companies are evaluated on their impact on the environment, their workers, their customers, and their communities; they also all meet the highest standards of accountability and transparency. Winning companies featured on the Best for the World lists scored in the top 10% of the B Corp community in each of five categories—they are the top performers in an already exceptional group of businesses. Learn more about the criteria.


How did we do it?

We used the B Impact Assessment to evaluate ourselves in the areas of Environment, Workers, Customers, Community and Governance when we became a Certified B Corp in 2013. Two years later, when we had to renew our certification, we knew we had made some changes in our office operations that improved waste diversion and energy conservation. Even more impactful were our projects—green buildings that are energy efficient, saving water and cutting waste. We measured aspects of the environmental performance of buildings and neighborhoods whose design or operations we were able to influence through our projects. This factored into our new score last year, which reflects an 18 point increase in the Environment category!

The improvement in our score placed evolveEA in the top 10 percent of similar-size companies when it comes to the Environment. You can see the full list of companies that qualify in this category here.

Marc Mondor to Teach Sustainable Buildings Course at Chatham University
July 07, 2016

A new course called Sustainable Buildings and LEED Rating System will kick off this fall at Chatham University’s Falk School of Sustainability, with evolveEA Principal Marc Mondor teaching as Adjunct Faculty. Drawing upon evolveEA’s 12 years of experience with building rating systems, as well as Marc’s leadership in the green building industry, the course will enhance Chatham’s curriculum in the Falk School of Sustainability graduate program. The Falk School is based at the Eden Hall Campus, which is pursuing a combination of Living Building Challenge, LEED Platinum, SITES and other green building certifications for its “Living Learning Campus”.

evolveEA has been assisting the Eden Hall design team with LEED documentation for some of the buildings on the campus. The 39-unit Sustainable Buildings course, like other courses taught at the Falk School, will use the Eden Hall Campus as a laboratory where students can explore the challenges presented by climate change in a real-world setting where students and professionals collaborate to advance the best possible solutions for a sustainable environment. Marc is enthusiastic about supporting Chatham University’s sustainability curriculum. He stated that the school has demonstrated an “uncompromising vision” to lead the world in building and nurturing a campus that embodies a commitment to sustainability and environmental education.

evolveEA’s Office Abuzz With New Team Members
June 30, 2016

The evolve office is buzzing like a hive with new hires and interns this summer! With some exciting projects kicking off in the areas of infrastructure planning and green building consulting, we are welcoming a few new faces. Several months ago, Elijah Hughes joined us as Designer and Systems Analyst. Elijah is primarily working on green water infrastructure and transportation planning projects. More recently, Chris Brown began working at evolve in the Building Rating Systems Manager position, bringing his in-depth experience with green building frameworks such as LEED and Passive House.




This summer also marks our fourth year participating in the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture UDream program. The award-winning program increases diversity in the fields of architecture and urban design, specifically in the Pittsburgh region, by placing recent graduates with local firms. Some of our past UDream interns have transitioned into long-term positions with us and brought exceptional creativity to our team. We are very pleased to welcome Olivia Freese to our team this year. Olivia recently completed a Master of Architecture degree at Drury University in Missouri, has focused on urban planning and public interest design, and was president of the AIA Student chapter while in school.

We are also collaborating with the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG) on a study to improve our public transit system. PCRG intern, Abhishikta Pal is based in our office for the summer as we work intensively on the project. Abhishikta has a background in architecture and will be completing Master of Urban Design at Carnegie Mellon University  in December 2016.


AIA+2030 Professional Series 2.0
June 20, 2016


The AIA+2030 Professional Series 2.0 will premiere at Build Pittsburgh 2016. AIA Pittsburgh’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) created the program to help design professionals create buildings that meet the ambitious energy efficiency goals of the Architecture 2030 Challenge.® Ten 4-hour sessions offer strategies to seek, design, deliver, and manage buildings that reach 70% or better reductions in fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions, giving design professionals, contractors, and owners the knowledge and leverage to demand and create next-generation, super-efficient buildings and providing firms with the skills that will set them apart in the marketplace.

Take it for the first time or come back for more! With 2.0, COTE builds on its highly successful 2013-14 series by incorporating a broader pool of speakers, more local case studies, and in-depth tours of high-performing built projects. Content derived from the GBA 2030 Districts and Architecture 2030 videos will deepen the programming. The series will also delve in-depth into the significant changes the industry has seen in the last few years, such as the use of analytical software to predict building energy performance. The updated program will strike a rich balance between new construction and renovation, residential and commercial, theoretical and completed, and urban and rural project types.

Earn 4 AIA/CES LU/HSW hours and 4 GBCI CEUs per session!
GBCI CEUs provided through the Green Building Alliance.

View the 2016/2017 Schedule @ A Glance.
Stay posted for additional dates, locations, and registration options. Download the flyer.

