Welcome new and returning members!
Thank you for your consideration in joining Sustainable Pittsburgh!
Sustainable Pittsburgh is a nonprofit that works to accerate the policy and practice of sustainabiliy in southwestern Pennsylvania. We work to identify those levers of change that when pulled, create at scale change for the region. Our primary focus is working with businesses and municipalities.
Click here to learn more about what it means to be a Sustainable Pittsburgh member and to join!
Sustainable Pittsburgh Comments on Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission's federal review
The crux of our input is on opportunity to elevate the planning process with robust regional performance measures for planning, programming, and prioritizing investments in step with the region's goals and objectives... With ample best practices at hand and increasing expectations for performance-based measurement, and with SPC soon to launch it next regional planning process, on many levels it is in SPC's best interest to become a national leader in applied performance measurement.
Read Sustainable Pittsburgh's full comments here.
3E Link and Learn phone conference: Join a 15 minute call to discuss SP's comments regarding the SPC's federal review on Monday, June 17 at 9:15 am. Conference line: (412) 380-2000 and passcode: 1737358
Sign up for the 2013-2014 Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge!
And join us for the kickoff event on June 26
Wednesday, June 26
Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, One Wild Place, Pittsburgh 15206
Join Sustainable Pittsburgh in kicking off the 2013-2014 Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge (GWC) on Wednesday, June 26 at 8:30 am at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium!
The GWC is a yearlong competition that helps your organization save money while enabling you to track and measure improvements in the areas of energy, water, and (new this year) waste, and transportation. This year, the GWC is open to nonprofits, colleges/universities, and municipalities in addition to small, medium, and large businesses in southwestern Pennsylvania.
During the 2011-2012 competition, participants saved enough energy to power nearly 6,000 average U.S. households for a year, saving over $4.2 million. Enough water was saved to fill Heinz Field 13 feet deep!
When an organization is more efficient in its use of resources, it increases profits, reduces cost, and more money is available for reinvestment. Sign up today to compete! Use the GWC to showcase and receive credit for your organization's green achievements.
The kickoff event on June 26 features opening remarks from County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, along with insights from past winners. Be sure to attend to hear the goals for this year!
The sign-up period for the competition ends July 31, 2013. To sign up, simply create an account at www.gwcpgh.org
To RSVP for the June 26 event, please email full contact information to Kimberly Olivito at firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about this year's Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge at the new website: www.gwcpgh.org.
Summer of Outdoor Fun begins with Bike to Work Day and Venture Outdoors Festival this weekend!
Did you catch SP's Ginette Walker Vinski on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live this morning? Want to get more details on upcoming outdoor events happening in southwestern Pennsylvania? Contact her at gvinski -at - sustainablepittsburgh.org with your questions. In the meantime, check out these fun, free activities scheduled for this weekend:
May 17 - National Bike to Work Day
May 18 - Venture Outdoors Festival sponsored by DICK'S Sporting Goods
What can the SWPA Sustainable Business Compact do for you?
Here's what the first Challenger-certified companies said:
“The Compact gives us an effective benchmarking tool to see how far we’ve come and also to give insights into new opportunities for growth in sustainable business practices.”
--Jamie Moore, Director of Sourcing and Sustainability for Eat’n Park Hospitality Group
“The Compact validates our efforts and lends credibility to what companies like ours are doing in the ways of sustainability.”
--Geoff Muessig, Chief Marketing Officer for PITT OHIO
“While our products are sustainable, we also want to have sustainable business processes. We are looking forward to learning from the community in terms of best practices, policy, and training.”
--Marc Portnoff, Manager, New Technology at Thar Geothermal/Thar Energy
If you work for a mid to large size business that seeks to grow or build its sustainability program, contact Sustainable Pittsburgh about signing on to the SWPA Sustainable Business Compact, or attend our next Compact workshop, “Corporate Stewardship and Leadership for Water Conservation,” Wednesday, June 5 at the Sheraton Station Square.
Information on the Compact is available at www.C4SPgh.org/Compact.
Join us June 5 to learn who else is signing on to the Compact and how your business can achieve certification. Details at: http://www.c4spgh.org/Compact_Workshop2.html
Join SP’s Matt Mehalik for a 15 minute sustainability briefing about the Compact!
3E Link and Learn phone conference: Join a 15 minute call to learn more about the SWPA Sustainable Business Compact and how your company can get involved. Tuesday, May 14 at 11:45am. Conference line: (412) 380-2000 and passcode: 1737358
Join SP’s Court Gould for a 15 minute sustainability briefing!
This week, Sustainable Pittsburgh announces debut of 3E Link and Learn, a 15 minute phone conference conversation covering timely topics featured here in the 3E Links Center. Join SP's Court Gould, on Monday, May 6 for brief discussions. Detailed below, the 11:45 call will address the new sustainable municipal certification, while the 12:15 call will review critical PA legislation addressing issues related to stormwater management and green infrastructure. Please dial: (412) 380-2000 and enter passcode: 1737358.
What are the Benefits of Becoming a Certified Sustainable Municipality?
Sustainable Pittsburgh teamed up with the Local Government Academy to offer a short instructional video for how municipalities can become Sustainable Certified.
Local governments stand to benefit from increased efficiencies, additional cash flow, and positive public image—all of which can be achieved from having sustainability as the framework for operations.
This video covers how to get started on becoming a sustainable community through Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Sustainable Community Essentials Certification Program. Topics covered include grant opportunities, financial incentives, and examples of sustainability initiatives undertaken by municipalities in southwestern Pennsylvania.
View this brief video to see how your municipality can achieve these gains by participating in the Certification Program. Watch the video at: www.sustainablecommunityessentials.org (Scroll down on homepage – video is on left hand side).
3E Link and Learn phone conference: Join a 15 minute call to learn more and how you can engage your municipality to get certified. Monday, May 6 at 11:45. Conference line: (412) 380-2000 and passcode: 1737358
SP and fellow organizations urge passing of legislation to enable creation of municipal stormwater authorities
Legislation reduces municipal uncertainty in implementing green infrastructure solutions
Tomorrow, Sustainable Pittsburgh, together with numerous collaborating organizations, is sending a letter to the PA House Local Government Committee urging passage of a particular bill related to green infrastructure. H.B. 821 (pn 931, Representative Harper) and S.B. 351 (pn 237, Senator Erickson) amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) to allow for the establishment of municipal stormwater authorities.
Several municipalities in Pennsylvania have considered creating stormwater authorities to address the ongoing problems of flooding and stormwater management, but are reluctant to do so without the express authorization of the general assembly. This reluctance and uncertainty would be minimized with the passing of this legislation, which would explicitly provide authorization to engage in stormwater management planning and projects.
3E Link and Learn phone conference: Join a 15 minute call to learn more about this legislative priority. Monday, May 6 at 12:15. Conference line: (412) 380-2000 and passcode: 1737358
Advocates Note Pittsburgh Air Is Improving, Caution We Still Need to Complete the Job
Groups: “Implementing Pittsburgh’s Clean Construction legislation is a concrete step to improving air quality”
Yesterday, the American Lung Association (ALA) released its 2013 “State of the Air” report, an annual ranking of air pollution levels across the country. The report finds that over the past few years, while our region’s economy was strong and population levels were increasing, air quality in the Pittsburgh metro area slowly improved. Decreases in air pollution can be attributed to many factors, including installation of new pollution-control equipment at the U.S. Steel Clairton Coke Plant, emission reductions from coal-fired power plants and the use of cleaner diesel fuel and engines.
“The fact that the region’s economy has been stable and the population growing when levels of air pollution went down shows us that clean air and a strong economy go hand in hand,” said Matthew Mehalik, Program Manager at Sustainable Pittsburgh. “We need more support for clean air policies that add value to the region.”
Despite these improvements, the area is still only one of two metro areas outside of California to rank among the 25 most polluted cities in the country. Our area ranks as one of the top 10 most polluted cities in the nation with regard to short- and long-term particle pollution. Particle pollution is the mix of tiny solid and liquid particles in the air we breathe, which can increase the risk of heart and lung disease, adverse birth outcomes, cancer and premature death. Pittsburgh also continues to report some of the worst levels of ozone pollution, which can reduce lung function and worsen asthma.
A key step toward cleaning up our region’s air is for Pittsburgh to implement and enforce the “Clean Air Act of 2010,” also known as clean construction legislation, as soon as possible. The law requires projects receiving at least $250,000 in public subsidies to use a percentage of cleaner construction equipment. The legislation should have been implemented within six months of passing, but instead has languished in City Hall for nearly two years.
A letter signed by local environmental groups urging the Mayor of Pittsburgh to implement the clean construction legislation as quickly as possible was sent today. Citizens can ask the Mayor to take action now by contacting his office at (412) 255-2626 or on-line here.
Read the full press release
American Lung Association: News Release and State of the Air report
Local News Coverage on the Report:
Lung Association says Pittsburgh air better but not good
Report: Pittsburgh's air quality improving, but still among most polluted
UPMC hosts recognition ceremony for environmental initiatives
Recently Sustainable Pittsburgh joined community partners in celebrating UPMC’s five years of promoting environmentally friendly health care initiatives. During a ceremony at UPMC’s Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside, UPMC officials recognized Community Partners, internal UPMC System Green Team Members and Systemwide Initiative Leaders for their efforts.
