Pittsburgh Architects in Action: Who’s Taking Action for Climate and How You Can Get Involved While this week’s U.N. Climate Summit in New York and the Global Climate Strike turned the world spotlight on climate action, AIA National released a Climate Action statement citing the unique position of architects to help solve the ill effects of climate change. The statement begins by announcing the ratification of the AIA Resolution for Urgent and Sustained Climate Action, proposed in June of this year. How have Pittsburgh architects contributed to climate action initiatives, both far away and close to home? Here’s a list of five highlights from the past month. Pittsburgh was named a U.N. Center of Excellence for High Performance Building, honoring...
Pittsburgh Architects in Action: Who’s Taking Action for Climate and How You Can Get Involved
By Camille Jonlin Posted on September 27, 2019
Ice Box Challenge Pgh
How Did 1800 Pounds of Ice Hold Up in the Pittsburgh Sun?
By Maya Henry Posted on October 10, 2018
Photo by Marissa Dello Russo of AIA Pittsburgh Curious to hear how 1800 pounds of ice has held up over the past four weeks in the Pittsburgh sun (and rain) while encased in two separate boxes designed to simulate conventional construction methods versus Passive House Standard? If you’re an architect (and a gambler) you can feel pretty confident betting that the ice in the Ice Box built to Passive House Standard will win out. And you would be right. The Passive House Standard Ice Boxes consistently retain at least four times more ice than the conventional boxes. Passive House Standard is a proven methodology for achieving high-performance from almost any building type and is...
The Diversity of Sustainability and Resilience in Design
Submissions for the 2018 Design Awards
By Maya Henry Posted on September 20, 2018
New for Design Pittsburgh 2018, any built project submitted in another Design Awards category is eligible to also be reviewed for the Excellence in Sustainability + Resiliency award category. This award recognizes built projects that have successfully integrated sustainable and/or resilient building strategies and practices into the design. As defined by the AIA Pittsburgh Design Pittsburgh Committee, sustainability envisions the enduring prosperity of all living things, while sustainable design seeks to create communities, buildings, and products that contribute to this vision. Resilience is the capacity to adapt to changing conditions and to maintain/regain functionality and vitality in the face of stress or disturbance, while resilient design is the intentional design of buildings, landscapes, communities, and regions in response to these...
$25,000 Grant Awarded to Passive House Western PA
The North American Passive House Network Conference Comes To Pittsburgh with a Kick Start Grant from West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund
Passive house standards apply to this multi-family project, and 2015 Architecture Honor Award winner, in Uptown. PROJECT: Uptown Lofts on Fifth CLIENT: ACTION-Housing, Inc. ARCHITECTURE FIRM: FortyEighty Architecture ENGINEERS: Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc.; Keystone Structural Solutions; Iams Consulting, LLC CONTRACTORS: Mosites Construction Company PHOTOGRAPHER: FortyEighty Architecture Passive House Western Pennsylvania (PHWPA) received a $25,000 grant from the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund (WPPSEF). The contribution will be used to secure space in Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center for the North American Passive House Network Conference on October 17-22, 2018. Passive House applies a set of design principles used to attain a quantifiable and rigorous level of energy efficiency. As a result, Passive House buildings offer tremendous...
National Spotlight on Sustainable Design
Local Project Wins AIA COTE Top Ten Award
By Becky Spevack Posted on May 12, 2016
The Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a recipient of the 2016 AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects Award. Conceived as a building that provides both a home for administrative and classroom functions, as well as a tool to further the institution’s mission “to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research,” the concept and design brought together many Pittsburgh- and Pennsylvania-based firms to create this skillfully crafted solution. Designed by The Design Alliance Architects, the project team also included Andropogon Associates, Ltd., evolveEA, 7group, Massaro Corporation, Civil and Environmental Consultants, Atlantic Engineering Services and CJL Engineering. Other team members included Turner Construction, Indevco, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, and...