Learn more: The 2030 Challenge: An Opportunity for Impact


The series schedule, at a glance:

  1. The 2030 Challenge: Setting + Achieving Energy Goals with Integrated Design
    Thursday, April 21, 1:30-5:30 p.m. – Build Pittsburgh 2016, DLCC
  2. Getting to 60: The Power of Targets + Load Reduction
    Tuesday, May 17, 4:30-8:30 p.m.
  3. Accentuate the Positive: Climate Responsive Design
    Tuesday, June 21, 4:30-8:30p.m.
  4. Skins: The Importance of the Thermal Envelope
    Tuesday, September 20, 4:30-8:30 p.m.
  5. Aggressively Passive: Employing Passive Systems for Load Reduction
    Tuesday, October 18, 4:30-8:30 p.m.
  6. Illuminating Savings: Daylighting and Integrated Lighting Strategies
    Tuesday, November 15, 4:30-8:30 p.m.
  7. Right-sized: Equipment and Controls for Super-Efficient Building system
    Tuesday, January 17, 4:30-8:30 p.m.
  8. Site Power: Renewable Energy Opportunities
    Tuesday, February 21, 4:30-8:30 p.m.
  9. The Hand-off + Staying in Shape: Operations, Maintenance + Education
    Tuesday, March 21, 4:30-8:30 p.m.
  10. Putting It All Together: Achieving 2030 Goals on the Project and at the Office
    Date to be determined. 4:30-8:30 p.m.

Pricing and registration options coming soon.
A light supper will be included.
Attendees of the first session, offered at Build Pittsburgh 2016, will receive a 10% discount on the complete series.

Contact Marc Mondor, AIA, LEED Faculty, COTE Committee Chair or the AIA Pittsburgh Office at 412.471.9548.

Pittsburgh’s Garfield Community Discusses Plans to Protect Neighborhood Green Space
April 27, 2016

community members review plans, offer feedback

Last week in Pittsburgh, the Bloomfied Garfield Corporation (BGC) and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) led a community meeting to discuss the Garfield Green Zone planning process that has been facilitated by evolveEA. We began with an assessment and report last year, intended to test the proposition that intentionally protected and improved green areas in Garfield offer a positive strategy for anchoring future revitalization of the hillside community. The report from last year can be accessed via the BGC website: Garfield Green Zone Project 2015 Report.



Rick Swartz of the BGC (center) talks with Garfield residents


At the latest meeting, residents talked about what they believe is one of the neighborhood’s most important assets—being inside the city but providing the ability to live in or around the woods. A recurring point of discussion was that many people in the room want to create a community land trust. They are concerned about how development might impact Garfield’s green assets.  One resident bought five parcels in the neighborhood just to prevent several old growth trees from being harmed. Another said “We want it to be green, we want it to stay green”.



Christine Mondor presents Garfield Green Zone observations to the community

The 2030 Garfield-Bloomfield plan identified green spaces as an important asset for the community as it redevelops. This initiative is intended to take that recommendation in a more specific direction, as the BGC and WPC work with residents to determine the best way forward.

Oxford’s Hot Metal Flats Receives LEED Gold Certification
March 01, 2016

image courtesy of Oxford Development

Oxford Development Company and its partners announced that the 117-unit Hot Metal Flats apartment complex in the South Side Works development in Pittsburgh has received LEED® Gold certification. The LEED rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes, and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.

“Our philosophy with multifamily projects is to create sustainable communities with their own individual identities,” said Steve Guy, President and CEO, Oxford Development Company. “With a great project team we were able to exceed our certification expectations for this project and provide residents with a safe, healthy dwelling in a fun and active neighborhood.”

Hot Metal Flats achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

“We spend 90 percent of our time indoors, so where we live greatly impacts our health and well-being,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO & founding chair, USGBC. “By achieving LEED Gold certification, Hot Metal Flats has become a place that anyone will truly love to call home, not only because it’s energy and water efficient, but because its designed with the health of its inhabitants in mind.”

evolveEA served as Sustainability Consultant to the project team, which also includes:
P.J. Dick – Construction Manager,
Walnut Capital – Property Manager,
WTW Architects – Architect of Record,
Loftus Engineers – Mechanical Engineer,
Civil Environmental Consultants – Civil Engineer,
Advantus Engineers – Commissioning Agent,
and LaQuatra Bonci – Landscape Architect

“We led early goal setting meetings with the team in order to determine and prioritize sustainability goals, for which the final project has delivered,” stated Marc Mondor, AIA, LEED Fellow, Principal of evolveEA. “Gold level certifications don’t happen by chance.”


Through the design and construction efforts of the team, the project expects a significant reduction in energy consumption by approximately 20 percent and water use by 40 percent as compared to a similar baseline project. The building construction practices led the project to divert more than 86 percent of the waste generated by the on-site construction activities to destinations other than landfills. Nearly 38 percent of the building materials purchased for the project were manufactured and extracted from regional sources and nearly 22 percent of the total building materials were manufactured using recycled materials.

“Hot Metal Flats is yet another example of why Pittsburgh is the most livable city,” said Clifford Rowe, CEO, PJ Dick. “Residents can be proud that they are living in a building that was built with a commitment to sustainability, from the reuse of brownfields to the incorporation of green design and construction.”

As a brownfield development project in an urban location, Hot Metal Flats reuses a piece of land in close proximity to the riverfront which had been damaged by the steel mill formerly located on the site. Through the efforts of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the site was purchased, cleared and entered into the PADEP Act 2 program in preparation for redevelopment. The Oxford team, with assistance from the URA, completed the site preparation activities by removing existing foundations and historic fill, much of which was processed and reused onsite to provide a suitable building pad, and was responsible for remediation in accordance with the site Act 2 guidelines.

Access to public and alternative transportation methods and connection to community scored high with the project’s location in the dynamic South Side Works community. The inclusion of EV charging stations and bicycle storage also contributed to this aspect.