Over the past five years, UPMC has been an active leader in southwestern Pennsylvania’s growing sustainability accomplishments in the business sector, as coordinated by Sustainable Pittsburgh. From serving on the advisory committee of our Champions for Sustainability (C4S) network for sustainable businesses; co-chairing the Sustainable Business & Municipal Roundtable; to competing in the Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge, UPMC has contributed to significant regional environmental improvements, such as saving energy, reducing waste, and improving the region’s air quality.
UPMC has also taken the rare forward position of extending its leadership in sustainability from environmental operational issues into strategic, core-business, and market-transformational actions. In 2011 UPMC co-organized the Sustainability and Healthcare Series: Improving Healing Environments, a four-part series on the intersection of sustainability and healthcare presented by Sustainable Pittsburgh - www.C4SPgh.org/healthcare.
SP's Communications Manager, Ginette Walker Vinski (center), receives recognition from UPMC on behalf of Sustainable Pittsburgh from Scott Lammie (left), Chief Financial Officer, UPMC Health Plan and Senior Vice President, UPMC Insurance Services Division, and John Innocenti (right), President, UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside.
Session summary: "Presenting the Case for Crafting a Regional Energy Strategy and Plan"
On Tuesday, April 9, Sustainable Pittsburgh and Washington & Jefferson College Center for Energy Policy and Management hosted the closing session for Engineering Sustainability 2013 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. Entitled “Presenting the Case for Crafting a Regional Energy Strategy and Plan,” the session featured a keynote by Jane Long, retired Principal Associate Director at Large for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory & Fellow, LLNL Center for Global Strategic Research. Panelists included Greg Babe, CEO, Orbital Engineering, Inc. and former President and CEO, Bayer Corporation; Jeffrey Ball, Scholar-in-Residence at Stanford University's Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance; and Bobby Vagt, President, The Heinz Endowments.
The session began with Dr. Long presenting the process overview and findings of California’s Energy Future Committee, which developed a comprehensive analysis on how California could meet its greenhouse reduction goal of 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Dr. Long emphasized the value of measuring data, life cycle analysis, and asking the right questions. She acknowledged that oftentimes it is necessary to first conduct a deep analysis in order to then develop the correct questions to be asked. The panel then provided reaction to Dr. Long’s presentation. Discussion covered the role of natural gas as a bridge to a clean energy economy, why regions are the ideal locus for energy planning and strategy, and the need for a sustainability framework and goals to catalyze innovation and chart a deliberate future relative to energy production, consumption, efficiency, and conservation.
Overall, the group concluded that this region will have an energy policy, but it will either be by choice or by accident. The conversation will continue. Interested individuals can learn about new developments by subscribing to Sustainable Pittsburgh’s 3E Links newsletter.
Spring -- a time for Renewal
See how your membership with Sustainable Pittsburgh can impact the region
Please support our work by becoming a member of Sustainable Pittsburgh today. Members directly help accelerate our mission, receive discounts to SP events, gain access to sustainability tools and networking opportunities, and learn the latest trends in sustainability through this weekly e-newsletter, 3E Links.
Sustainable Pittsburgh affects decision-making for the Pittsburgh region to integrate economic prosperity, social equity, and environmental quality bringing sustainable solutions to communities and businesses. Your membership dollars help support initiatives addressing the policy and practice of sustainability. A few key programs in the news include:
SWPA Sustainable Community Essentials Certification
Local government has both a profound role and responsibility for leading the way to quality of life and access to opportunity in our communities and region. This municipal certification program aims to shine a light on the pacesetters and bring more local government leaders to the forefront of sustainable community development. View certified municipalities near you.
SWPA Sustainable Business Compact
The Compact fills the need for a sustainable business certification specific to the needs and opportunities unique to southwestern Pennsylvania. In particular, it facilitates the collaboration of business and community on a regional level, and advances innovation, talent attraction, investment, and healthier people and communities. View our recent press release announcing the first businesses to sign on!
Green Workplace Challenge
A yearlong competition, the GWC promotes energy efficiency and other green initiatives through measurable, verifiable actions. In response to demand, this year the GWC will be expanded to include competition categories for nonprofits, municipalities, and universities, in addition to small, medium, and large businesses. Stay tuned – sign ups begin in May.
Visit our website at www.sustainablepittsburgh.org for more information and to join as a 2013 member (or to make a donation)!
"The Sustainable Airport Corridor Initiative"
Sustainable Pittsburgh's 2013 Fast Pitch
Social Venture Partners (SVP) - Pittsburgh selected Sustainable Pittsburgh as a finalist in their “Social Innovation Fast Pitch” program. Through this initiative, SVP-Pittsburgh identifies Allegheny County’s most innovative nonprofits and works with their leaders over two months to help them succinctly and powerfully “tell their story” in a three minute “fast pitch.”
Sustainable Pittsburgh's Executive Director, Court Gould, pitched the idea of a Sustainable Airport Corridor Initiative. Check out his video, recorded here in the Sustainable Pittsburgh office.
Like the idea? Click the button below to make a tax deductible donation to help support this program and others of Sustainable Pittsburgh. (Button takes you to our membership page. Scroll to the bottom if you'd just like to make a donation rather than become a member. Thanks for your support!)
Southwestern Pennsylvania Sustainable Business Compact
Workshop #1: Sustainable Operations: The Value of Sustainability Reporting
Friday, March 15
8:00 am – 11:30 am
Fairmont Pittsburgh, 510 Market St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Cost: $35 for Sustainable Pittsburgh/C4S Members; $45 Nonmembers
Students: Special Rate
Allegheny Conference on Community Development
Champions for Sustainability, A Program of Sustainable Pittsburgh
Visit the workshop webpage for more information and registration.
Featuring: Geoffrey Muessig, Chief Marketing Officer, PITT OHIO
“The Value of Sustainability Reporting: PITT OHIO's Experience”
Many of us are familiar with sustainability reporting initiatives, but how can reporting be used to increase a business's competitive edge and spur innovation? What can be gained by signing on to the SWPA Sustainable Business Compact?
This workshop provides Southwestern Pennsylvania businesses an opportunity to learn the motivations for, expectations of, and value derived from sustainability reporting initiatives. Participants will learn about:
- Inspiring stories of regional corporate leaders who are documenting and declaring the value of their evolving sustainability practices
- The firsthand benefits of taking that first step for producing a corporate sustainability report
- The support and credibility that a certification program can bring to corporate sustainability efforts
Additional speakers include:
Bill Flanagan, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations
Allegheny Conference on Community Development
Tom Hronek, Operations Manager
Jamie Moore, Director of Sourcing and Sustainability
Eat’n Park Hospitality Group
Marc Portnoff, Manager, New Technology
Thar Geothermal/Thar Energy
Apple White, Vice President, Environmental Sustainability Program Manager
How sustainable is your municipality?
2.22.13 - This week, our region's over 550 municipal managers/secretaries received an invitation to participate in the Sustainable Community Essentials Certification.
This online municipal certification program brings hard-earned recognition to communities committed to facilitating cost savings, using resources smartly, and applying best practices in municipal government and community development.
Congratulations and kudos are in order for the first certified sustainable municipalities. Earning Silver Certification are Borough of Millvale and Mt. Lebanon. Those who have pledged to become certified include: Harrison Township, Heidelberg Borough, and the Borough of Monaca.
Feel free to show your appreciation to these pacesetters and urge your local government to become certified too. To learn more about the certification program and the best practices performance being demonstrated by those first certified, visit: www.sustainablecommunityessentials.org
Pittsburgh's District Energy System
2.14.13 - Today's news about PACT, Pittsburgh's centralized steam heating utility, sure gives a sense of troubles in the waters. Indeed, competitive and equitable pricing structures deserve close scrutiny and there appears to be need for recalibrations here. However, before the baby is thrown out with the bath water, let us take stock of how such district energy systems further the tenets of sustainability. District heating plants are widespread throughout the US and around the world. They are recognized for providing higher efficiencies, lower life-cycle costs, and better pollution control than a multiplicity of individual systems. This is a great topic for civic deliberation in the quest to be recognized as a most sustainable Pittsburgh.
Read the Post-Gazette article here
Sustainable Pittsburgh a contestant in Social Venture Partners - Pittsburgh "Fast Pitch" Program
2.7.13 - Sustainable Pittsburgh is pleased to share that Social Venture Partners (SVP) - Pittsburgh selected Sustainable Pittsburgh to be a contestant in their “Social Innovation Fast Pitch” program. Through this initiative, SVP-Pittsburgh identifies Allegheny County’s most innovative nonprofits and works with their leaders over two months to help them succinctly and powerfully “tell their story” in a three minute “fast pitch.” Ten of the twelve participating nonprofits will soon be selected to move on to a final round where they will deliver their “pitch” to a panel of judges and an audience of more than 400. Over $30,000 in grant awards are available.
