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

 

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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”.

 

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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.

AIA+2030 Professional Series 2.0
March 15, 2016

AIA+2030

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

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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.

Registration
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.

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

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.”

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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 hotmetalapartments.com.

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.

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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.

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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 usgbc.org/leed/credentials/leed-fellow.

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.

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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, justorganizations.com, 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.

 

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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.

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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.

Ecodistricts.org, 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. Ecodistricts.org 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.

Ecodistricts.org 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.

Sheetz Shwellness Center Earns LEED Gold Certification
April 24, 2014

Opened in 2012, the 11,000-square-foot Sheetz Shwellness Center has just become Blair County’s first LEED-certified building. The LEED Gold facility is an employee health and wellness center located near Altoona, Pennsylvania adjacent to the distribution center for the Sheetz convenience store chain. evolveEA assisted the design and construction team with aspects of the LEED certification process, and attended Sheetz’s Earth Day ceremony where Joe Sheetz, President and CEO of Sheetz, was presented with the LEED Gold Certificate by Mike Schiller, Executive Director of the Green Building Alliance, Pittsburgh chapter of USGBC.

evolveEA’s LEED consulting for the project included project commissioning, LEED coaching and creation of a Green Building Education Plan that provides explanations of the building’s sustainability highlights through guided tours, in-place signage, and an information brochure. We are proud to have contributed to the diligent effort put forth by the Sheetz in-house architects, designers and builders who worked with other talented partners to create a space promoting healthy and ecologically-minded living. More information about the Shwellness Center can be found on this Sheetz website. Congratulations to Sheetz on this great achievement!

 

Shwellness Sustainability Brochure

Detail from evolveEA’s brochure design

Mayor Peduto Appoints Christine Mondor to Pittsburgh City Planning Commission
April 02, 2014

Pittsburgh’s new mayor, Bill Peduto, has big plans for the future of the city. Recently the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted Mayor Peduto at an economic development summit held at Carnegie Mellon University:

“We’re going to become a global model of economic development… These next 10 years are going to determine what this city’s going to be for the next 100.”

And later the same week he reiterated his commitments at a conference held by Sustainable Pittsburgh, emphasizing his administration’s attention to environmental sustainability, green infrastructure, and investing in vibrant communities throughout the city.

With these ambitious plans, evolveEA Principal Christine Mondor is honored to help the city move forward in her new role as chair of the City Planning Commission. The commission is a nine-member panel charged with guiding land use and development in the City. Christine is pleased to join the other commissioners from around the city, including:

  • Jennifer Askey
  • Fred Brown
  • Lashawn Burton-Faulk
  • Paul Gitnik, Esq.
  • John Paul Jones
  • Maelene Myers
  • Lucy Spruill
  • Barb Valaw

“Pittsburgh is proof that quality of life is connected to the design of our communities,” said Christine.  “I look forward to helping all of our communities shape their futures through the planning process.”

evolveEA Certified as Pittsburgh’s Fourth B Corporation
February 11, 2014

We’re incredibly proud to announce that evolveEA has become a Certified B Corporation™. So what exactly does that mean? B Corporations are a new kind of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. It’s like a LEED or Fair Trade certification, but actually applies to a business and the way its leadership and staff work toward social and environmental goals. There are currently over 900 Certified B Corporations from sixty industries, such as consulting, manufacturing, solar energy, and law. Some of the most recognizable B Corp certified brands include Etsy, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia and Seventh Generation.

Why did we become B Corp certified? evolveEA’s Managing Principal, Marc Mondor explains:

Our approach to greening places, processes, and communities compels us to consider all the impacts of our work and our actions. With the B Corp framework helping us to measure our impact in areas key to our mission, this is a natural fit for us. The B Corp community’s collective impact is becoming widespread and we feel it is important to spread the word about B Corporations as a vehicle for positive change.

For mission-driven businesses, B Corp certification is a recognized standard by which social and environmental goals can be measured. Not only that, but B Corps are powering a global movement to celebrate and reward people using business for good, and it’s a movement that anyone can participate in. Many of the products and services that we all purchase regularly are available from the growing roster of certified B Corps in 32 countries. Consumers are now able to give preference to products and services bearing the B Corp mark on packaging, websites, and other marketing material, which is a great way to actively support the movement. This month, the B Corp community launched its “B the Change” campaign to build on the momentum around this movement—visit www.bcorporation.net/b-the-change to learn more about how you can participate!