But the most beneficial measures for residents have been taken in the design, construction and maintenance of the interior spaces. The building provides an improved indoor environment for tenants through the incorporation of low emitting paints, sealants and flooring materials. These materials incorporate a minimum amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) which have proven to have long term health impacts, especially in residential settings. Maintenance is undertaken utilizing green and sustainable products. The spaces were also designed to provide a significant amount of natural daylighting in living spaces – Hot Metal Flats has provided direct line of sight views from nearly 99 percent of all regularly occupied spaces.

More information about Hot Metal Flats is available at

Christine Mondor Selected to Join Penn State University Stuckeman School Advisory Board
February 29, 2016

evolveEA Principal, Christine Mondor, was selected for the 2016 Penn State University Stuckeman School Advisory Board, which informs the School’s understanding of contemporary design practice. The Stuckeman School houses the Department of Architecture, the Department of Landscape Architecture and the Graphic Design Program at Penn State. Joining the board of roughly a dozen leading professionals aligns with Christine’s interests as a design educator, practicing architect, researcher and thinker. The Advisory Board seeks to shape the future of architecture and design by integrating curriculum and practice, and focusing on emerging ideas and issues in the field.

evolveEA’s B Corp Recertification Reflects Improved Implementation of Company’s Social and Environmental Mission
December 22, 2015

As part of a growing nationwide movement towards benefits corporations, evolveEA has successfully completed its first recertification as a B Corp. As one of four Pittsburgh companies to hold B Corp certification, evolveEA has met the rigorous standards of social and environmental performance. B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Today, there is a growing community of more than 1,400 Certified B Corps from 42 countries and over 120 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business.

evolveEA’s recertification resulted from a concerted team effort across the organization. Christine Mondor, Principal and cofounder of evolveEA, remarked:

“Environmental sustainability and organizational empowerment have always been part of evolve’s DNA—it’s who we are and what we do. Becoming a certified B Corp has helped us by providing a framework to measure many aspects of how we live up to our mission. This process has enabled us to hone our efforts and establish policies that boost our effectiveness, embody our commitment to the environment and create equitable business and labor practices.”

The evolve team had lunch with visitors from B Lab after they conducted an on-site audit.

The Environmental Practices category of the Impact Assessment helped evolveEA improved its score this year, which is up from 106 to 119 total points out of a possible 200. After being randomly selected to undergo an on-site audit as part of recertification, the evolve office met with the B Lab team that administers certification. “Taking a little extra time to verify our assessment and meet with B Lab staff a couple months ago helped validate our achievements as well as our place within the B Corp network,” said Christine.

Another benefit is participation in a global network of other certified and mission-driven companies. To foster this network in the Pittsburgh area, they presented on panels about B Corps at the Non-profit Leadership Summit and at a Green Building Alliance evnet. Panelists and audience members agreed about the win-win aspects of B Corp certification and said they hope to see a proliferation of B Corp certified companies in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge Closes Its Third Competition as evolveEA Wins in Small Business Category
December 03, 2015

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Sustainable Pittsburgh revealed the leaders of the 2014-2015 Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge, a yearlong, friendly competition for businesses, nonprofits, municipalities, and universities to track and measure improvements in energy, water, waste, and transportation. The finale and awards ceremony took place from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm at The Andy Warhol Museum on Pittsburgh’s North Side.

evolveEA green workplace challenge award 2015

evolve Principal, Marc Mondor, accepts the Small Business Green Workplace Challenge Award at the Andy Warhol Museum

evolveEA has participated in the Challenge since its first round three years ago, when we led the small business category and enacted a series of policies and protocols to help us track the impact of sustainability initiatives we were already doing, as well as improve our workplace in a number of ways. We’re very proud to have been recognized again this year as the leading green workplace in the small business category! Over the years we’ve been able to reduce our energy usage, increase our engagement with our community, reduce the waste coming from our office operations and share our experiences with other local companies to help them do the same.

Fifty employers from throughout southwestern Pennsylvania completed the competition, which began in October 2014 and ended on October 31, 2015. These participants took a total of 1,931 “green actions,” each of which earned them points in the challenge. Point-earning actions ranged from switching out less efficient light bulbs for more energy efficient ones, establishing recycling programs, encouraging carpooling, and over 200 more! Over the course of three competitions, 200+ participants took 5,831 actions.

Sustainable Pittsburgh presented special awards for the Top Energy Saver, Top Water Saver, and new this year: Top Waste Reducer and Top Commuter Footprint Reducer. We were especially pleased when Sustainable Pittsburgh presented the Top Legacy Performer award to a longtime community partners of ours, Conservation Consultants, Inc. (CCI). CCI has seen savings of 65.5% in energy compared to the original baseline year of 2010-2011 (which was the year of the first competition).

We are pleased to extend congratulations to all of the 2014-2015 GWC top scorers in each category:

  • Micro Business Category Winner: Pashek Associates – 235 points
  • Small Business Category Winner: evolveEA – 598 points
  • Medium Business Category Winner: The Mall at Robinson – 507 points
  • Large Business Category Winner: Highmark – 1,003 points
  • Micro Nonprofit Category Winner: Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) – 431 points
  • Small Nonprofit Category Winner: GTECH –722 points
  • Medium Nonprofit Category Winner – Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh – 743 points
  • University Category Winner: University of Pittsburgh – 770 points
  • Small Municipality/Local Government winner: Monaca Borough – 310 points
  • Large Municipality/Local Government winner is Allegheny County – 1,353 points.


