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Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy has Become Law in Pennsylvania
June 28, 2018

We have some legislative good news to report. The Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, also known as the C-PACE bill has become Law. Senate Bill 234 introduced by Senator Reschenthaler has been signed by Governor Wolf and became Act 30 on June 12. C-PACE, will allow municipalities to establish voluntary programs to allow financing for energy upgrades with no up front costs on new and existing buildings. Properties will simply pay the loan back, over up to 20 years as a portion of their property tax bill.

For commercial building owners, this means gaining the opportunity to access the growing number of energy efficiency and renewable energy innovations that will save on energy costs and increase the value of their properties. This revenue-neutral law is a win-win—a triple bottom line victory with no downside. For our region it means more economic vitality and more jobs. An estimated 70,000 Pennsylvanians work in in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Marc Mondor is Chair of Government Affairs for AIA Pennsylvania, who advocated strongly for this law . A similar bill for residential assessment will likely be proposed in the next legislative session.

Eastside Bond Achieves LEED ND Gold Certification
June 28, 2018

We are proud to announce that Eastside Bond in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh has achieved LEED for Neighborhood Development certification as a built project. This project is the first LEED-ND Gold project in Pennsylvania!

Eastside Bond is an excellent example of a high-quality transit-oriented development, and indeed the Port Authority has prominently featured it in their Transit-oriented Development Guidelines, gaining national attention. The site contains ground level retail and amenities, street level activity and integrated transit opportunities over two levels of parking adjacent to Pittsburgh's East Busway. The 360-unit, three housing towers on the site each earned LEED for Homes Gold level certification last year.

evolveEA served as sustainability consultant on the project and would like to commend The Mosites Company on this wonderful development.


PPG Science Pavilion Achieves LEED Gold Certification
June 12, 2018

This week Pittsburgh celebrates the opening of the new 48,000-square-foot PPG Science Pavilion at the Carnegie Science Center. The building expansion has achieved LEED Gold Certification, and will house STEM learning labs that will support a 40 percent increase in the number of young learners served at the Science Center.

"evolveEA is pleased and proud to have helped lead the sustainability efforts for this project. These were made much easier by a talented team that includes Indovina Associates Architects, Oxford Development Company, Loftus Engineers, HF Lenz Engineering, LaQuatra Bonci and Turner Construction Company."
— Marc Mondor, AIA, LEED Fellow

This thoughtful building addition lessens environmental impact by facilitating bicycling, low emitting vehicles and mass transit and by adding to an existing building. The project treats stormwater on site with a rainwater garden and has plumbing fixtures designed to save about a third from what a conventional building would use. The building is designed to save about 20 percent in energy compared to similar buildings, and the Energy Star roof has a 40 kilowatt photovoltaic array that turns sunlight into electricity in any weather.

The Carnegie Science Center chose to pursue LEED certification as a way to demonstrably save resources, lower operating costs and show leadership. The Center has signage and an exhibit to profile and promote these features, which are in line with the Center’s desire to build more responsibly, use space efficiently, use fewer resources, build more durably and operate more efficiently – and to share its strategies.

evolveEA Principals Celebrate Carnegie Mellon Energy Week
April 09, 2018
Christine Mondor with Philips Lighting CEO Chris White | Carnegie Mellon Energy Week 2018

evolveEA Principal, Christine Mondor, on stage with Philips Lighting CEO Chris White at Carnegie Mellon Energy Week 2018

Last week, we joined energy thought leaders at Carnegie Mellon University to discuss and collaborate on energy research, trends, innovative technologies, and opportunities​ as part of CMU's annual Energy Week​. Highlights included a Mayor's forum with Pittsburgh's Mayor​, Bill Peduto​,​ and the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulín Cruz​, who discussed current challenges and opportunities in urban infrastructure and energy. ​We also hosted a talk with the CEO of Philips Lighting, Chris White, and were part of a celebration for the Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall’s LEED Gold Certification. Energy Week presented a chance for us to appreciate our ongoing relationship with Carnegie Mellon, which has included managing the LEED certifications of eight buildings, with more in process! 

evolveEA Completes B Corp Recertification
February 19, 2018

evolve environment :: architecture  |  Certified B CorporationWe are pleased to report that our second successful recertification under the B Corp Impact Assessment framework was completed last month. B Corp certified companies represent a growing cohort of businesses dedicated to positive, Triple Bottom Line impact. There are now over 2,000 certified B Corps globally, and evolveEA has been one of the first handful of Pittsburgh-based companies to achieve certification since 2013.