Come join the finalists as they make their pitches on Wednesday, March 6 from 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm at the Fairmont Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh! The Fast Pitch is a night of story telling that can lead to tremendous inspiration. Attendees in the past have remarked that this is the single best event they have ever attended! More information is found at www.svppittsburgh.org. (On the events page, click the SVP Fast Pitch 2013 vertical graphic on the right for event details and ticket information.)
Innovation Spotlight No. 4: January 2013
“We Want to Be a Role Model for Our Industry”
- Joe Massaro III, President and Chief Operating Officer
The emergence of LEED standards over the past few years has had a major impact on the construction industry, instilling a dynamic of innovation that has been picking up momentum, especially in southwestern Pennsylvania. Sustainable Pittsburgh, through its Innovation Spotlight column, was fortunate to have a conversation with Joe Massaro III, President and COO of Massaro Corporation, one of the region’s early adopter firms of LEED design and construction practices.
According to Mr. Massaro, a growing market segment demands information about sustainable design. Specifically, 9 out of 10 owners ask about the possibilities of LEED construction—especially how much it will cost to achieve different levels of LEED standards. Universities are gravitating towards LEED for how their new buildings are to be constructed. Foundations are funding projects in partnerships, with requirements that the projects be pursued as LEED projects. Nonprofits are requiring LEED designs for their operations and office space.
The growing demand for information about sustainable design has led to the need to figure out how to achieve various LEED points. What were viable solutions? How could these solutions be achieved? How much will it cost to achieve them? Are the answers geothermal heating systems? Low flow toilets? Transportation? Green products? This has introduced a degree of uncertainty into projects.
Massaro has responded by finding new ways of getting projects built. The key has been an ability to do research, find solutions, and translate them into practices and experience. The firm’s capacities have evolved to reflect the best of both worlds—innovation guided by skill to deliver on budget, or as Mr. Massaro put it, “to offer additional value and still compete on a same cost basis.”
Read the full story here.
Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a global moment to pause, take stock of progress, and to redouble human rights efforts.
Consider adding to your reflections a read of Inclusion in the Workforce: Positioning the Pittsburgh Region to Prosper and Compete. This strategic report explains why, in this global information economy, racial equity and inclusion are the cornerstones of sustained development and successful, healthy regional economies. This report analyzes racial disparities in employment in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, reviews the critical role that a diverse workforce plays in improving economic competitiveness, and recommends policies for enabling the region to reach its full potential.
Read the report here:
Inclusion in the Workforce: Positioning the Region to Prosper and Compete
See more of Sustainable Pittsburgh's publications here:
Audio now available from 12th annual Smart Growth Conference
The full audio recording of the December 13 Smart Growth Conference is available.
The following link will take you to a table of contents that frames the conference dialog and links to the audio file pertaining to each topic.
Listen to the speakers from the 12th annual Smart Growth Conference, "Partnering for Prosperity: Business and Local Government in SWPA - Tackling three make or break issues on our watch!"
Thank you for a great year! Your wisdom is sought.
Reflecting on a year gone by leads to thoughts of future opportunities. Our region is ready for an energy plan and strategy. In examining PA's energy baseline, what is revealed to you?
Feel free to email your thoughts to Sustainable Pittsburgh or comment on our Facebook page.
Below are highlights of Sustainable Pittsburgh's work in 2012. We appreciate the support of our members and donors, who help make these projects happen.
Please consider renewing, or becoming a new member for 2013! Visit our membership page for more information.
Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge
A yearlong competition for businesses to reduce energy usage, the Green Workplace Challenge yielded big results among the 50+ participants:
- Saved 67,159,765 kWh of energy, enough to power 5,842 average U.S. homes for a year.
- Saved nearly 91 million gallons of water, enough to fill Heinz Field 13 feet!
- Saved over 18,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent: roughly 452 airline flights of 500 miles or 3.1 days worth of all flights leaving Pittsburgh International Airport on a given day.
We estimate the dollar savings on just the energy alone to be $4.2 million. To view the winners and learn more about the Challenge, please visit greenchallenge.C4SPgh.org.
Business and Community Sustainability Coordinators
The Business Sustainability Coordinators cohort has grown from 21 industry professionals to over 70. SP facilitates this group as well as a municipal counterpart: the Community Sustainability Coordinators (professionals in local government and community development responsible for implementing sustainability programs). Both affinity groups feature resource sharing and continued professional development in the burgeoning sustainability profession. For 2013 they are coming together in the new Sustainable Business and Municipal Roundtable to tackle financing green infrastructure.
SWPA Sustainable Business Compact
Businesses around the region are urged to assess their sustainability performance and be acknowledged for their leadership via the new SWPA Sustainable Business Compact. The Compact provides a credible and rigorous pathway for businesses to advance and publicly demonstrate their corporate sustainability achievements. The Compact is a strategic next step for the region, and the first of its kind to take a regional approach to sustainability needs and opportunities.
SWPA Sustainable Community Essentials Certification
Building from success of the online Sustainable Community Essentials Rapid Assessment (completed by over 130 municipalities), local government practitioners came together to transform the Assessment into a formal certification program (and we are part of a coalition looking to take it statewide). The certification was launched at the 12th annual SWPA Smart Growth Conference on December 13. Urge your municipality to get certified.
Accelerating sustainability - additional achievements
- Continuing to facilitate community exploration of Bus Rapid Transit and development of GetTherePgh.org
- Continued advocacy for transportation funding.
- Strategy for water stewardship led to successful creation of both the new Water Economy Network and Headwaters Resource Committee.
- Facilitating a committee of developers to create policy recommendations for innovative finance for urban redevelopment.
- Sustainable Development Academy partnership with the Local Government Academy delivered training programs on air quality, blight & abandonment, waste management and recycling, and managing Marcellus and is tied to municipal certification.
- Champions for Sustainability (C4S) business network led a workshop series on air quality in partnership with The Breathe Project.
- Sustainable Business Designation program for small companies expanded to Butler County. For 2013 we will launch the next version for mid-size interests.
- 12th Annual Smart Growth Conference brought business and municipal leaders together to advance regional priorities of water quality, transportation funding, financing urban redevelopment.
Local and regional experts discuss regional sustainability issues during 12th annual Smart Growth Conference
On Thursday, December 13, some 250 leaders from business, government, and nonprofit sectors converged at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for the 12th annual Southwestern Pennsylvania Smart Growth Conference. The day-long event tackled three issues critical to our region’s long term sustainability: transportation funding, green infrastructure for water quality, and financing for urban redevelopment.
Mario Leone, Manager of Monaca Borough, and Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, presented the first keynote on the interdependence of municipalities and business and the need for collaboration on issues of common interest. Barry Schoch, PennDOT Secretary of Transportation (audio of his presentation found below); Jim Good, Interim Executive Director for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (Veolia North America); and Michael Pehur, Development Finance Consulting Director for Duane Morris Government Strategies, keynoted each subsequent issue session, with many additional experts serving on reaction panels and fielding questions from the audience.
Stay tuned for posting of full event audio files as well as a summary of the key policy ideas raised during the event.
Several media representatives were in attendance. Following are news stories that focused on PennDOT Secretary Schoch’s remarks:
90.5 WESA: PA Transportation Secretary: Comprehensive Plan Forthcoming, Includes all Modes of Transportation (See link on right side of page for audio of the Secretary's presentation.)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Corbett promises fund plan for transit and roads
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: PennDOT official emphasizes funding
Sustainable Pittsburgh announces winners of the Green Workplace Challenge
Congratulations to all who participated
On October 18, 2012, Sustainable Pittsburgh announced the winners of the first ever Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge (GWC) during a morning program held at Phipps Conservatory. The organization also shared the significant, positive impact the participants have had on the region over the past year.
The winners of the competition are as follows:
Small Business Category Winner: evolve environment::architecture – 221 points
The small business runner up is Pashek Associates with 147 points.
Medium Business Category Winner: Eaton Corporation – 78 points
The medium business runner up is: Ductmate – 74 points
Third place in the medium business category is WESCO – 69 points
Large Business Category Winner: Bayer – 221 points
The large business runner up is PNC Financial Services Group – 198 points
Third place in the large business category is: BNY Mellon – 188 points
In the Observer category, a non-competitive category, the top three scorers are Allegheny County with 320 points, Green Building Alliance – 219 points, and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank – 97 points.
Congratulations to all who participated!
Above, left to right: Christine Mondor, evolve; Zach Ambrose, Allegheny County; Jonah Paul, Eaton; Skip Shemon, Bayer
Southwestern Pennsylvania Sustainable Business Compact unveiled as next step in regional/business sustainability
Also on October 18, Sustainable Pittsburgh unveiled the Southwestern Pennsylvania Sustainable Business Compact, a commitment and certification platform providing a credible and rigorous pathway for businesses to advance and publicly demonstrate their corporate sustainability achievements. The Compact steps beyond the “green” actions found in the Green Workplace Challenge and embraces additional components of sustainability like diversity, smart growth, workforce development, governance and management.