The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh received the Top Energy Saver award for achieving the highest percentage of measured reduction in workspace energy consumption from this competition year compared to the prior year. The Museums reduced their energy usage 21.5% over the course of the year. Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh also received the Top Water Saver award, having reduced their water usage 17%.

Allegheny County received the Top Waste Reducer award, having a 62% reduction in landfilled waste mass. GTECH Strategies received the Top Commuter Footprint Reducer award, having reduced their commuter footprint by 9.4% over the past year. This award goes to the organization that demonstrated the largest percentage reduction in equivalent greenhouse gas emissions from their commuter profile when people switch from more impactful modes of transit (such as driving alone) to less impactful modes, such as public transit, vanpools, carpools, bicycling, or walking.

All winners received special awards made from reclaimed materials, produced by partners through the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.

The cumulative energy savings since the first GWC competition in 2011, through this third competition ending in 2015, resulted in over $8.9 million saved (including social cost of carbon: $9.35-$10.1 million). This translates to saving a year’s worth of energy for 9,741 average U.S. households, or in other words, more than 10% of single family homes located in the City of Pittsburgh. In terms of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, participants saved over 2,865 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which translates to roughly 73 airline flights of 500 miles: roughly 2/3 of a day worth of all flights leaving Pittsburgh International Airport on a typical day. Additionally, participants saved 2,700 pounds of PM 2.5 from entering the atmosphere.

Pittsburgh Green Workplace ChallengeMatt Mehalik, Program Director for Sustainable Pittsburgh, said, “The organizations that have participated in the Green Workplace Challenge once again illustrate that each action to save resources contributes to a larger effort that makes a significant impact. Our region moves along towards a more sustainable path with each and every effort. Taking green, sustainable actions in the workplace indeed make an important difference.”

Marc Mondor of evolveEA Selected as 2015 LEED Fellow
October 21, 2015

ColorManaging Principal and Cofounder of evolveEA, Marc Mondor, AIA / LEED Faculty, has been named a 2015 LEED Fellow by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). This year’s 35 Fellows are being honored for their outstanding work as LEED Professionals and for the significance of their contributions to the green building community at large. The LEED Fellow designates the most exceptional professionals and it is the most prestigious designation awarded from GBCI.

“Marc is a remarkable individual who has long been a leader in the green building movement,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO, GBCI and CEO and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “His expertise and excitement motivates all of us to continue to look ahead to what’s next and to continue the innovation that has been the hallmark of our movement. Sharing his passion, knowledge and commitment, Marc anchors both the past and the future of our movement.”

To be selected, LEED Fellows are nominated by their peers, undergo an extensive portfolio review, must have at least 10 years of experience in the green building industry and hold a LEED AP with specialty credential, among other requirements. The evaluation process is carried out by the LEED Fellow evaluation committee.

“It’s extremely rewarding to be recognized by my very noteworthy peers for simply doing what I do every day — advocating for sustainability and progress,” said Marc regarding GBCI’s decision. Marc takes pride in seeing the potential for design and sustainability innovation where others do not, and he has been an influential voice in sustainability since the early 1990s. At evolveEA, Marc works with greening design and construction projects in order to leverage organizational and operational sustainability while raising awareness within all who will listen. His consulting work has led to many notable and innovative firsts, including the first LEED certified project in Africa, the oldest LEED EB certified project (1869) and the first LEED certified supermarket. Since 2006, Marc has taught nearly one hundred workshops nationally to thousands of attendees. He is also helping to change his region by serving as Chair of AIA Pennsylvania’s Committee on the Environment (COTE), as well as serving on other boards. Marc received his Bachelor’s of Architecture from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and studied sustainable design in Scandinavia.

The 2015 LEED Fellows will be recognized in Washington, DC at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, which is being held Nov.18-20, 2015. In addition, Marc will be teaching a session called “The Integrated Design Process as Key to LEED V4 and Living Building Challenge Certification (LD01)” at the conference. For more information about the LEED Fellow program, visit

Heinz History Center’s New Museum Conservation Center Achieves LEED Gold Certification
October 15, 2015

We are pleased to announce that the Museum Conservation Center at the Heinz History Center has achieved LEED NC Gold certification. The nine-story facility houses the Museum Conservation Center, which opened last September and provides the public a place to bring valuable heirlooms for professional conservation services and advice. Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center is one of the first museums in the United States to offer these services directly to the public, and is also an educational resource for anyone interested in preserving or restoring historical artifacts. The Museum Conservation Center holds workshops to teach visitors about conservations processes, drawing upon the techniques used by professional staff in protecting the History Center’s collection. The Museum Conservation Center also houses 55,000 sf of state-of-the-art storage space for the Heinz History Center’s collection of more than 32,000 artifacts.


photo courtesy of Heinz History Center

LEED certification presents significant challenges for museum and archive facilities, where temperature, lighting, security, and other requirements can be energy intensive. This project was able to achieve the impressive Gold level certification thanks to thorough coordination between all members of the project team from the beginning design phases through construction and occupancy. evolveEA was selected by Heinz History Center to facilitate this coordination, and provided the team with the necessary understanding of the LEED framework to ensure the project’s successful certification. The rest of the project team consisted of The Design Alliance (architect), Mascaro Construction (contractor), Limbach (HVAC contractor), and Ferry Electric.