This movement answers a much-needed call for corporate responsibility by highlighting its value to business interests. evolveEA’s mission to advance sustainable systems and solutions already compels us to operate a green workplace and advocate for environmental sustainability. The B Lab Impact Assessment tool, however, has been quite helpful in identifying other areas for potential improvement. The scoring system provides a tracking and reporting framework that’s familiar to us as consultants on sustainability frameworks like the USGBC’s LEED system for green buildings. We’re proud to have scored above the 90th percentile among fellow B Corps in the Environment category of the assessment, but we were able to set goals for ourselves in the other categories of Governance, Community, and Workers via the assessment process.The organization behind B Corporations, B Lab, was founded in 2006. The heart of B Lab is its rigorous certification process on social and environmental performance, to which any business can apply. Companies that pass often collaborate to raise awareness, share strategies, and publicize job opportunities. In states where legislation has passed, which includes Pennsylvania where evolveEA is based, certified B Corps are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and environment in addition to the bedrock metric of shareholder value.

Pittsburgh’s Tallest Building is Getting Greener
November 20, 2013

photo © Jon Dawson

The tallest structure between Chicago and Philadelphia is the 64-floor US Steel Tower in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) occupies 40 percent of the building, or roughly 900,000 square feet of office space, spread across 23 floors. As UPMC’s sustainability consultant, evolveEA, has been managing the global health enterprise’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.

With the help of evolveEA, Winthrop Management and UPMC’s initiatives have included:

  • Lighting: Installation of a Lutron light control system which allows for the same lighting power but 15-25% less energy use, and of occupancy sensors and daylight responsive controls which ensure the lights aren’t on when not in use. The new system also has extremely low mercury content as compared to previous light bulbs.
  • Renewable energy: UPMC is purchasing 100 percent renewable or green electricity for the newest construction projects (on floors 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 25, 31, 40, 41, 42, and 55).
  • Efficient equipment: All new appliances and computers purchased for these floors is EnergyStar approved.
  • Water efficiency: Installation of low-flow and dual flush toilets to reduce water consumption. Floors that have achieved Silver certification are 30 percent more efficient than comparable floors.
  • Sustainable materials: At least 20 percent of the supplies purchased for the LEED-certified floors come from recycled materials. Adhesives, sealants, paints, flooring, composite wood and furniture contain little or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Plus, 75 percent of the construction waste on LEED-certified floors is diverted from landfills.

“Through the pursuit of LEED certification, there are a number of sustainability initiatives that UPMC has undertaken that are above and beyond conventional construction,” notes Marc Mondor, Principal at evolveEA. “As UPMC has full service leases at the Steel Tower, they don’t pay their electric and heating bills. Yet even though UPMC does not benefit from the financial savings of increased efficiency, these strategies are still pursued because it’s the right thing to do. These measures lessen environmental impact and create healthier environments for employees and visitors.”

Winthrop Management has also signed the US 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 50 percent over the next 17 years.

“UPMC and Winthrop’s work at the US Steel building exemplifies how a landlord and tenant can work together to achieve significant energy and water reductions, cost savings, and ongoing sustainability improvement,” added Mondor. “Through our work together, evolveEA has helped strategically target improvements that are resulting in substantial savings for both Winthrop and UPMC.”

Learn more about evolveEA’s work with UPMC 

Christine Mondor receives Pittsburgh Magazine Women in Business Award
October 08, 2013

evolve’s co-founder and principal, Christine Mondor was recognized last week by Pittsburgh Magazine as one of five influential Pittsburgh women in business! A profile piece about Christine can be found in the special section of Pittsburgh Magazine‘s October issue. Honored to be recognized for her long-standing dedication to improving our region through green building and community involvement, Christine told Pittsburgh Magazine that she encourages aspiring female business owners to work with their communities for positive change. The evolve team congratulates Christine on this remarkable achievement — way to go, Christine!

evolveEA Helps Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes Achieve Highest LEED Platinum Certification
September 12, 2013

Pittsburgh, PA — The Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) earned the highest LEED Platinum Certification yet achieved for a new green building. The project systematically demonstrates high performance in site design, water & energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and material conservation and use. The US Green Building Council granted the project 63 of a possible 69 points under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) version 2 rating system. Only one other new building has achieved this level of green building distinction.

The CSL is also seeking designation as the region’s first project to achieve the Living Building Challenge from the International Living Futures Institute, and a four star Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) Certification for landscape design. The CSL aspires to be the first project to achieve all three exacting green building standards.