The framework requires us to assess our impact and recertify every two years, measuring aspects of our workplace culture and the impact of our projects in four main areas: Environment, Community, Workers, and Governance. Our environmental and social mission drives us to participate in the program, while the Impact Assessment has helped us identify areas where we can enhance the positive impact of our work and cultivate a culture of sustainability in the workplace. A summary of our latest Impact Assessment can be found on our B Corp profile page.

To learn more about how your company can use the Impact Assessment, visit

Green Codes and Laws
November 16, 2017

Building Codes for a Better Built Environment

There has been activity in the Pennsylvania legislature this Fall session. First, Governor Wolf signed House Bill 409 into law, creating Act 36 of 2017. This law gets Pennsylvania building construction away from the mandatory 2009 International Codes, allowing for updated codes to be evaluated and implemented. The Review and Advisory Council (RAC), with Maura Guttman as new chair, immediately agreed to review the 2015 International Code. While not perfect, this law allows buildings to be built to better standards for efficiency and safety. Click here for more information.

Marc Mondor of evolveEA, who is also Chair of the AIA Pennsylvania Government Affairs Committee, says, "We are pleased to see forward movement toward modernizing building codes in Pennsylvania.  This long overdue measure will help building projects achieve better performance and better meet expected standards.  We see this as a step towards our goal of greater competitiveness and congruence for design and construction requirements appropriate to market expectations, building technology and our region."


A Reinvestment in Pennsylvania Solar Production

Several days later, Governor Wolf signed HB 118 into law, creating Act 40 of 2017. This law makes Pennsylvania work towards meeting its Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard goals with photovoltaic (PV) energy created solely in Pennsylvania. Previously any PV energy in the 13 state PJM territory sufficed, effectively making Pennsylvania rate payers subsidize other states for a majority of this power. The effect will be to enlarge the market for PV production in Pennsylvania.

This week Governor Wolf also announced that the Commonwealth Finance Authority’s Solar Energy Program will open a grant program of over $30 million to support the advancement of solar energy and community development. This is in addition to the CFA’s loan program already in place. Click here for more information.


Citywide Sewershed Evaluation, a Component of Pittsburgh’s Green First Plan, Receives AIA Pennsylvania Architectural Excellence Award
October 26, 2017

During an awards ceremony last night at AIA Pittsburgh’s office, PWSA and evolveEA received an Architectural Excellence Award from AIA Pennsylvania. The Citywide Sewershed Evaluation study was recognized for its integration of green infrastructure (GI) into Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods that are most prone to flooding and in need of stormwater management. The evaluation is part of PWSA’s and the City of Pittsburgh’s Green First Plan, which was publicly released last year.

evolveEA is a sustainable architecture and consulting firm based in East Liberty and a partner with PWSA on the Citywide Green First Plan. The project team for the Green First Plan also included Arcadis, Fourth Economy Consulting, Mott Macdonald, and Phronesis.

“Receiving this award is an honor for evolveEA, the City of Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority,” stated Robert Weimar, PWSA’s Interim Executive Director. “PWSA has several green infrastructure projects under construction and eventually, as more of these projects are built, they will create a network throughout the city to manage stormwater. This study helped us identify priority areas and which projects to initiate first.”

Excessive stormwater frequently overloads our region’s sewer system resulting in combined sewer overflows into our rivers. The Sewershed Evaluation and Green First Plan outline Pittsburgh’s use of green infrastructure solutions to manage stormwater. The innovative and cost-effective strategies described in the plan will help mitigate local flooding and sewer backups, work to improve water quality, and meet state and federal mandates to reduce combined sewer overflows.