The Museum Conservation Center is located behind the History Center in the Strip District at 1221 Penn Ave. and is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, primarily by appointment. The Conservation Center is also hosting several workshops this fall, when visitors can learn museum-quality techniques for preserving their cherished heirlooms. More information about the workshops is available on the Heinz History Center’s website.

evolveEA Becomes Pittsburgh’s First JUST Organization
September 17, 2015

A JUST label is similar to a nutrition label on a package of food in its purpose, which is to help consumers understand the “ingredients” or composition of a company—its values, business model, policies and workplace culture. evolveEA has recently become the first company in the Pittsburgh region to publish a JUST label, joining an emerging movement to improve transparency and encourage a more equitable economy. JUST is a program that has grown out of the sustainable architecture field, as the idea of green buildings and communities encompasses not only environmental issues but social equity as well.

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) is the organization that administers the Living Building Challenge—widely considered to be the ultimate green building certification for projects that achieve Net Zero energy and water use while also meeting very high standards for healthy and sustainable materials. ILFI started the JUST program as a way to benchmark organizations in the categories of Diversity, Equity, Safety, Worker Benefit, Local Benefit and Stewardship. The website,, explains:

The International Living Future Institute’s™ JUST™ program is a voluntary disclosure program and tool for all types and sizes of organizations. JUST is, quite simply, a call to social justice action. It is not a verification or certification program. Rather, the program provides an innovative transparency platform for organizations to reveal much about their operations, including how they treat their employees and where they make financial and community investments.

evolveEA has a history of early adoption when it comes to sustainability frameworks. The firm has managed projects such as the first-ever LEED certified supermarket, the first LEED Gold building in all of Africa, and worked on one of the first certified Living Buildings. The firm also earned B Corp certification in 2013, joining a community of companies demonstrating leadership in environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Publishing a JUST label fits evolveEA’s model for advancing sustainable Processes, Places and People, and we hope to see many more organizations participate in the program. Below is our label, showing that we’ve achieved three out of three stars for the majority of the label’s social justice and equity indicators.




ILFI is promoting the JUST program here in Pittsburgh at its Living Product Expo, where evolveEA’s Christine Mondor is discussing transparency and employee engagement with a panel of leaders from other companies who have published labels. The ILFI has declared:

JUST marks the beginning of a new era of corporate transparency. The Institute invites organizations everywhere to evaluate themselves through this social justice and equity lens and become a JUST organization. With support from participating organizations, JUST will help create a better, more socially just and equitable world.

Upper Lawrenceville Community Visioning and Development Plan Receives “Great Places” Planning Award
May 27, 2015

The Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA), in partnership with Project for Public Spaces (PPS), has recognized evolveEA’s work in Upper Lawrenceville, also known as Pittsburgh’s 10th Ward, with a Great Places Award. The Upper Lawrenceville Targeted Development Strategy was developed through a series of charrettes led by evolveEA in which we helped the community craft a neighborhood identity and a series of principles guiding future development to achieve the community’s long-term livability goals. The principles built upon the existing physical and cultural legacy of Upper Lawrenceville but also were aspirational, seeding a vision for a future yet to come focused on economic, cultural and environmental issues.


Upper Lawrenceville Plaza

EDRA is presenting the award at its annual conference in Los Angeles, California, being held May 27-30. Christine Mondor, evolveEA’s principal for the project, said, “The Upper Lawrenceville plan strongly emphasized growth from a sense of place and culture that is unique to the 10th Ward and to Pittsburgh. We are honored that EDRA and PPS, both influential organizations in placemaking and design, recognized the validity of this approach and the community’s vision.”

Many Lawrenceville residents participated in the community workshops, and some were inspired to action almost immediately. Two neighbors were opened a local grocery, attracting crowdfunding and grants to launch it. As other food-based projects and businesses started, a campaign was designed to promote access to fresh foods and gardening. One of the central corridor’s biggest vacant properties is being redeveloped as mixed-income housing, and a large green infrastructure demonstration project was installed at one of the neighborhood’s commercial facilities. Other projects currently underway include a new park, organic orchard and stormwater retention pool, and there has been a sharp increase in renovation activity throughout Upper Lawrenceville.

The project also received Urban Design Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects at both the city and state levels last year. The Great Places Award brings international attention to this distinctive Pittsburgh community and the project team, whose members are all based in the Pittsburgh region.


Matthew Galluzzo, Executive Director of the Lawrenceville Corporation, said:

Together with our sister organization, Lawrenceville United, we’re very proud to count evolveEA and the Design Center as partners in creating the Upper Lawrenceville Community Visioning Plan. It was a remarkable planning process, bringing together a broad and dynamic swath of community stakeholders. The process yielded a powerful and utilitarian vision for the neighborhood. The report has already served as a roadmap, enabling us to create demonstrable progress in our shared pursuit a 21st century neighborhood.

And Chris Koch, Executive Director of The Design Center, said:

The Design Center provided technical assistance and funding to this project to ensure the 10th Ward of Pittsburgh had a road map to support its redevelopment efforts. We were thrilled that evolveEA was selected through our Design Fund process as they were uniquely qualified to deliver an innovative, community-driven planning process that has already led to successfully implemented projects.

EDRA is an international organization founded in 1968 to advance and disseminate environmental design research, thereby improving understanding of the inter-relationships of people with their built and natural surroundings toward creation and curation of environments responsive to human needs.

Project for Public Spaces is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities.

evolveEA collaborated on the project with Lawrenceville Corporation and Lawrenceville United, two community development organizations that have for years fostered neighborhood improvement throughout Lawrenceville’s three districts — Lower, Central, and Upper Lawrenceville. The project was supported by a grant from The Design Center of Pittsburgh. The project team also included Fourth Economy Consulting, who provided an economic analysis for the development strategy.