The CSL serves as an educational and research facility and provides self guided tours to anyone visiting Phipps Conservatory. The facility has a high performance building envelope, efficient HVAC systems, geothermal space conditioning, daylighting and natural ventilation to minimize energy use. A solar PV array and vertical wind turbine produce more renewable energy than the building uses. Natural plant ecosystems recycle more water than the CSL consumes by filtering building waste and rainwater to irrigate plants on the adjacent Phipps Campus. The CSL is flanked by a restorative landscape that includes a roof garden, lagoon, rain gardens and constructed wetlands.

“The CSL is designed to be “living,” giving more back to the environment than it takes.” said Marc Mondor, Principal of evolveEA, Phipps’ sustainability consultant on the project. “The CSL is a model for integrating buildings with their surrounding landscape by creating systems that restore the environment instead of depleting it. The visibility of the systems has a beauty that reinforces the project’s aesthetics.”

Based on a successful long term relationship that has previously achieved LEED Platinum Existing Building Certification for the Phipps Production Greenhouse, evolveEA worked with Phipps to establish the CSL project goals and to select the project team. In order to reinforce the regional nature of sustainability, Pittsburgh- and Pennsylvania-based firms were chosen including: The Design Alliance Architects, CJL Engineering (mechanical, electrical & plumbing engineering), Andropogon Associates (landscape architecture), Civil & Environmental Consultants (civil & water engineering), Atlantic Engineering Services (structural engineering), 7 Group (integrative design consultants & energy modeling), Massaro Corporation (preconstruction cost estimating) and Pitchford Diversified Inc. and H.F. Lenz (commissioning). Energy Independent Solutions designed and constructed the solar and wind power generation systems. Turner Construction was the general contractor with overall responsibility for project construction. evolveEA provided expertise in the sustainable design and construction process, and managed the LEED and Living Building Challenge certifications for Phipps.

By challenging the project team to design and construct one of the greenest buildings in the world, Phipps is demonstrating what is possible—and is inspiring others to do the same.

evolveEA Papers on Green Building and Organizational Sustainability Published in Constructing Green Textbook and Journal of Green Building
August 16, 2013

The rapid market uptake of green building has transformed the design and construction industries, yet little attention has been given to how green buildings can transform the organizations that they house.  evolveEA has contributed to two publications that are establishing the next generation of thinking about sustainability and organizational evolution.

In Constructing Green: The Social Structures of Sustainability, published by MIT Press and edited by Rebecca Henn and Andrew Hoffman, evolveEA establishes how organizations can multiply their environmental effectiveness when they engage in a green building project. The chapter titled “Building Up to Organizational Sustainability,” by evolveEA’s principal, Christine Mondor, AIA and co-authored by Steven Hockley and David Deal, uses case studies to understand how organizations leverage green building efforts to become more sustainable across governance, policy and practices. The chapter summarizes five principles for action that demonstrate how the activity of creating buildings and landscapes can shape organizations and affect individual behavior.

The book looks beyond the technological and material aspects of green construction to examine the cultural, social, and organizational shifts that sustainable building requires. The essays offer uniquely multidisciplinary insights into the transformative potential of green building and the obstacles that must be overcome to make it the norm. “Constructing Green is a true eye-opener. It demonstrates that, in addition to technology, a new cultural mindset is needed to meet the challenges of sustainability. No other book tackles green building so effectively and in such rich detail.” —Mauro F. Guillén, Director of the Lauder Institute, Wharton School.

Journal of Green Building, from College Publishing (Volume 8, Issue 1), features evolveEA’s article, “The David Lawrence Convention Center: How Green Building Design and Operations Can Save Money, Drive Local Economic Opportunity, and Transform an Industry.” This article is a detailed case study of a two year post-occupancy evaluation of Pittsburgh’s convention center—largely recognized as one of the world’s greenest facilities. Using almost a decade of performance data, the study, led by evolveEA and commissioned by the Green Building Alliance, investigated the building’s performance and return on the initial investment in sustainability. With input from Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics, CJL Engineering, and Civil and Environmental Consultants, the Buildings-in-Operation (BiO) study defined the business case for sustainability to the region, to the facility, and guided the efforts that culminated in the world’s first LEED EBOM Platinum certification for a convention center.

Constructing Green is available through MIT Press: http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/constructing-green

Journal of Green Building is available at: http://journalofgreenbuilding.com/toc/jgrb/8/1