“We will be better able to keep our rivers clean by thinking of rainwater as an asset and integrating it into our parks, streets, and open spaces. Green Infrastructure can make our neighborhoods more livable and is a key part of a sewershed-based solution to limit river pollution, reduce localized flooding, and prevent basement backups,” said Christine Mondor (AIA, LEED AP), evolveEA’s principal.

Green infrastructure practices such as rain gardens, tree plantings, water detention basins, stream restorations, and pervious pavement mimic nature’s ability to capture rainwater and slow its flow to our rivers and into the sewer system. Additionally, green infrastructure projects often utilize vacant and underutilized spaces within neighborhoods and result in environmental, economic, and social benefits that are not provided by traditional sewer engineering projects. GI projects help to drive revitalization efforts, create jobs, attract businesses, and create vibrant communities.

“The Citywide Green First Plan is our roadmap to not only better stormwater management, but also improved neighborhood development,” stated James Stitt, PWSA’s Sustainability Manager. “It is a comprehensive strategy to address the root cause of multiple stormwater issues that generates collaboration among city agencies and encourages participation from both public and private development. We have already begun to apply the green first approach in Polish Hill, Garfield, Banksville, and Oakland among other locations across the city and have half a dozen more projects scheduled for next year. We want stormwater to be among the first considerations when any planning project is launched.”

The AIA Pennsylvania’s 2017 Architectural Excellence Award is an annual statewide competition. There were over 150 entries submitted by architectural firms, urban planning and design firms, individuals, and government agencies throughout Pennsylvania. A panel of jurors selected the 2017 award recipients. The Citywide Sewershed Evaluation study was recognized for excellence in the Urban and Regional Design category and was one of more than 30 recipients to receive the Architectural Excellence Award.

“I want to thank AIA Pennsylvania for recognizing the City’s deep commitment to building out its green infrastructure in conjunction with PWSA. City neighborhoods prone to stormwater problems – which in turn can lead to economic and family struggles — are going to benefit greatly as we look to keep implementing our Green First Plan,” Mayor William Peduto said.


A diagram of Green Infrastructure recommendations for the Soho Run sewershed area near the Birmingham Bridge