Christine Mondor Wins Sustainable Energy Leadership Award
May 15, 2015

biztimes-awardThe Pittsburgh Business Times held its annual Energy Leadership Awards on May 14th, recognizing 21 leaders contributing to the Pittsburgh region’s energy economy in a variety of ways. evolveEA Principal, Christine Mondor, received an award in the Sustainable category. A special supplement in the Pittsburgh Business Times focused on evolveEA’s design and consulting work on green buildings and sustainable communities, mentioning some of our past and current local clients such as the Pittsburgh Opera, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, the Borough of Millvale and the community of Larimer.

Some of our partners also received awards: A local LEED project we are currently working on, the Energy Innovation Center, was recognized for its leadership in “building bridges to job creation, entrepreneurship and urban economic revitalization,” and Anna Siefken of the Green Building Alliance received an award for Corporate Social Engagement based on the work she has done with commercial building owners and operators in the Pittsburgh 2030 District.

We’re proud to be recognized alongside some of the region’s most influential people and organizations working to transform the energy industry, and would like to extend congratulations to all of the award winners!

evolveEA Honored with Sustainable Small Business Award
April 13, 2015

The Duquesne University Center for Green Industries and Sustainable Business Growth has selected evolveEA as the winner of its third Annual Sustainable Small Business Award! Citing evolveEA’s role in helping to certify over 50 LEED projects since 2004, and our other community-based sustainability consulting work, the award recognizes the positive impacts of our work and our commitment to triple-bottom-line sustainability. An announcement about the award also highlights evolveEA’s B Corp certification, our commitment to carbon-neutrality, and our involvement in the Pittsburgh 2030 District and Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge.

The award was presented on Wednesday, April 22, as part of Pittsburgh’s citywide Earth Day celebration. The awards ceremony was part of a Celebrate Sustainability Speakers Event at Vallozzi’s in Market Square, and members of evolveEA participated in a panel discussion about sustainability in Pittsburgh. We are honored to share this recognition with our community partners and clients, without whom our impact would be much less widespread. A big thank you to the Duquesne University Center for Green Industries and Sustainable Business Growth!

Phipps’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes Achieves Living Building Challenge Certification
March 10, 2015

Phipps Center for Sustainable LandscapesA world leader in sustainable innovation, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has achieved the Living Building Challenge™ for its Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL), a facility that houses groundbreaking sustainability research and science education programs, and serves as a key part of the public garden’s immersive visitor experience. In producing all of its own renewable energy, and treating and reusing all water captured on site, the CSL demonstrates the benefits of humanity living in harmony with nature.

evolveEA managed the LEED and Living Building Challenge certification processes for the CSL project and is proud to have worked with the Phipps team as sustainability consultants on a number of green building projects at the Phipps campus in Pittsburgh. Part of our strategic consulting work with Phipps was to help instill organizational goals like achieving a zero waste, and environmentally sensitive campus and culture.

Now, about eight years after kicking off our engagement with Phipps, the CSL is the first and only project to attain the planet’s four highest sustainable building certifications:

  • Living Building Challenge, the world’s most rigorous green building standard
  • LEED® Platinum — tied for the highest points awarded under version 2.2
  • First and only Four Stars Sustainable SITES Initiative™ (SITES™) for landscapes project (pilot)
  • First and only WELL Building Platinum project (pilot)

In order to meet the Living Building Challenge of the International Living Future Institute™, which calls for the creation of buildings that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as a flower, projects must meet stringent requirements related to site, health, equity, beauty and materials, and prove net-zero energy and water performance over the course of one year.

 CSL Features

  • A former brownfield site that has been transformed into a restorative landscape with native plants and a green roof for visitors to explore
  • 125 kW onsite photovoltaic solar panels, vertical axis wind turbine, and 14 geothermal wells
  • Passive-first strategies for natural ventilation, daylighting and minimal energy use
  • Cisterns, a lagoon, rain gardens and constructed wetlands treat all storm and sanitary water
  • Biophilic art and designs that celebrate humans’ innate connections to nature

“With the CSL, we see opportunities to push the envelope even further when it comes to sustainable design and operations — to share what we have learned about how our buildings can impact the health of the planet and people for generations to come,” says Phipps Executive Director Richard V. Piacentini.

“Phipps’ Living Building is one of the most important projects of its kind in the world, demonstrating to the design community and thousands of annual visitors a profound new paradigm for responsible design and construction,” says Jason F. McLennan, CEO, International Living Future Institute.

evolveEA Principal Marc Mondor has called the Center for Sustainable Landscapes “…a model for integrating buildings with their surrounding landscape by creating systems that restore the environment instead of depleting it.” We are truly inspired by this project, which reflects Pittsburgh’s remarkable transformation into a 21st century hub for sustainable innovation.

Learn more about our work with Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens >

More from evolveEA about the Living Building Challenge >

Erie, Pennsylvania Celebrates the City’s First LEED Gold Project: The Erie Art Museum
January 13, 2015

Green Building Alliance, City officials, project team members and Erie residents participate in a free afternoon program called The Art of Being Green.

