Like us on Facebook
tedx talk: creating a living city
Watch Christine Mondor's TEDx Talk about Ecodistrict Planning
radio interview: marc mondor advocates for a green economy
Listen to Marc's interview on the Rick Smith Show
passive house goes to work
Passive House design is branching out beyond the home with a growing number of commercial projects
People Power: Millvale Residents Driving Ecodistrict Development
Recently the Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan was honored with two national awards from the American Planning Association—a 2017 Silver Achievement Award for Environmental Planning, and an APA Sustainable Communities Division Award. Firmly established as a regional leader in sustainable planning and redevelopment, Millvale’s national reputation has been growing since the Borough’s participation in the EcoDistricts.org Incubator program in 2015. A visit to Millvale and a few casual conversations with the locals will bring to light its quirky, unique character, which... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on May 08, 2017
Chat With Nico: Data, Planning and Design
Last year we welcomed Nicolas Azel to the evolveEA team with anticipation around how Nico’s data analysis, design and coding abilities could enhance our projects focusing on urban systems. We have found that not only is our design work is better informed, Nico has taught us to develop intriguing visualizations that are helping us and our partners comprehend issues, test solutions and validate design and policy decisions. My background in graphic design has driven my own interest in data visualization, so I’m excited to share this recent conversation about how Nico’s... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on April 26, 2017
Listen: The Link Between Green Buildings and Better Health
Recently we appeared on WSRQ (Florida) radio’s Health Check with Heidi Godman to talk about the benefits of green buildings to human health and well being. In this interview, Marc Mondor and Anna Rosenblum share some of the many links between green buildings and better health. They talked about creating healthier homes and workplaces as well as designing and cultivating healthy and equitable communities.  http://www.evolveea.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/health-check-03142017-green-buildings-better-health.mp3    
Posted by Marc Mondor on April 23, 2017
A Golden Year for LEED at evolveEA
From its beginnings, evolveEA has provided LEED consulting services to work with design teams to attain the highest levels of LEED certification within project budgets and constraints. Our first project was certified in 2004. By the end of 2016, we had certified our 63rd project overall including eight projects during 2016 alone. The future appears just as bright; we’re currently consulting on 34 LEED projects across a wide range of project types and LEED rating systems.    Growth in Numbers and Level of LEED Certification In 2016, we led project design and construction... 
Posted by Christopher Brown on January 19, 2017
Passive House Goes to Work
As has been the case in Europe for some time, there is an emerging trend in this country towards using Passive House design principles on commercial projects. This is due in part to an emerging awareness of the benefits of Passive House design and a natural evolution to larger and more complex projects. Another large driver is a growing understanding that these principles are necessary to design buildings that will approach the low and net zero energy targets that are becoming more common.   Exponential growth of all Passive House projects measured by total square footage.... 
Posted by Christopher Brown on December 28, 2016
Healthy Places, Healthy People: Green Buildings Improve Human Health and Wellness
As the environmental movement has worked to restore and reinforce links among living systems, the objective position has been to place humankind at the center of these systems. As Rachel Carson astutely pointed out that everything is linked, an anthropocentric approach leads us to better understand the logic of environmentalism as being all about us in the first place. As the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating system is about the impact of the building on the environment, the WELL Building Standard is about the impact of the building on human health. If human health... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on October 07, 2016
Pennsylvania’s Climate Action Plan Update
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC) have recently completed an update of the state’s Climate Change Action Plan. Under the Climate Change Act of 2008, state action plans require updates every three years. Marc Mondor, who serves on the CCAC as an alternate member, explained the purpose of the update: This Climate Change Action Plan is the Commonwealth’s objective summary of current and future carbon emissions and sequestration.  The Plan tells us where we are and how we can reduce emissions... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on October 06, 2016
Marc Mondor Advocates for a Green Economy in Radio Interview with Rick Smith
evolve’s Marc Mondor was a guest on the Rick Smith radio show in August 2016. The show is broadcast online and in central Pennsylvania. In this interview, Marc was asked to explain green building rating systems like LEED and Living Building Challenge, as well as concepts like Triple Bottom Line benefit and their value to creating a better future. The renewable energy sector’s growth potential for creating domestic jobs was also a focus of the conversation, as Smith sought Marc’s opinions on opportunities to create a strong Green Economy. Listen to the interview... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on September 12, 2016
Looking at an Urban Transportation System With Fresh Eyes