Tailored to this region’s unique sustainability needs and opportunities, it facilitates the collaboration of business and community on a regional level, and because of that, it helps build a regional ecosystem that centers on innovation, talent attraction, investment, and healthier people and communities. Learn more about the Compact by visiting: www.C4SPgh.org
MARK YOUR CALENDARS - December 13!
12th Annual SWPA Smart Growth Conference: Partnering for Prosperity: Business and Local Government in SWPA
Thursday, December 13, 2012
David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Registration information forthcoming.
Continuing the momentum from last year's conference, the focus will be on the policy and practice of sustainability as a catalyst to further unite business and local government as partners in the region's progress. The focus will be on new platforms for collaboration and key regional issues of: transportation, green infrastructure, and innovative finance for urban redevelopment.
Mario Leone, Manager, Borough of Monaca
Barry Schoch, PennDOT Secretary of Transportation
Dennis Yablonsky, CEO, Allegheny Conference on Community Development
and leadership through the:
SWPA Sustainable Community Essentials Certification
SWPA Sustainable Business Compact
SWPA Sustainable Business and Municipal Roundtable
Fifth Annual Sustainability Conference
"Smart Investment in our Region's Valuable Infrastructure"
Presented by The Pittsburgh Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI), and Sustainable Pittsburgh's Champions for Sustainability network.
Friday, October 12
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: Gateway Clipper Fleet
Cost: Sustainable Pttsburgh/C4S or ASCE Members - $100; Non-Member - $125; Students - $25
All attendees will receive a certificate for 6.0 Professional Development Hours.
More information and registration
This daylong conference will involve identification and discussion of engineering solutions towards moving this region's vital infrastructure towards a more sustainable and healthy future.
The conference will focus on three cornerstone aspects of this region's infrastructure that is in need of immediate attention. These aspects include:
- locks and dams and the consequences on the region if this vital piece of infrastructure continues to be ignored
- asset management and properly allocating and appropriating funds in complex political arenas
- this region's vast supply of water resources and leveraging this rich commodity to improve the local economy and attract businesses to this region.
Numerous high profile speakers from around the nation are expected to attend and present engineering solutions to these problems in a panel/workshop style setting. All attendees will be encouraged to share ideas in how to best address the items above. Findings from this conference will be compiled and summarized in a white paper for legislative purposes.
Pittsburgh - Center of Excellence in Water Innovation
"Exploring joint opportunities with Pittsburgh's growing water industry"
Thursday, September 27
8:30 am - 11:00 am
Alcoa Corporate Center - Pittsburgh, 201 Isabella St., 15212
Breakfast provided. No fee to attend.
RSVP by 9/18 to: email@example.com; Space is limited.
Come join the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and Sustainable Pittsburgh for a breakfast report out and discussion of the report release: Sustainable Water Innovation Initiative for Southwestern Pennsylvania. This work is a follow-on to last year's release of the region's first characterization of the region's burgeoning water industry. The Water Innovation report identifies a variety of proposed water-related demonstration projects across our region that lie at the nexus of the region's niche water expertise, solving water-related concerns, and solutions that represent business development opportunities here and abroad.
The event will feature:
• Update on the region's growing water industry cluster
• Release of the report by Carnegie Mellon University, Sustainable Water Innovation Initiative for Southwestern Pennsylvania
• Industry panel response
• Launch of the Water Economy Network
• Steve McKnight, Fourth Economy Consulting
• Jerry Paytas, Fourth Economy Consulting
• Jeanne VanBriesen, Carnegie Mellon University
• Dennis Yablonsky, Allegheny Conference on Community Development
· Charles Dobbs, Alcoa
· Jim Good, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (Veolia Water North America)
· Dan Hufton, Pennsylvania American Water
· Venkee Sharma, Aquatech
Moderated by Bill Flanagan, Allegheny Conference on Community Development
The event is part of an unfolding opportunity to advance the water sector and raise global awareness of the Pittsburgh region's water prowess while addressing water issues regionally and exploring business opportunity in extending the region's expertise domestically and abroad. Toward elevating our region as a center of excellence in water innovation, international business leaders have been invited to come explore business development opportunities.
Mark your calendars!
Pittsburgh's Day of Giving is Wednesday, October 3, 2012.
Please consider making a gift to Sustainable Pittsburgh through the PittsburghGives Day of Giving 2012: Wednesday, October 3 from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59:59 p.m. During this 24 hour period, you can donate via credit card (MasterCard or Visa only) to your favorite nonprofits and have a portion of your donation matched! Visit www.pittsburghgives.org and find us under the Nonprofit Search.
The minimum donation for nonprofits on the Day of Giving is $25 and all donations are 100% tax deductible. All donations during this 24-hour period via www.pittsburghgives.org will receive a pro-rated portion of the match pool. Please note, no donations via check, cash or stock are permitted.
Your contribution on October 3 goes above and beyond the call of membership in enabling Sustainable Pittsburgh to strengthen and maintain its core programming.
To give you an idea as to what we've been working on, in just over a month (October 18), we will be highlighting the leadership of this region's businesses via their involvement in the yearlong Green Workplace Challenge, a friendly competition managed by Sustainable Pittsburgh that demonstrates the triple bottom line business case of sustainability. The October 18 Leadership Recognition and Awards Ceremony will announce regional leaders, reveal the total impact of the competition, and feature prominent speakers from our region.
During the event, SP will officially launch the SWPA Sustainable Business Compact, a set of sustainability policies and practices businesses employ to simultaneously advance their organizational mission, the environment, and the social fabric of their communities. Tailor-made to southwestern Pennsylvania's unique sustainability needs and opportunities, the Compact was vetted with a peer group of business sustainability professionals representing small, mid, and large-size companies in the region. The Compact is the first regional approach of its kind and is a next step in substantiating our region’s economic, environmental and quality of life transformation.
For local government, this fall SP is launching a formal Sustainable Community Essentials Certification Program. An outgrowth of the Sustainable Community Essentials Rapid Assessment, this program is intended to encourage and recognize more municipalities in adopting sustainability as their strategy.
These are just a few of the many items your Sustainable Pittsburgh is working on. Stay tuned for details about the 12th annual SWPA Smart Growth Conference in December. Thank you for your support!
Water Matters on the river
This past weekend, Three Rivers Rowing Association (TRRA) provided Sustainable Pittsburgh with the honor of naming one of the Association's new shells.
Over the last several years, Sustainable Pittsburgh has partnered with organizations like TRRA to build a more sustainable region by galvanizing the community through outdoor recreation. Sustainable Pittsburgh and TRRA collaborate to elevate awareness of rowing and paddling and to bring the sport to our youth who otherwise would never have such a life development opportunity of getting on the water.
Sustainable Pittsburgh chose the name "Water Matters" for the shell as a reminder of the many ways water is central to life. The naming is also a nod to the 2010 regional theme of World Environment Day, when Pittsburgh served as North America’s Host City, as appointed by the United Nations Environment Program.
Sustainable Pittsburgh is honored. Thank you, Three Rivers Rowing, for all of the great work you do!
Photo caption: [Left] SP’s Ginette Walker Vinski attended the special Boat Dedication Ceremony. [Right] Pouring champagne to “baptize” the shell
Click images to view larger photos.
Sustainable Pittsburgh is involved in a number of sustainability-related events for businesses and communities scheduled this fall. Be sure to save the dates and register!
Friday, August 24
Green Workplace Challenge #11 - Learn about LEED
Thursday, September 27
Pittsburgh - Center of Excellence in Water Innovation
"Exploring joint opportunities with Pittsburgh's growing water industry"
Friday, October 5
Changing the Size of the Elected Governing Body in Your Community
Friday, October 12
Fifth Annual Sustainability Conference
Thursday, October 18
SAVE THE DATE: Green Workplace Challenge Awards and Recognition Ceremony
Green Workplace Challenge Workshop #11 - Learn about LEED
Friday, August 24
8:30 am - 10:00 am
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, 1 North Linden Street, Duquesne, PA 15110
Cost: FREE for Green Workplace Challenge participants; $25 all other businesses and organizations
Come learn about how Green Workplace Challenge actions and activities from the past eleven months can position your business for potential LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Presenters will offer their experience in getting facilities certified for the LEED Existing Building: Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) standard to help others learn the process, the benefits, and key insights.
Aurora Sharrard, VP of Innovation, Green Building Alliance, will provide an overview of LEED certification.
Presenters (and LEED-EBOM Examples):
•Angelica Ciranni, Sustainability Coordinator, Sports and Exhibition Authority (David L. Lawrence Convention Center)
•Cristian Harbaugh, H.F. Lenz (BNY Mellon - 525 William Penn Place)
•Katie Flynn, RCx Building Diagnostics (Ductmate Industries, Inc. Headquarters)
The event will conclude with a tour of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, the first LEED-certified food bank in the world.
This event is the 11th of 12 workshops in a year-long series of Green Workplace Challenge participant workshops. You do not need to be a participant in the Green Workplace Challenge to participate; however, if your organization would like to sign up for the Green Workplace Challenge as an Observer, you are welcome to do so here and save on the workshop registration fee.
Learn about the Green Workplace Challenge. Questions? Contact Amanda Virbitsky at firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 258-6650.