Erie-Art-Museum-ExtThe Erie Art Museum hosted a celebration Sunday honoring the green building certification awarded by the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for its recently opened renovation and addition. evolveEA served as sustainability consultant for the project, coordinating the architects at Edge Studio (now GBBN), museum stakeholders and the rest of the project team to ensure high level and cost-effective LEED certification. The project is Erie’s first to achieve LEED Gold certification, the second-highest level of sustainability achievement in the LEED rating system. This local team had no experience with LEED, but embraced it as an organizing framework. As EAM Director John Vanco mentioned in his remarks, “Green buildings are an essential aspect of humanity’s response to the monumental task of addressing global climate change.”

EAM-insitu1evolveEA also designed the green building education graphics, which include signs posted throughout the museum to explain some of the building’s sustainable design features, brochures and a tour program designed to further explain these concepts. Sunday’s event also featured presentations by Erie Mayor Joseph Sinnott, and evolveEA Principals Marc and Christine Mondor, representing both evolveEA and the Green Building Alliance. The event attracted many families from the Erie area who enjoyed a LEED scavenger hunt led by museum staff, free access to the galleries and arts and crafts making. Located in Downtown Erie, the museum has a diverse visitor base and stands as a cultural and educational hub for tens of thousands of visitors annually.

Architect Anne Chen of GBBN and LEED consultant Marc Mondor of evolveEA joined Erie Art Museum Director John Vanco and Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott for the unveiling of the LEED Gold plaque in the museum lobby. The Erie Times-News quoted Mondor referring to the project as “a building that is a symbol to the whole community about what is possible.” Mayor Sinnott stated that the museum is a model for future green buildings in Erie.

The Erie Art Museum is a wonderful example of a project that addressed sustainability comprehensively. With a progressive owner that really encouraged us to explore, sustainability goals of site infiltration, building reuse, clean air, high energy and water efficiency were pursued and have been operationally instituted. The addition is a gorgeous architecturally-striking plaza and entry that lets in copious, yet controlled amounts of daylight. This was the first time that most of the team members had worked on a LEED project, and everyone really pulled their weight. We’re also pleased that the building is a centrally-located, historic and well-regarded community anchor.  — Marc Mondor

Certified in 2014, the Erie Art Museum was evolveEA’s 50th LEED Certified Project since our founding in 2004.

Local news coverage of the event includes the following links:
Erie museum celebrates ‘Art of Being Green’
Erie Art Museum Acquires LEED Certification

Upper Lawrenceville Community Visioning and Development Plan Receives AIA Honor Awards at the City and State Levels
November 12, 2014

The Pennsylvania chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as well as AIA Pittsburgh have each recognized evolveEA’s work in Upper Lawrenceville, or the Tenth Ward, with Honor Awards in Regional and Urban Design. The Upper Lawrenceville Targeted Development Strategy was developed through a series of charrettes led by evolveEA in which we helped the community craft a neighborhood identity and a series of principles guiding future development to achieve the community’s long-term livability goals. The principles built upon the existing physical and cultural legacy of Upper Lawrenceville but also were aspirational, seeding a vision for a future yet to come focused on economic, cultural and environmental issues.


Upper Lawrenceville Plaza

AIA Pittsburgh held its annual awards gala on October 23rd in Pittsburgh and the AIA Pennsylvania Celebration of Architectural Excellence Awards Gala was held at the world-renowned BARNES Foundation in Philadelphia on November 12. Christine Mondor, AIA, evolveEA’s principal for the project, said, “The Upper Lawrenceville plan strongly emphasized growth from a sense of place and culture that is unique to the 10th Ward and to Pittsburgh. We are honored that two national juries recognized the validity of this approach.”

Many Lawrenceville residents participated in the community workshops, and some were inspired to action almost immediately. A new fresh food access and marketing initiative, and a handful of local businesses and beautification projects launched by residents point to the sense of pride that has driven community activation in the year since the visioning process was completed. There has also been significant development activity at some of the sites identified in the plan as neighborhood anchors, and a sharp increase in building permits and renovation activity throughout Upper Lawrenceville, with home renovations and sales rising steadily, indicate promising trends guided by the community’s creation of the Development Strategy.


AIA Pittsburgh Honor Award - evolveEA


This study is a really comprehensive look at the existing residential fabric with a strong point of view towards handling growth. It is very well presented, attuned to the existing scale, and very sensitive to the needs of existing residents. 

Matthew Galluzzo, Executive Director of the Lawrenceville Corporation, said:

Together with our sister organization, Lawrenceville United, we’re very proud to count evolveEA and the Design Center as partners in creating the Upper Lawrenceville Community Visioning Plan. It was a remarkable planning process, bringing together a broad and dynamic swath of community stakeholders. The process yielded a powerful and utilitarian vision for the neighborhood. The report has already served as a roadmap, enabling us to create demonstrable progress in our shared pursuit a 21st century neighborhood.

And Chris Koch, Executive Director of The Design Center, said:

The Design Center provided technical assistance and funding to this project to ensure the 10th Ward of Pittsburgh had a road map to support its redevelopment efforts. We were thrilled that evolveEA was selected through our Design Fund process as they were uniquely qualified to deliver an innovative, community-driven planning process that has already led to successfully implemented projects.

evolveEA collaborated on the project with Lawrenceville Corporation and Lawrenceville United, two community development organizations that have for years fostered neighborhood improvement throughout Lawrenceville’s three districts — Lower, Central, and Upper Lawrenceville. The project was supported by a grant from The Design Center of Pittsburgh. The project team also included Fourth Economy Consulting, based in Pittsburgh, who provided an economic analysis for the development strategy.

evolveEA Designated as LEED Proven Provider Under New USGBC Program
October 03, 2014

LEED-Proven-Provider_rgb_webThe new LEED Proven Provider designation was launched by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), the USGBC’s certification arm, to streamline the LEED project review process for experienced organizations that demonstrate consistent excellence in administering LEED projects. evolveEA is proud to announce our designation as one of the first LEED Proven Providers (ID+C) after having participated in the program’s beta testing last year.