This summer we had the pleasure of hosting Abhishikta Pal at evolveEA for a project internship in partnership with PCRG. Abby is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Urban Design at Carnegie Mellon University. She also holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Sinhgad College of Architecture, Pune, India. As her internship came to a close, we had a chat with Abby and asked her to reflect on the work she has been doing on the city’s transportation system. As an international student, a world traveler and a designer, she also had some interesting thoughts about living in... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on September 02, 2016
Summer Solstice at Eden Hall
The Pittsburgh AIA+2030 sessions continue with a remarkable Session III at Chatham University’s Eden Hall on June 21, the Summer Solstice. The ten sessions of the overall AIA+2030 series, hosted by AIA Pittsburgh’s Committee on the Environment (COTE), inform and engage architects, owners, engineers and contractors to understand, demand, design, deliver, operate and validate highly energy efficient buildings. Session III, focused on site and climate, building upon Session I (integrated design process) and Session II (goal setting). The event was sponsored by Sota Construction,... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on July 07, 2016
Creating Resiliency Through Community Engagement
Just and resilient cities rely on empowered communities—we believe that design is key to that process. Our work as designers can help a community establish relationships, gain knowledge, and be better prepared to face dynamic challenges. Successful projects depend on community partners who provide knowledge and motivation and build a tribe of people who carry forth the efforts long after the design team is gone. We believe that engaging communities in design thinking is an important way to create a successful project from planning and design through implementation. To help... 
Posted by Christine Mondor on July 05, 2016
Cultivating Community
In light of the buzz surrounding Pittsburgh’s food scene, we have been thinking about the role of food in creating vibrant and resilient communities across our city. The 2015 Pittsburgh Food Policy Council Annual Report notes: “Pittsburgh simultaneously tops lists for most livable city and best food town, as well as the food insecurity lists for cities of similar size. Nearly half of Pittsburghers live in communities that meet criteria for food deserts.” In many of the projects we’ve worked on, food is used to not only to sustain and nurture us but to bring... 
Posted by Elena Goldstein on April 14, 2016
Bringing Sustainability to the Trucking Industry
The ubiquitous trucks we see on the highways are an integral part of our way of life. While not always pleasant to be around (or drive around), the $750 billion trucking industry provides the conveyance from one place to another of nearly everything we rely upon. evolveEA was recently asked to speak at the American Trucking Association’s Technology and Maintenance Council’s (TMC) semi-annual conference about sustainability in trucking. The Conference celebrated 60 years of influence as the trucking industry’s primary trade group.As with other industry trade group conferences... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on March 07, 2016
The Millvale Ecodistrict Pivots
We’re proud to feature a guest post by Zaheen Hussain, reflecting on the Millvale Ecodistrict planning and implementation and what lies ahead (above) photo of millvale by markpanza.com In 2012, with the development of the Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan, the community had selected three key issue areas to tackle—Food, Water, and Energy. Without knowing the community, one might wonder why these three topics were what community members thought of first when evolveEA first started to help walk the community through its sustainable planning process. To those who live... 
Posted by Zaheen Hussain on November 05, 2015
Common-sense, Low-cost, Short-term Strategies for Safer Urban Streets
I’ve been getting around primarily on a bicycle for over 15 years in different cities. Last year I moved from Pittsburgh’s East Liberty area to Uptown, aka Soho/the Bluff, which connects Downtown to Oakland, the city’s education and medical center, and points east. I now have a longer ride to work, which I do not mind—more time on my bike makes me happy. The downside is that Oakland’s main avenues are some of the very last in the city to receive any attention in terms of bike and pedestrian infrastructure. The problem is complex, and planning initiatives have produced... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on October 26, 2015
Visualizing Air Quality
“I don’t smell anything.” “Trust me, it’s better than it used to be.” These are the two most common retorts from Pittsburghers when I remark on the heavy odors associated with the city’s air quality. Both statements are true (I take their word on the first one), so both deserve a thoughtful response. A smokey and smog covered Pittsburgh in the 1970s   It’s true that Pittsburgh no longer needs street lamps at noon to help commuters navigate city streets shrouded in black smog. The city has made strides in creating livable spaces... 
Posted by Chris Guignon on September 16, 2015
Inspiring a Materials Revolution
The idea of a “Living Building” has been around for several years now, and as projects are built we’re able to experience these inspiring places first-hand. We’ve been able to be involved in a few of these transformational projects, such as the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes or the Frick Environmental Center, and see how they are shifting the design and construction market and with a ripple-effect in many other sectors. We are excited to be involved in one of the cutting edge efforts to amplify the ripple effect through an upcoming gathering of product... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on September 09, 2015
The Greening of Sports to Save the Planet?