Energy Innovation Center Achieves LEED Platinum Certification
July 14, 2017 EIC-extpic A remarkable example of building reuse and historic restoration, a Pittsburgh state-of-the-art green building has successfully met the goal of achieving a high level LEED Platinum certification. The 200,000 square-foot Energy Innovation Center (EIC), which hosts trade apprenticeship programs, energy-related technology labs for five universities, co-working facilities, and other production, design, and workspaces for nonprofit organizations and businesses, was opened in 2015 in the former Connelley Trade School Building. For years, the design team worked diligently to preserve many of the original aspects of the building while advancing the goal of creating one of the most efficient green buildings in the region. “This LEED Platinum certification is proof that in repurposing the Connelley Trade School as a center for energy innovation we didn’t just talk the talk- we walked the walk,” noted Congressman Mike Doyle, who was actively involved in the project from its inception. “Not only is the EIC a place where technologies are developed and people are trained for careers in the energy sector; it’s also an example of cutting edge energy-efficiency and sustainability.” “This project, capped off by its LEED Platinum certification, is an example of what can be done when we all work together,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “The preservation of this building, its reimagining and its place as a center for innovation in our community has all come about because of unique partnerships. Today’s announcement is just one more accolade and recognition to those who made this possible that their work and collaboration was successful. I congratulate all those involved on this significant accomplishment.” "I want to congratulate The Energy Innovation Center for this certification, which further confirms Pittsburgh's longtime commitment to LEED design," said Mayor William Peduto. The LEED Platinum certification is an important validation of the support that the project received from its funders, and the commitment by Pittsburgh Gateways Corporation and the design and construction team to transform the previously shuttered national historic landmark into a shining example of Pittsburgh’s growing clean energy economy. Dr. Aurora Sharrard of Green Building Alliance remarked: “Delivering on a decade-old vision, we’re excited to have the Energy Innovation Center become the eleventh non-residential LEED Platinum project in Western Pennsylvania — and only the fifth to renovate an existing building. LEED continues to create a high bar of achievement for green building projects — with Platinum being the top designation.” Bill Miller, COO & Vice President of Pittsburgh Gateways Corporation which founded the EIC, said: “Achieving LEED Platinum certification for an adaptive reuse of a historic building of this size is an international recognition of our efforts to reduce energy usage and provide an environmentally friendly and productive work environment. This accomplishment also dovetails nicely into our ongoing effort to provide a training platform for designing, building and operating energy efficient buildings.” Some of the energy features that contribute to the certification include:
  • Modeled to save over 50% in energy costs compared to a conventional building of similar scale;
  • Ice storage produces and stores ice overnight to deliver free cooling when it is needed in the daytime; and
  • An absorption chiller reuses heat released from other machines to power a cooling process.
Additional environmental factors that make the project an exemplary green building include:
  • The site was designed to reduce storm water runoff by over 35% and treat 80% of total suspended solids on site;
  • Water fixtures are designed to save over 40% of the water used in conventional buildings of a similar size and use;
  • Over 75% of spaces have views to the outside, and abundant natural light also helps create a healthy indoor environment;
  • Air is monitored and ventilation is adjusted by CO2 sensors;
  • As many existing materials as possible have been reused in order to avoid the environmental impact of extracting and transporting new materials;
  • All renovations are historically sensitive and meet the strict requirements of landmark alteration review and associated historic tax credit guidelines; and
  • A recently installed Combined Cooling, Heat and Power Microturbine system (CCHP) is another example of the EIC’s dedication to the application of clean, economical energy- efficient technologies, and less dependency on the less- efficient electrical grid. The CCHP system solves energy needs by converting natural gas into electricity, heating and cooling. Microturbine manufacturer, Capstone estimates an additional 30% energy savings.
“We are excited that this project does so many things well. This is a sensitive reuse of a historic building that has been brought into the 21st century by a socially meaningful organization,” says Marc Mondor, AIA, Principal of evolveEA, who acted as sustainability consultant on the project. “Water efficiency, site hydrology, materials reuse, copious daylighting, amazing views and advanced energy efficiency strategies all work together to create a pleasant and efficient building that has already become a regional institution.” The project team includes DL Astorino as Architect, CJL Engineering as MEP engineer, Klavon as Landscape Architect, evolveEA as sustainability consultant, and Mascaro Construction as General Contractor.
A LEED Plaque Dedication Ceremony will take place at the Energy Innovation Center on Tuesday, July 18th at 10:30 am. The event is open to members of the press and the community.
PITT OHIO Terminal Receives LEED Gold Certification
June 06, 2017 Pitt Ohio's LEED Gold terminal near Pittsburgh   Working with evolveEA to design and construct an energy efficient, high performing trucking terminal, PITT OHIO has earned enough points to officially certify its Cheswick, PA facility as a LEED Gold project. The 55,000 square foot terminal, responsible for servicing the Pittsburgh region, utilizes a low-emitting Energy Star roof positioned to reflect the highest percentage of the sun’s rays, cooling the surrounding area and lowering air conditioning costs. 150 LED lights are used in replacement of incandescent, saving about $2,000 a year in electricity. A geothermal well was put in place to utilize the Earth’s temperature as a heat source in the winter and a heat sink in the summer. The project also uses renewable solar and wind energy with a 60kw photovoltaic array and a WindStax Turbine.  The energy cost savings, when all forms of innovation are taken into account, are over 45% when compared to a conventional building. The Pittsburgh area terminal is the company's second LEED Gold certified building.  The 22,000 square foot Maintenance Shop Building located on the same campus received Gold distinction in late 2016. The entire site uses sustainable landscaping including bioswales, or man-made elements placed to remove pollutants and dirt from runoff, and drought tolerant native plants to cut down on water usage and prevent flooding. Low-flow appliances and fixtures are also projected to save over 30% of the water that conventional fixtures would use in the same buildings.
This makes PITT OHIO the first trucking terminal in the country with two LEED Gold projects. PITT OHIO has raised the bar, with a terminal that employs solar energy, wind energy, energy storage, stormwater retention, as well as a design that benefits all interior occupants. —Marc Mondor, AIA, LEED Fellow
evolveEA assisted PITT OHIO with the application process and submittals of all necessary documentation. “We are pleased and proud to have been a part of this project, from early goal setting sessions to this milestone of multiple LEED certifications,” said evolveEA Principal, Marc Mondor. “PITT OHIO is proud to provide its customers and employees with one of the most innovative, sustainable, LEED Gold certified facilities found anywhere in this country,” stated Jim Fields, Chief Operating Officer at PITT OHIO. “This flexible facility and world class vehicle maintenance shop have state-of-the-art features which help us attract and retain some of the most talented drivers and mechanics in the region.  It clearly represents our commitment to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and to the western Pennsylvania region.  It also demonstrates how incredibly talented people from the academic and business communities can team-up to solve complex business problems.”
Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan Wins Two National Planning Awards
May 09, 2017
Millvale Wins 2017 American Planning Award