Mt. Lebanon: Taking the Lead on Stormwater
A summary of the July 17, 2012 Community Sustainability Coordinators’ Meeting (a growing cohort of municipal and community sustainability professionals regularly convened by Sustainable Pittsburgh)
The most recent Community Sustainability Coordinators' Meeting was
hosted at Mt. Lebanon Public Library on July 17, where attendees from
all over the Pittsburgh region learned about the municipality’s efforts
to manage stormwater. Municipal engineer Dan Deiseroth and commissioner
Kristen Linfante presented on the work currently underway to help solve
stormwater issues in the municipality, where flooding has been a major
The primary means of funding the work is through a new municipal
stormwater utility fee established in 2011 and paid by Mt. Lebanon’s
residents and businesses to fund the operations and maintenance of
stormwater improvements. Deiseroth’s firm, Gateway Engineers, will have
a feasibility study for Mt. Lebanon’s stormwater improvements ready by
next year, which will identify capacity deficiencies and possible
Mt. Lebanon is only the second municipality in Pennsylvania, after
Philadelphia, to establish a stormwater utility. Pittsburgh is now
considering implementation as well, due to considerable flood problems
in some city neighborhoods.
Summer savings - Join Sustainable Pittsburgh at a prorated rate
Membership in Sustainable Pittsburgh supports programs like the Sustainable Community Essentials Rapid Assessment and the Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge, among other programs that fit with our regional sustainability objectives. Consider joining us at a prorated rate for the remainder of 2012 and helping us achieve our mission!
Recently, our Sustainable Community Essentials Rapid Assessment was highlighted in a news story from Sustainable City Network, a media and publishing company based in Iowa. The story shares how Borough Manager Mario Leone’s completion of the Rapid Assessment led to an epiphany and commitment to sustainability. Mr. Leone's sustainability leadership is now widely recognized.
The Rapid Assessment, completed by 130 municipalities in SWPA, is Sustainable Pittsburgh's checklist used to appraise a community’s sustainability efforts. It is now being transformed into a formal municipal certification program.
Also of note, Sustainable Pittsburgh unveiled the latest leader board standings and impact of the Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge (GWC). The GWC is a yearlong competition for businesses to take green actions that result in measurable, verifiable results.
From September 2011 to April 2012, the 50+ participants, on an annual basis:
• Saved more than enough energy annually to power homes in two Pittsburgh neighborhoods: Regent Square (543 homes) and Friendship (1,072 homes). (Energy savings: 19,102,725 kWh)
• Reduced emissions equating to roughly 222 airline flights of 500 miles each—or about one and a half days worth of all flights leaving Pittsburgh International Airport on a typical day. (Emissions reduction: 8,896 metric tons of CO2 equivalent)
• Saved as much water as that which is used in each of 514 typical U.S. households per year (Water saved: 48,805,660 gallons).
Help us continue our work of accelerating the policy and practice of sustainability in SWPA. Join Sustainable Pittsburgh now through August 31 to receive 50% off membership dues for 2012 through December 31! Join easily online at: www.sustainablepittsburgh.org/joinsustainable2012.html
Thanks for your consideration!
Last Chance for Change
Deadline approaching for municipal grant opportunity
The Heinz Endowments Summer Youth Philanthropy Interns, in conjunction with Sustainable Pittsburgh and the Local Government Academy, would like to remind you about the availability of a grant called “Produce Change.”
Awards will be granted to municipalities or their recognized nonprofit partners in southwestern Pennsylvania that are engaged in pursuing more sustainable practices and want to become positive examples for other municipalities in sustainable food systems and consumption of local produce.
The Interns plan to fund a municipality’s partnership with Buy Fresh Buy Local. The successful municipal program may work to form a Buy Fresh Buy Local committee, make locally sourced businesses more visible, educate the public, make local foods more accessible, and create a set of guidelines that can be used as a model for other municipalities.
Just recently, the interns partnered with Local Government Academy to host a webinar about the RFP. Click here for more information. (You will need to register before viewing the webinar.)
The deadline for submitting proposals is August 1, 2012 at 9:00 am.
Read the full Request for Proposals here.
Green Workplace Challenge Workshop #10: Water Conservation Strategies
Friday, July 27
8:30 am - 10:30 am
Bayer Building 6 (Freddies’ Café), 100 Bayer Road, Pittsburgh 15205
Cost: FREE for Green Workplace Challenge participants; $25 all other businesses and organizations
Continental breakfast provided
Green Workplace Challenge participants register here.
All other businesses and organizations register here.
Join fellow Green Workplace Challenge participants and others in an opportunity to interact with experts on the topic of water conservation. Following the program, a tour of the Bayer EcoCommercial Conference Center will be offered to interested workshop attendees.
Hatch Mott McDonald
This event is the 10th of 12 workshops in a year-long series of Green Workplace Challenge participant workshops. Taking actions associated with the topics addressed in this workshop can earn your organization a number of competition points in the Green Workplace Challenge associated with water and energy usage reductions. Check out the official GWC competition manual to see the full list of actions for which you can earn points.
Municipal Grant Opportunity
The Heinz Endowments Summer Youth Philanthropy Interns, in conjunction with Sustainable Pittsburgh and the Local Government Academy, are pleased to announce the availability of a grant called “Produce Change.”
The students administering this grant are learning about the work of foundations and nonprofits by directly funding programs they deem valuable. In keeping with priorities identified by municipalities that have completed the online Sustainable Community Essentials Rapid Assessment for Southwestern Pennsylvania, the Interns are interested in funding a committee that would encourage residents to buy local produce.
These efforts should involve initiatives that improve local produce systems by emphasizing the importance and accessibility of locally sourced foods. Awards will be granted to municipalities or their recognized nonprofit partners in southwestern Pennsylvania that are engaged in pursuing more sustainable practices and want to become positive examples for other municipalities in sustainable food systems and consumption of local produce.
The Interns plan to fund a municipality’s partnership with Buy Fresh Buy Local (http://www.buylocalpa.org/). The successful municipal program may work to form a Buy Fresh Buy Local committee, make locally sourced businesses more visible, educate the public, make local foods more accessible, and create a set of guidelines that can be used as a model for other municipalities. Other ideas that meet the grant criteria will be considered as well.
Proposals are due August 1, 2012 at 9:00 am.
Read the full Request for Proposals here.
Lighting the Way to a More Sustainable Future
A Recap of the May 22, 2012 Community Sustainability Coordinators’ Meeting
(a growing cohort of municipal and community sustainability professions regularly convened by Sustainable Pittsburgh)
Tight budgets have long been the norm for the hundreds of municipal governments in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Decades of losses in industry and population have coincided with heavily-eroded tax bases, leaving municipalities with the challenge of learning how to upkeep existing infrastructure with less money. What’s a municipality to do in such a formidable situation?
The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) suggests that addressing energy use is a good start. According to SPC, energy is among the biggest money hogs for tight municipal budgets. Lighting costs dominate a municipality’s energy bill: street lights account for a whopping two-thirds of municipal energy expenditures. Yet these are costs that can be controlled.
The May 22 Community Sustainability Coordinators’ meeting, hosted at SPC, addressed how municipalities can cut their energy bills with help from SPC’s various programs. Laura Mundell, SPC development specialist, and Domenic D’Andrea, SPC’s Regional Traffic Signal Initiatives manager, were the primary speakers.
Sustainable Pittsburgh unveils latest standings of Green Workplace Challenge competition, regional impact
Yesterday, Sustainable Pittsburgh released the latest standings for participants in the Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge (GWC), a yearlong competition demonstrating the triple bottom line business case for sustainable business practices. Over 50 entities are participating, comprising businesses in the small to mid markets, as well as the Fortune 500 and nonprofit sectors.
See who the leaders are, and the positive impact they are having on southwestern Pennsylvania.
Learn more about the Green Workplace Challenge, and how to get involved!
DEP's Enforcement Responsibilities Under Act 13 of 2012
Thursday, June 28
9:00 am - 11:00 am
Pittsburgh Airport Marriott Hotel, 777 Aten Road, Coraopolis 15108
Registration Fee: $10 per person
More information and registration.
Act 13 of 2012 has far reaching effects. While awaiting the result of the current court injunction for the changes in municipal zoning to be effective, the other provisions of the Act are in effect and have also created significant changes from the status quo. One significant area is Chapter 32, which deals with the powers of the Department of Environmental Protection to deal with setbacks and other issues.
Scott Perry, PA DEP’s Deputy Secretary, from the Office of Oil and Gas Management, and the state’s top regulator of Marcellus Shale gas drilling, will address DEP's new roles relating to Act 13 and its provisions to fulfill them.
Mr. Perry will address the requirements outlined in Chapter 32 of Act 13 of 2012, which replaced the Oil and Gas Act of 1984. Some of the topics that will be covered during the presentation include:
- New chemical disclosure and reporting obligations
- Increased setbacks and well siting restrictions
- Changes to well permitting procedures, plans, and approvals, including Water Management Plans
- How and when municipalities can comment on drilling activity
- The process for producers to request variances or waivers from DEP
- New water supply protections and disclosure requirements
- Increased bonding requirements
- Stricter enforcement mechanisms
- DEP's capacity to enforce these new provisions
This is a good opportunity to hear directly from and discuss with DEP how the agency plans to address its responsibilities under the new law -- especially Chapter 32 of Act 13 which addresses new provisions which are now regulated by DEP (as opposed to being regulated by local government).
