Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Green Building Pittsburgh

This press release from the Green Building Alliance is one of those items that I typically bookmark but then never use in the blog. If you like civic boosterism, then you'll love the report. Gushing about Western PA's "green economic growth potential" must have caught the eye of the New York Times:

The city’s commercial real estate market is relatively healthy. In the fourth quarter of 2008, Pittsburgh earned the top ranking in Moody’s Investors Service’s quarterly “Red-Yellow-Green” report on the state of commercial real estate in 60 major United States cities.

Though the southwestern Pennsylvania metropolitan area is only the 22nd largest in the United States in terms of population, the city employed energy-efficient construction well ahead of larger cities.

In 2005, Pittsburgh claimed more LEED-certified square footage — meaning it had met Leadership in Energy and Design standards for energy-saving designs and building techniques — than anywhere else in the United States. As other cities have caught up, Pittsburgh now ranks seventh nationally in the number of buildings with such certification, according to the local Green Building Alliance.

Just when I think the national press coverage of Pittsburgh couldn't get any better, along comes another story. Did Dan Onorato hire the Times for an Allegheny Country marketing campaign? I'm not sure if the stars could align any better, save a new face in the mayor's office and the Allegheny Conference becoming a more transparent agent of regional economic development. Actually, listening (I highly recommend it) to Richard Stafford yesterday on Cleveland Public Radio has me optimistic on that last score.

I feel I need to balance the above with some bad news. Harold Miller's latest recession watch report revealed that the economic downturn was tightening its grip on Pittsburgh. However, the region is still faring relatively well. Eds and meds remain strong, but manufacturing has taken a tremendous hit. While nothing to brag about, it beats living in Charlotte.

1 comment:

Schultz said...

In 2005 is the key. We used to be the green building leader but so many other cities have passed us by. Why is that? Lack of support from local Government. While other cities have been introducing and passing legislation to either mandate or incentivize LEED certified development it took the city of Pittsburgh 5 years to pass legislation that would loosen building code restrictions for LEED certified developments. I'm not sure if the legislation has had an impact, but it should be more aggressive if we really want to be the "green leader" the monitors at the airport say we are. As of last spring we were down to #7 in LEED certified projects.

Cities Listed by # of LEED Certified Projects

1. Chicago, IL
2. Seattle, WA
3. Portland, OR
4. Grand Rapids, MI
5. Washington, DC
6. Atlanta, GA
7. Pittsburgh, PA
8. San Francisco, CA
9. Denver, CO
10. San Diego, CA
11. Austin, TX
12. New York, NY
13. Sacramento, CA
14. Cambridge, MA
15. St. Louis, MO

How did Grand Rapids vault ahead of us? The mayor happens to believe in green buildings and since 2006 the city has mandated LEED certification for municipal developments greater than than 10,000 sq.ft

In January 2006, the City of Grand Rapids approved a resolution detailing the city's sustainability policy for public buildings. The resolution directed city personnel to implement the principles for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED* program and the EPA Energy Star and and Green Lights programs. Included in this was a specific requirement that all construction and renovation projects involving municipal buildings larger than 10,000 square feet and a cost of $1 million or more receive LEED certification.