Zaheen Hussain, Christine Mondor, Lisa Seel, and Anna Rosenblum represented the Millvale Ecodistrict team at the Planning Awards Ceremony in New York

The annual conference of the American Planing Association (APA) takes place in New York City this week and includes awards ceremonies to honor the best planning projects in the United States. The Borough of Millvale, located just across the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh, is being recognized with a Silver 2017 National Planning Achievement Award for Environmental Planning. In addition, the APA’s Sustainable Communities Division (SCD) honored Millvale’s Ecodistrict Pivot Plan with a separate award designated for a Sustainability or Resiliency Plan at its annual reception.

“Good planning practices is a common thread between strong communities all across the country, large and small,” said Millvale Sustainability Coordinator, Zaheen Hussain. “It’s an honor to receive national recognition for the work Millvalians have been putting into building a stronger, more sustainable community for the better part of a decade.  While we celebrate this achievement and the joys of accomplishing goals set within our Pivot Plan, let it be a reminder that this is only our start.”

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 effort to improve quality of life for Millvale’s existing community while attracting new residents and businesses by building a unique Ecodistrict identity.

Since the completion of Millvale’s Ecodistrict Pivot 2.0 Plan last year, the community has made significant strides in its implementation. Funding was secured for more extensive work in the Pivot Plan’s Air and Equity categories, resulting in the “Breathe Easy” report and a Community Needs Assessment. Breathe Easy, supported by the Heinz Endowments and facilitated by evolveEA, recommends actions and projects to improve air quality at the individual scale, in the borough, and in the region. The Needs Assessment kicked off this spring at the Millvale Environment & Health Fair in collaboration with GTech Strategies—it is designed to gauge issues in the Borough related to economic opportunity, education, health and other aspects of social equity among residents.

millvale ecodistrict solar array

An expanded solar array was installed on the roof of the Millvale Community Center in April 2017

Other recent accomplishments inspired by the Ecodistrict Pivot Plan include a 32kW solar installation on the Millvale Community Center, saving the Borough energy costs and offsetting 27.5 tons of CO2 emissions while helping to make Millvale more resilient in the face of potential natural disasters. The installation was leveraged to provide job training to 10 Millvale teens in the field of renewable energy through the Millvale Library Teen Solar Fellowship. Also back this year is a weekly farm stand providing Millvalians access to fresh, healthy produce and helping to reduce food insecurity in the community.

“Good planning is not just preparing the community for the future, but engaging the residents in the discussions and decision-making that will impact their lives,” said W. Shedrick Coleman, AIA, 2017 chair of APA’s Awards Jury. “This year’s award recipients advanced the planning profession by more thoroughly engaging all residents in the planning process.”

Like many riverfront mill towns, Millvale lost many businesses and residents as manufacturing declined. The town was further challenged by a history of flooding, poor air quality and a reputation as a food desert — all factors that threaten the well-being of its residents. The Pivot Plan incorporated feedback from area residents about how to address these issues, particularly those related to energy, water, food, mobility, air and equity.

Millvale Town Center Food Hub

The historic Bennett Station in Millvale's Town Center has been redesigned by evolveEA and will soon open as a Local Food Hub and Café

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. More recently, New Sun Rising acquired Millvale’s Moose Lodge and is repurposing the space as a second business incubator and commercial kitchen for food entrepreneurs.

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.   team_at_peoples   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 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 (more…)
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.

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.” (more…)
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.