Pittsburgh building owners pledge to cut energy, water use

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Owners of some of Downtown's largest buildings have committed to cutting energy, water and transportation consumption by 50 percent over the next 18 years as part of a national campaign to conserve resources.

In all, owners of 61 properties representing 23.3 million square feet of space in the Golden Triangle and the North Shore have signed on to be part of the Pittsburgh 2030 District as part of a national Architecture 2030 Challenge. About 38 percent of the Downtown business district is represented in the pledges so far.

Among the buildings involved are the historic Allegheny County Courthouse, One Oxford Centre, BNY Mellon Center, Fifth Avenue Place, the One, Two and Three PNC Plaza buildings and the new Tower at PNC Plaza skyscraper, PNC Park, Benedum Center, the O'Reilly Theater, the City-County Building and the county jail.

As part of the initiative, owners of the buildings will look for ways over the course of nearly two decades to cut consumption, whether it's by installing new lights or windows or replacing antiqued or inefficient heating and cooling systems.

Many of the property owners involved publicly pledged their buildings during an event this afternoon at the Benedum Center.

"This is the celebration. The work starts right after this," said Michael J. Schiller, executive director of the Green Building Alliance, which is spearheading the local challenge.

He said he was "thrilled" to get the owners of 38 properties involved and hopes to recruit more in the weeks and months ahead. He said it took officials in Seattle two years to accumulate the same amount of square footage in pledges that Pittsburgh got in two to three months.

"I think that speaks to how progressive and aware property owners are in Pittsburgh," he said.

The Green Building Alliance said reductions are important because buildings in the United States are responsible for up to 50 percent of the country's energy use, 14 percent of potable water consumption and 38 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.

Pittsburgh is one of three cities that have signed up for the challenge so far. Seattle and Cleveland are the others. homepage - neigh_city - breaking

Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.


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