This discussion is part of the “Managing Marcellus” training series, a partnership of Local Government Academy, Sustainable Pittsburgh & Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.
The Meaning of Things: Pittsburgh's 21st Century Triumph over 20th Century Urban Renewal
A lecture by Dr. Mindy Fullilove
Monday, June 18
August Wilson Center for African American Culture Theater, 980 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh
Admission is FREE, but an RSVP is requested
For more information or to RSVP contact email@example.com or (412) 391-4144.
"We live not by things but by the meaning of things, and it is needful to pass the keys from generation to generation." - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
Join the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh and its partners in hosting Dr. Mindy Fullilove, a distinguished social psychiatrist and professor from Columbia University. Dr. Fullilove will discuss Pittsburgh's leadership in restoring and reconnecting communities.
Managing Marcellus: A Three-Part Training Series
Public Safety Roundtable
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Murrysville Community Center
Limited to 50 registrants
Pipelines, Easements & Rights of Way
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Canonsburg Borough Municipal Building
Limited to 40 registrants
Offered with funding support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the programs are open to the public; however, a working knowledge of the powers, duties, roles and responsibilities of local government elected and appointed officials is required to attend these programs. Cost is $20 per session. Discounts and scholarships available.
More information available here.
Green Workplace Challenge Leaderboard Update
New businesses rise to the top as more green actions are put into practice
New businesses rise to the top as more green actions are put into practice
Businesses participating in the Green Workplace Challenge (GWC) continue their efforts toward energy efficiency and other sustainable practices, and the businesses that have pushed the most in the past few months have the competition points to show for their hard work.
In the Large Business category, Bayer climbed to the leading slot (87 points) from its earlier 3rd place position. PNC also nudged its way into the 2nd place slot (60 points) from its earlier 5th place position.
The Medium Business competition remained more stable, with Del Monte Foods (42 points) maintaining the leading slot.
EvolveEA (78 points, up from its earlier 5 points) flipped places with Pashek Associates, Ltd. (31 points) in the Small Business category.
In the competition’s Observer category, Allegheny County posted a 53-point gain, Over the Bar Bicycle Café climbed 33 points, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank jumped 30 points, and Carnegie Mellon added 14 points.
Some of the largest jumps occurred when several of the competitors chose to purchase 100% renewable power, in some cases producing a windfall of 50 competition points. Details on how points are awarded can be found in the Green Workplace Challenge Competition Manual.
Congratulations to our GWC competitors!
There are still many opportunities to earn points between now and the end of September, when this first competition comes to a close. The competition is entering a phase where energy conservation will begin to matter more: the competition awards the most points for conserving electricity, natural gas, and water usage each month over the course of the competition.
The next leaderboard update will occur on April 27 at the next GWC monthly workshop, where participants can learn about several community-group certifications that can earn competition points. Details and registration are forthcoming. If your organization would like to sign on as a Green Workplace Challenge Observer, you are welcome to do so here and save on future workshop registration fees.
The Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge is a yearlong competition demonstrating the triple bottom line business case for sustainable business practices. Over 50 entities are participating in the GWC, comprising businesses in the small to mid markets, as well as the Fortune 500 and nonprofit sectors. The GWC is an initiative of Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Champions for Sustainability business network. Learn more at greenchallenge.C4SPgh.org.
Innovation Spotlight: Sustainable Businesses Making a Difference
Featuring Underwood Solar Future, LLC
Southwestern Pennsylvania is tapping into cutting-edge people and companies that are offering products, services, and employment to growing markets that contribute to our regional economy based on green and sustainable principles. It is important that these stories are told so that our region’s workforce, consumers, potential business partners, and community members can connect and build relationships with these leading firms.
Champions for Sustainability (C4S), a program of Sustainable Pittsburgh, launched the Innovation Spotlight to help tell the informative and inspirational stories of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s green business organizations in this feature about innovative companies in green products, services, and jobs.
“Solar energy is the future. For every solar panel we bring on line, that much less coal is needed to generate electricity.”
- Fred Underwood, President and Founder, Underwood Solar Future
Read more about the inspirational work of Underwood Solar Future, LLC.
New Tools in the Fight Against Blight
A southwestern PA Training Series
Opening Remarks - C. Gould, Sustainable Pittsburgh
New Tools in the Blight Fight
Conference to kick off Blight & Abandonment municipal training series
(Click here for a program line-up) )
"This morning's 200 attendees is tribute to the sorry reality that blight and abandonment is pervasive across our towns and our Power of 32 region. It is wonderful to see such wide representation in the room from so many sectors and reaches of our region. . .
Once seemingly limited to the stereotypic image of urban decay, blight and abandonment is now a contemporary problem common to all communities. Just as it's a new America where poverty is greater in rural than urban areas, our region is a study of changing socio-economics where pockets of pernicious decline are cropping up in rural, suburban, and urban forms alike. A perspective we partners share is that not only is blight and abandonment ubiquitous across our landscape, but it is recognized to be a marker of larger region-scale concerns. . .
In step with the Broken Window theory, blight and abandonment is appreciated to be both an outcome as well as precursor to a whole host of social, economic, and environmental concerns. As vacant properties manifest, so begets community withdrawal and the onset of loss of control thus inviting a whole host of ills to take hold. While that decaying property with its broken windows may seem to some to be a low civic priority, it actually stands as is either the neighborhood unraveling by blind-eye neglect or the diamond in the rough asset that cries out to be transformed into productive re-use.
It is this "assets and opportunity" conviction that brings us together to explore the innovative and brave interventions our guest speakers will be sharing with you today. These are our pioneers who are revitalizing communities, building new structures, policies, incentives, and tools for community and regional economic development.
Read the full remarks.
See the description of the March 8 event.
Transit Crisis: The public has spoken. Is Harrisburg listening?
Sustainable Pittsburgh was pleased to be among the throngs of organizations staffing tables to show support at the 2/29 Port Authority of Allegheny County hearing on the looming transit cuts. Throughout the day one remarkable testimonial after another was delivered. The collective impact weighs heavily on the sorry days ahead if the Governor were not to provide a funding solution per his commission's recommendations. Sustainable Pittsburgh's remarks are found here.
Sustainable Pittsburgh - Accelerating the policy and practice of sustainability in SWPA
In 2011 Sustainable Pittsburgh (SP) intensified efforts to galvanize formal commitments among businesses and communities. SP's list of 2011 accomplishments truly illustrates what a small organization with solid strategy can achieve.
2012 brings a number of expanded initiatives for Sustainable Pittsburgh, including evolving the Sustainable Community Essentials Rapid Assessment into a sustainability certification program, formal adoption of a Sustainable Business Compact by our region's businesses, continuation of the Green Workplace Challenge, increased education opportunities on targeted sustainability issues, promotion of the region's outdoor recreation opportunities, and continuing strategic work on smart growth and transportation priorities.
Join along side fellow members of Sustainable Pittsburgh in helping us to accelerate the policy and practice of sustainability in Southwestern PA. Learn more.
Governor, as public transportation withers so goes the Commonwealth
Sustainable Pittsburgh urges its 3E Links readers to respond today to the Allegheny Conference's call to action:
"Please let Gov. Corbett and the legislative leaders know that you believe the recommendations made by the Transportation Funding Advisory Commission appointed by the Governor are a good framework for addressing the state’s transportation crisis. Action is especially urgent given the 35% cuts the Port Authority will be forced to make in September 2012 if the crisis is not resolved."
Go to the Conference's website, and scroll down to the "Call to Action" where the Governor's contact information is found: www.alleghenyconference.org/Transit/Default.asp
3E Links subscribers likely resonate with the following list of the ways in which public transportation pays on the triple bottom line:
- Over 50% of downtown Pittsburgh workers and 25% of Oakland workers rely on public transportation. Downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland are, respectively, the number 2 and 3 biggest contributors to Pennsylvania's economy and are the economic engines of southwestern PA.
- One bus takes 40 cars off the road, decreasing traffic congestion and commuting costs for all = more productivity.
- Fewer cars on the road = more available parking spaces.
- Fosters viable compact communities contributing to regional land efficiency and access to jobs.
- Gives consumers access to the retail economy.
- Increases property values and draws investment (transit oriented economic development).
- Reduces living costs per household, putting more disposable income into the regional economy.
- Connection to Pittsburgh International Airport and the world’s business community.
- Funding crisis is relevant to all transit systems in our region (4.6 million rides annually and growing; plus the Port Authority of Allegheny County's 230,000 daily riders and 65 million total passengers annually) and the state, as well as crumbling roads, bridges, and highways, i.e., all transportation infrastructure.
- Vital transit systems are a demand of young, talented knowledge workers who today have options and are highly discriminating in their choice of places to live and work.
- One bus removes the equivalent of 50 cars' airborne emissions for a region already struggling to meet federal regional air quality requirements and experiencing lives shortened because of pollution.