Steps Towards Sustainability
Introducing the COTE Intensives
By Marc Mondor, AIA, LEED Faculty Posted on October 16, 2014
AIA Pittsburgh, with its Committee on the Environment (COTE), is presenting a new series entitled COTE Intensives. These lectures/workshops are designed to dive deeply into various sustainability topics of interest. We’ve listened as our members told us the sustainability topics that are of interest to them, focused our efforts, and are now able to present a program that delivers this content. You may be aware that the AIA Pittsburgh COTE delivered the AIA+2030 Series from May 2013 to April 2014. This content-rich series described how to demand, design, deliver, and operate energy efficient and net-zero buildings. The approach for every session has been to seek and deliver expert content, and then view the principles through the lens of case studies, occasional exercises,...
Rising to the Challenge
The AIA+2030 Professional Series, Session X Review
By Melanie Como Harris, AIA, LEED AP BD+C Posted on May 4, 2014
AIA Pittsburgh’s first ever AIA+2030 Series concluded on Thursday, April 24th. The series finale – Putting It All Together: Achieving 2030 Goals on the Project and at the Office – answered a question that has been gestating throughout the series: how do we apply what we’ve learned? As COTE committee chair Marc Mondor, AIA appropriately pointed out in his introduction, we have to figure out how to take the multitude of tools and strategies we have absorbed during the 36 hours thus far in the series and incorporate them into each of our practices. Session X offered a few ways to do just that. Presentations featured: a local case study that demonstrated many of the 2030 strategies, an expert that...
Rising to the Challenge
The AIA+2030 Professional Series, Session VIII Review
By Melanie Como Harris, AIA, LEED AP Posted on March 18, 2014
The focus of Session VIII of the AIA+2030 Educational Series was alternative energy sources. Taking place on February 20th, the session – Site Power: Renewable Energy Opportunities – was jam-packed with industry experts in geothermal heating & cooling, biomass, wind, and solar. Each presentation not only described, in detail, how each system works, it also addressed the potential applicability to projects in Southwestern PA. The evening’s first presentation was provided by Marc Portnoff of Thar Geothermal. Marc started off the presentation by comparing and contrasting ground source geothermal against traditional energy sources such as natural gas, coal-fired electricity, and nuclear energy. According to the US EPA, “ground source geothermal is the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean and cost effective space conditioning...
Rising to the Challenge
The AIA+2030 Professional Series, Session VII Review
By Melanie Como Harris, AIA, LEED AP Posted on February 17, 2014
In past sessions of the AIA+2030 Educational Series, we explored strategies such as passive ventilation systems, high performance building envelopes, and daylighting design to reduce energy loads in our buildings. Session VII demonstrated that the next logical step in energy-efficient design is reducing the size of the mechanical system itself. This session – Right-Sized: Equipment and Control for Super-Efficient Building Systems – provided valuable insight into the process mechanical engineers use to determine equipment size. By understanding that process, architects can facilitate mechanical equipment selection and further load reduction. The discussion began with a presentation from a group at Allen & Shariff. David Price, PE, Chris Drummond, PE, Heather Stapel, PE, and Mark Wolfgang, PE, set the tone with the...
Rising to the Challenge
The AIA+2030 Professional Series, Session VI Review
By Melanie Como Harris, LEED AP Posted on January 15, 2014
Another enlightening session of AIA Pittsburgh’s AIA+2030 Educational Series took place in November: Session VI – Illuminating Savings: Daylighting and Integrated Lighting Strategies. As promised, the night featured a series of experts defining good daylighting. They offered resources for useful design tools and demonstrated how these strategies improve the design while reducing energy consumption. The evening began with the Astorino team of Director of Digital Practice, Brian Skripac, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C, and Sustainable Design Manager, Rudy Marnich, MArch, LEED AP BD+C. Brian talked about the difference between sunlight and daylight. While sunlight is just the rays of the sun, daylight is actually a manipulation of that light. Quality daylight, Skripac says, is a layered illumination plan that provides...