The Green Sports Alliance meshes the power of sports and competition as a unifying force with the need to show leadership towards a sustainable economy that works toward zero carbon emissions.  While I enjoy spectator sports and appreciate what sports signify to popular culture, I am often struck by the waste and frivolity that accompanies the zeal.  evolveEA recently performed a Waste Audit at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field as part of our ongoing work with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the sheer volume of waste generated during a typical home football game was truly striking. ... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on August 27, 2015
Time for LEED V4: A Better Rating System
Good brands must evolve. The USGBC’s LEED Rating System is the dominant global green building standard, with 1.6 million square feet of real estate certified every day and over 3.6 billion square feet already certified globally. LEED has been a large factor in today’s green building industry and charts a bold course towards future market transformation, no small feat in this very fast-moving industry. The advent of LEED V4 has arguably been underway ever since LEED 2009 was launched, where every one of the various LEED certifications was simultaneously released as one rating... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on May 15, 2015
What is a Boulevard?
When you hear the word boulevard what picture comes to mind? In some cities where I have lived, the word is associated with a wider-than usual street that accommodates not only motor vehicles but includes bike lanes, walkways and communal green spaces as well. Some of Washington DC’s avenues, with their circles, squares and triangular parklets enhancing major intersections, exhibit the European-style streetscape of a boulevard. Cities like Vienna or Paris also come to mind as places where the term invokes a people-friendly street scene, and not a noisy dangerous highway. Here... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on April 01, 2015
Creating Community: Review of Sustainable Cities Collective’s Webinar on Urban Architecture
David Thorpe This post recaps a webinar in which evolveEA Principal Christine Mondor was one of three panelists discussing the role of architecture in creating healthy and livable communities. The webinar, hosted by Sustainable Cities Collective and moderated by David Thorpe, took place on February 25th, 2015.  The Sustainable Cities Collective #SustainableChat Webinar: Urban Architecture and Building Better Communities held last Wednesday was very successful. Our panel of experts covered the design, economics, sustainability and community related issues of the topic. If... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on March 02, 2015
Shop Local for the Holidays
My favorite thing to do everywhere I go is to visit local artist markets or farmers markets and chat up the vendors, learn about what they are creating, and support them! Why? Because it just FEELS GOOD to support a local artisan, buying from a person, face to face, and getting unique information on how something has been made. I like to know where materials come from; I like to know the reason someone got into wood-working or ceramics, or where they source ideas for their screen prints. I just like it. Besides the good vibes, the reasons to shop local rather than at a big box... 
Posted by Elena Goldstein on November 24, 2014
Equity, Health, and Climate Themes at the Forefront of Green Building Movement
I’ve just returned from my fourth Greenbuild, the annual green building conference and expo hosted by the US Green Building Council. This year, the event was held in New Orleans, adding to the experience elements of culture, music, food, awesome weather, and—perhaps most importantly—a powerful demonstration of urban resiliency concepts. In the past, Greenbuild has always included sessions focusing on how the building community can prepare for our changing climate, but as we set up for a week in the city that is undeniably a poster child for this issue, it felt even more... 
Posted by Elena Goldstein on November 10, 2014
Celebrating Our 50th LEED Certification
evolveEA has worked to coach projects towards sustainability goals since our founding in 2004. Since then we have moved into teaching, ecodistricts, existing buildings, 2030 commitment, facilitation, Living Buildings, communications and organizational strategy, but one mainstay of our work has always been LEED management for buildings and interiors, helping projects to set goals and achieve USGBC LEED certification. Since our first LEED certification, indeed since leafing through the very coarse LEED 1.0 in 1998, LEED has developed into a global standard.  Originally designed... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on October 15, 2014
Greenbuild 2014 Charrette: Powering Community
This year’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, the US Green Building Council’s premier event for sustainable building, is just around the corner!  We are excited to share some details about a special, interactive session at this year’s conference that members of evolve and our local partners are facilitating. If you’re attending, we hope you will join us Wednesday, October 22 at 8:00 am in Meeting Room 338 at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Christine Mondor and Anna Rosenblum from evolveEA have teamed-up with Fred... 
Posted by Anna Rosenblum on October 14, 2014