- Greater efficiency in consumption of precious regional resources.
- Access to opportunity thus allowing citizens to participate to their full productive potential.
- Facilitates the diversity vitality upon which our region's innovation was, is, and will be founded.
- A melting pot service for all walks (and those not so ambulatory) of life.
- Transit dependant citizens include our seniors, students, and those who don't own a car.
- Critical access to limited options for accessing healthy food.
Clearly we southwestern Pennsylvanians all benefit from keeping the wheels on the bus. Do let our Governor know your thoughts today.
These triple bottom line benefits of public transportation brought to you by Sustainable Pittsburgh's Board of Directors.
Don't Let Pittsburgh Be a Loser
The impending next wave of dire cuts to public transportation is a grave threat to Pittsburgh's, and thus the whole region's, economy. Roads, bridges, highways, and public transportation are the basis of our productivity. They are the lubrication of our economy. In particular, public transportation provides a lifeline for workers and for businesses. With an unusually high rate of transit ridership, (51% of all downtown commuters use public transit) and the positive economic ramifications of a strong transit system, it is no surprise that long overdue transportation funding solutions finally have bipartisan support in Harrisburg. This presents a golden platter win win opportunity for the Governor. The many ways in which the state has been instrumental in Pittsburgh's resurgence as a global model of resiliency now stand in the balance. There is no upwardly mobile, rising sustainable city in the world with a failing public transportation system. And these systems rely on public support as public services. In the past several years, the Port Authority of Allegheny County has remarkably reformed its management and operations -- more than any transportation entity in the nation. It should no longer be the recipient of the public's ire. The locus is now squarely on Harrisburg with Governor Corbett holding the wheel to steer us away from the precipice. Absent a state funding solution, the Port Authority is forced to deploy draconian service cuts. This could be the beginning of the end of public transportation as we know it and thus the unraveling of Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania's progress.
Allegheny Conference Statement on Proposed Transit Cuts
The Allegheny Conference is extremely concerned about the impact proposed transit cuts would have on our region's people, communities and economy. But there is a solution. We call upon business executives and civic leaders, elected officials and others to encourage Governor Corbett and the General Assembly to act now on the recommendations presented last summer by the Transportation Funding Advisory Commission (TFAC).
Read the full comments here.
View remarks from Steve Bland, CEO, Port Authority of Allegheny County, to the House Democratic Policy Committee.
Visit the Port Authority website for more information.
To reach Governor Corbett, use this link.
Following are news stories covering the issue:
Read the Post-Gazette article:
More Port Authority transit cuts ahead Port Authority CEO says rollback plan 'not a scare tactic,' pleads for state aid
Read the Tribune-Review article:
Port Authority buses may not roll for 45,000
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Our Municipalities are Moving the Ball on Sustainability
With so many units of local government, this region would be well-served for its municipalities to become sustainability pacesetters. Our local governments have a profound role to play in the way we organize ourselves to live lighter, more justly, and with rising prosperity. Good news. Data from the 129 municipalities around the region that completed the on-line Sustainable Community Essentials Rapid Assessment demonstrate sustainability at the local level is taking hold. There is now an encouraging body of insight (91 policies and practices in the Rapid Assessment) serving to demystify what is means to be a sustainable community. And the many exemplar initiatives revealed a set convincing and inspiring precedent for municipalities to emulate the swelling tide of best sustainability practices among their peers. Toward accelerating this trend, in 2012, Sustainable Pittsburgh will be working with the Community Sustainability Coordinators and additional municipal leaders to evolve the Rapid Assessment into a formal SWPA Sustainable Community Essentials Certification Program. In the meantime, have a look at the following summary of the Rapid Assessment results and thank your municipal leaders for working to formally adopt sustainability as the way of ensuring the good life in our region.
View the summary.
New SWPA Sustainability Indicators launched at regional Smart Growth Conference
PittsburghTODAY launched its much anticipated Sustainability Indicators during the 11th annual Smart Growth Conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on December 13. The indicators help to measure the region’s progress and offer insight to the region’s embrace of sustainability.
Sustainable Pittsburgh contracted PittsburghTODAY to create this new category. Currently it includes such indicators as air quality, housing vacancy, daily vehicle miles travelled, traffic congestion and others. The list will continue to be expanded over time.
Close to 300 individuals attended the December 13 Smart Growth Conference, entitled “Smart Growth is Smart Business.” Participants learned about Innovative Financing solutions for urban real estate, housing, and metropolitan infrastructure, heard first hand how Green Infrastructure investments result in cost savings and business opportunities, and they saw real life examples of how blighted properties were transformed into valuable real estate and the related challenges and opportunities experienced in such projects. Overall the emphasis was on specific opportunities and next step action items around which the business community can rally to effectuate positive change.
The conference was sponsored by the PNC Financial Services Group (Gold level) and Bakery Square, Bombardier, and HDR (Silver level). Essential Public Radio served as the event’s media sponsor. The conference was presented by Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Green Building Alliance, NAIOP Pittsburgh Chapter, Pittsburgh Technology Council, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Sustainable Pittsburgh, and the Urban Land Institute Pittsburgh District Council.
Former HUD chief Cisneros advises Pittsburgh to think young
The city of Pittsburgh should think young, according to Henry Cisneros, a former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and now executive chairman of Cityview, a Texas-based real estate investment and development firm. "That's one of the challenges facing the city," said Cisneros, but that wasn't the only challenge expressed at the 11th Annual Southwestern Pennsylvania Smart Growth Conference, held in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown. Other challenges include encouraging city residents to work to benefit not just their own neighborhoods but adjoining areas as well as the entire city, and having the city's public leadership work to resolve existing stormwater problems that cause flooding and other damage.
Smart Growth Conference is smart business move
The conference features sessions on innovative finance, blight and abandonment, green infrastructure and the indicators of smart growth. Former Clinton cabinet member Henry Cisneros, head of the CityView institutional investment firm, and Robert Lang, a Fellow of the Urban Land Institute, lead a lengthy list of presenters. To be smart about growth, businesses need to realize that even multi-national corporations are still local to someone. “How that [local] community operates is going to affect their labor force, resourcing of materials, tax climate and regulatory climate,” says [Brian] Jensen, who also heads the Pennsylvania Economy League of Southwestern Pennsylvania. “The geographical climate they work in will affect their operability and ultimately their profitability.”
Smart Growth conference to focus on sustainability
"While the economy has changed dramatically, smart business is today -- as it always has been -- about keeping operating costs predictable and manageable, maintaining a dependable and skilled workforce and securing easy and affordable access to stable (if not growing) markets," [Brian Jensen, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Economy League] wrote. "As businesses invest in the sustainability of communities they help hold down the costs of government by growing the tax base and influencing policy decisions for wise capital expenditures and efficient delivery of public services" . . . Bill Flanagan, Allegheny Conference executive vice president, said the idea of smart growth is imperative to the organization's plans to revitalize communities and groups that haven't benefitted from growth the region has seen over the past two decades . . . "We're trying to create more seats at regional decision-making tables to allow our businesses to focus on ways in which quality of life, sustainable development and helping the regional economy equate to business opportunities," [Court Gould, Executive Director of Sustainable Pittsburgh] said.
Dearly Beloved Transit Rider... It's House In Order Time
Pittsburgh is a transit riders' town. With such a high percentage of workers and the public using public transportation, you know transit and the economy are joined at the hip.
Remember those drastic cuts this past spring? There's worse trouble ahead. We can anticipate those cuts will be nothing compared to what is coming now that Harrisburg has made it clear that a solution to the state's transportation funding crisis is not a priority. So, unfortunately, it's time we all start planning for a drastically smaller transit system.
Is weekend transit service important to you, or perhaps your employees? How about weekday evenings and nights? That's right. These are the depth of service cuts the Port Authority of Allegheny County has no choice but to begin planning to deploy in the face of our funding crisis.
The irony is that elected officials - who believe raising revenue for roads and transit will hurt the economy - are rendering our economy a calamitous blow by starving its life blood: affordable mobility that links us to opportunity, to jobs, to healthcare, to living. Public transportation is at the heart of our shared prosperity.
The 9/24/11 article, "Port Authority 'death spiral' could come with more cuts", is a must read for all who - or whose employees - depend on the bus or the T. We have about a 10 month window to contingency plan. Van and carpools, 4/10 work weeks, bike commuting, telecommuting, new parking accommodations are among strategies to consider now.
Our advance warning is here. It's time to get our transit back-up plan in order. We all, riders, and our economy depend on it.
Court Gould, Executive Director, Sustainable Pittsburgh
Ernie Hogan, Executive Director, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group
Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
Sustainable Pittsburgh and partners target Blight & Abandonment and Waste Management & Recycling in new programming for municipalities:
Topics were identified as a result of municipal self-assessments of their communities’ sustainability
The 120 municipalities around our region that completed the Sustainable Community Essentials Rapid Assessmentprovided a wealth of information in terms of the policy and practice of sustainability here in the region. Responding to those insights, Sustainable Pittsburgh and the Local Government Academy have embarked on an ambitious training agenda to help municipalities hasten the pace sustainability on targeted topics based on evidenced need and opportunity.