“LEED Proven Provider makes the LEED review process faster and more seamless,” said Doug Gatlin, vice president of program delivery, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and GBCI. “It allows GBCI to deliver faster reviews of LEED projects while still maintaining the integrity of the LEED certification process.”

LEED Proven Provider is designed to minimize the need for additional work during the project review process. It also creates an opportunity for participants and LEED reviewers to work together to enhance the LEED certification experience and facilitates direct engagement with and support for project teams.

“One of the many things we’ve heard from customers is that the LEED review process can be complex,” added Gatlin. “LEED Proven Provider rewards organizations that are submitting great LEED applications while speeding up the review process, which is a benefit that participants can pass along to their clients.”

— US Green Building Council

evolveEA recently celebrated our tenth anniversary as a consulting and design firm dedicated to advancing sustainable systems and solutions. Having managed some of the earliest LEED certified projects in our region and abroad, such as the first ever LEED certified supermarket and the first LEED certified building on the African continent, the firm has been a notable force in stewarding and promoting what is now the most prominent green building rating system. More recently, evolveEA managed the LEED certification for the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes, which received the highest ever LEED score of any new building. We are excited to be able to leverage our Proven Provider status to benefit our clients and to continue to advance the proliferation of healthier and greener built environments.

Christine Mondor Selected to Join Ecodistricts Global Protocol Advisory Committee
July 21, 2014

Christine Mondor, Principal of evolveEA, has been selected as one of eighty international experts, practitioners and leaders to be part of the Ecodistricts Global Protocol Advisory Committee. Ecodistricts creatively synthesize ecology, economics and placemaking to create strong communities and the concept has successfully been used in community based planning projects across the country. evolveEA has successfully worked with communities in Western Pennsylvania to incorporate innovative energy, water and food systems into the design of neighborhoods, planned developments and urban districts., a Portland, Oregon based non-profit, is convening the Global Protocol Advisory Committee. The Global Protocol Advisory Committee will discuss goals, milestones and deliverables for establishing a broad adoption of ecodistrict planning and sharing of knowledge. holds an annual summit to promote sustainable urban design principles. Christine Mondor presented at the summit in Boston in November 2013, was part of a Pittsburgh team at the 2014 Ecodistricts Incubator in Portland, Oregon, and will be presenting this fall at the Ecodistricts Summit in Washington, DC. describes the Protocol as follows:

The Protocol is a platform for building district governance and leadership, a framework for unleashing innovation, a system for encouraging and rewarding leadership, and a blueprint for creating just, sustainable and resilient cities and neighborhoods for all. Focusing on process and upstream performance, the EcoDistricts Protocol addresses many common challenges that have emerged in our efforts to regenerate our communities successfully. This includes the lack of rigorous project governance, interdisciplinary goal-setting, fragmented project assessment processes, and a continued reliance on traditional funding models.

evolveEA has been leading ecodistrict planning, design, and stakeholder education initiatives in a number of communities since 2009. The firm’s approach to promoting equity for community members by fostering grassroots capacity-building has been recognized with design awards and invitations to collaborate nationally and internationally.

AIA+2030 Series: A Year of Capacity Building for Pittsburgh Professionals
May 05, 2014

AIA + 2030 Session 10


Last spring, AIA Pittsburgh’s newly reconvened Committee On The Environment (COTE) launched an initiative to bring high-level sustainability training to the region’s design and construction professionals. Adopting a national curriculum called AIA+2030, the series of ten workshops is intended to drive improvement among Pittsburgh’s new and existing buildings with respect to their energy efficiency, water use, indoor air quality, and other environmental factors. Alongside Downtown Pittsburgh’s 2030 District, and the global 2030 Challenge, the program enables industry professionals to understand and achieve efficiency targets that increase incrementally over the coming 16 years, reaching net-zero energy for new buildings and significant reductions for existing buildings by the year 2030. Regional practitioners and experts delivered the workshops, using case studies from their portfolios to demonstrate how goal setting, simulation, site planning, envelope, systems, and operations contribute to the creation of buildings that can meet the 2030 Challenge.

AIA+2030With the tenth and final session bringing the series to a close last week, participants were enthusiastic about applying what they’ve learned in their projects. COTE member Melanie Como Harris, AIA, LEED AP, of IKM Inc., has been posting summaries of each workshop on the AIA Pittsburgh blog, helping to generate more widespread interest in the program as the committee plans to offer the series again next year. As 2030 Challenge and 2030 District targets will increasingly generate demand for the expertise needed to create new high performing buildings and improve existing buildings, AIA Pittsburgh and the committee recognize that bringing the education series to as many regional professionals as possible over the next few years is of vital importance to the region’s future.

On Thursday, May 8, AIA Pittsburgh will hold its annual continuing education conference, Build Pittsburgh, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. evolveEA Principal, Marc Mondor, AIA, LEED Faculty and COTE Chair, will lead a 90-minute seminar summarizing all ten sessions and explaining how the principles and methods taught in the series can be applied to ongoing and new projects. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone considering future participation in the program or wishing to learn more about the 2030 Challenge.