The local philanthropic community recognizes the regional economic high stakes and key role of local government in advancing sustainable community development. The Buhl Foundation is supporting development of a municipal programming series to address Blight & Abandonment. Similarly, The Alcoa Foundation has provided grant support for a series on Waste Management & Recycling.
Additional generous funders and partner organizations are lending their support and expertise to enable a range of training programs intended to build on existing municipal best practices and precedent. A key benefit of the Rapid Assessment was to show that sustainability, as reported across 91 actions, is alive and thriving around our region. For 2012, our plan is to evolve this initiative into a formal Sustainable Community Certification.
Thank you for donating through Pittsburgh Gives!
According to the Pittsburgh Foundation, individual contributions that flowed into PittsburghGives on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 totaled $5.15 million. Contributions will each receive an equal pro-rated share of the $750,000 matching funds, creating a total of $5.9 million raised for nonprofits.
Thank you very much for supporting nonprofits in western PA.
Over 50 Main Street businesses earn Sustainable Business Designation through Sustainable Pittsburgh program
In late 2010, Sustainable Pittsburgh, in partnership with Town Center Associates, launched the Sustainable Business Designation program to advance sustainable practices among small, local businesses around Allegheny and Beaver County’s Main Streets. The program recognizes businesses for implementing sustainability actions that are simultaneously good for their bottom line, the environment, and the social fabric of their communities. To date, over fifty businesses have earned sustainable business designation through this program.
To create the program, Sustainable Pittsburgh developed a short checklist of sustainability criteria for businesses. These criteria include provisions related to energy conservation, waste reduction, stormwater management, land use policies, and alternative transportation, among other sustainability-related topics.
Sustainable Business Designation is reflected for each qualifying business in the business directory for their town, soon to be available at www.DowntownFirst.net, as well as through a certificate of acknowledgment and window display stickers. The designation helps customers identify and choose businesses that are committed to sustainability as a core principle to their operations and business model. Businesses can earn an additional, Local Business, designation in the directory as well.
The program is intended to inspire local, small businesses to apply sustainability practices and increase vitality among the region’s rich fabric of small towns and neighborhoods. If you and your business are interested in signing up for the program, visit: www.downtownfirst.net/sustainable-businesses.
Sustainable Pittsburgh is proud of the businesses who have shown their leadership in earning sustainable designation, becoming stars in their communities. Click here to view a list of businesses that have earned the Sustainable Business Designation.
Sustainable Pittsburgh offers Sustainable Solutions
Niche consultancy provides integrated sustainability analysis and recommendations for business, nonprofit, and municipal clients
After years of demonstrated results, Sustainable Pittsburgh is pleased to release case studies showcasing the positive impact its Sustainable Solutions Consultancy has had for its clients.
Through Sustainable Solutions, Sustainable Pittsburgh brings together a tailor-made multi-disciplinary team of experts to conduct a comprehensive Sustainability Assessment – an integrated examination of a client’s needs such as: energy usage, waste management, storm water management, transportation options, management practices, policies, strategic assets, and other areas. These Assessments use a whole systems approach and are intended to build capacity and provide specific quantified recommendations to save money in operations, conserve resources, enhance civic stewardship, and foster a culture of sustainability practice.
Sustainable Pittsburgh recognizes that businesses, municipalities, and nonprofits need assistance when it comes to incorporating more sustainable policies and practices into their operations. We’re happy to help. We’ve worked with a range of clients including The Mall at Robinson, Cranberry Township, YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, and others.
Are you ready for a Sustainable Solution? Please visit our website to view our new case studies. And click here to view the Sustainable Solutions brochure.
Municipal Government joining business trend of appointing Sustainability Coordinators
The private sector around the nation and here in southwestern Pennsylvania is on a fast uptake in adopting sustainability as a top level business strategy. Remarkably, during these recession years, the membership of Sustainable Pittsburgh's Business Sustainability Coordinators/Officers professional development network has grown. There are over 70 Business Sustainability Coordinators we know of, representing companies of all types and sizes around the region.
Given the special role local governments play in fostering sustainable development, it's a certainty that municipalities follow the business sector lead in the bottom line practicalities of appointing municipal Sustainability Coordinators. We've been watchful for the opportunity to begin convening such a cohort. But it was not until Sustainable Pittsburgh deployed the Sustainable Community Essentials Rapid Assessment that we learned of sufficient numbers of existing Community Sustainability Coordinators to launch this parallel network.
Sustainable Pittsburgh is pleased to announce the trend of municipal sustainability programming is alive and well as evidenced by the fourth meeting of the Community Sustainable Coordinators network. One of the aspects most valued within the group is learning from peers and local experts about past and current practices and policies central to integrating sustainability in municipal operations, management, and public services.
In addition to self-help, the Community Sustainability Coordinators are committed to work collectively at scale for regional progress. They've decided to focus initially on impacting waste management and recycling by deploying a training program geared to elected officials and municipal decision makers. Indeed, municipal leaders are at the front line of sustainable community development. It is from our home towns that we take a cue to living in ways that add social, economic, and environmental abundance.
If you know of a Community Sustainability Coordinator, urge them to contact Sustainable Pittsburgh to join in the growing group of sustainability professionals. When you see residents and leaders performing as sustainability coordinators from the following communities, be sure to congratulate them:
Allegheny County, Cranberry Township, City of Pittsburgh, East Liberty, Township of Upper St. Clair, Borough of Monaca, Mt. Lebanon, Ohio Township, Scott Township, Urban Redevelopment Authority, and YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh.
Transportation Funding Update
Last week, Sustainable Pittsburgh shared with its 3E Links readers information regarding Governor Corbett’s Transportation Funding Advisory Commission’s recommendations. Included was Sustainable Pittsburgh’s encouragement to communicate to Governor Corbett just how critical transportation systems, infrastructure and public transportation are to our economy.
The recommendations of the Commission provide a positive framework from which to develop specific proposals that would benefit all modes of transportation. (note: the following two links will connect you to Sustainable Pittsburgh's latest 3E Links newsletter.)
- See a bulleted list on why you should be concerned if no improvements are made to State funding.
- See how this affects public transportation.
On Monday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette featured Sustainable Pittsburgh’s letter to the editor, "Transportation group provided sound advice."
An article in Tuesday's Post-Gazette, "Panel: How to do more on roads," provides an overview of the Panel's recommendations.
The Transportation Funding Advisory Commission full report is now available at: www.tfac.pa.gov
Smart Growth Business Council - SWPA
Sustainable Pittsburgh is in good company with the growing numbers of business leaders nationally who recognize that regional growth and development patterns -- guided by principles of smart growth and sustainability -- improve quality of life, lessen the cost of doing business, increase long-term profitability, help reduce tax and infrastructure costs, and contribute to recruitment and retention of employees. We recognize however, that the growing trend of business leaders engaged in regional smart growth has yet to really take hold here in the Pittsburgh region.
Last Fall's 10th annual SWPA Smart Growth Conference, with over 400 attendees, signaled that we are reaching a critical mass. It also illustrated need for greater private sector participation. Business leaders we've spoken with recently feel that the sector is now ready to be catalyzed.
In the post G-20 Pittsburgh upswing, time is ripe for forming a business partnership that is focused on rationalizing our region's patterns of development to more successfully spur economic prosperity and extend this region's signature livability to more persons. The bottom line business case of smart growth is increasingly apparent.
Sustainable Pittsburgh is looking for private sector leaders who seek ways to connect with their peers to identify:
- leverage points for channeling the pattern and character of growth and development to hasten regional sustainability that protects and enhances business investments
- policies and practices to ensure economic growth occurs without the impacts and inefficiencies of unchecked sprawl
- regional and local scale actions businesses can take to promote sustainable communities
- opportunities to have a seat at the table in regional, county, city planning and programming
- incentives to level the field for development and redevelopment to revitalize our older urban centers
- plans and policies at the new economics nexus of land use, transportation, housing, and development
- ways to engage business leaders in helping make smart growth the way of doing business in SWPA
This is an open invitation to the region's business community. Drop us a line if you are interested in establishing the Smart Growth Business Council - SWPA. Its launch will be the focus of the 11th annual Smart Growth Conference in October. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sustainable Pittsburgh Provides Remarks on Marcellus Shale
"The very definition of Sustainable Development provides a framework for considering the Marcellus gold rush: 'Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.' Within this definition is a value that meeting our needs responsibly means not shifting a burden from one population group or even from one generation to another. Let's consider such hard and fast lessons we can derive from the principles of sustainable development:
• Be mindful of the past lest we not replicate mistakes . . .
• Sustainable consumption . . .
• Environmental justice . . .
. . . In these days where sustainable prosperity is dependent on raising all boats, we can ill afford to fracture the region and any one of ours' quality of life. The principles of sustainable development are a recipe for avoiding mistakes of the past. They give a compass to marrying environmental protection with safeguarding ourselves and our communities while enhancing our regional economy. These are just a few thoughts along the over used lines of "we have to get this industry right" in order to realize its lasting potential."