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The $7.8 million, 24,350-sq.-ft. Phipps Conservatory’s Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, PA, will be “one of the greenest buildings in the world,” says Richards V. Piacentini, executive director. It should be complete sometime next year.

It will sit on 2.65 acres of property behind the conservatory and serve as the conservatory’s education, research and administration building. It’s the first project in the world being built to simultaneously meet three sustainable building standards: LEED Platinum, the Living Building Challenge and SITES.

Sustainable Landscape

— Sustainable landscape features all non-invasive, native plants. Click here to view the proposed plant list.
— Plants will use rainwater as irrigation – no additional irrigation will be installed
— A walking trail and boardwalk lead through a variety of landscape communities including wetland, rain garden, water’s edge, shade garden, lowland hardwood slope, successional slope, oak woodland and upland groves
— Restores natural landscape function, provides wildlife habitat, and offers educational opportunity

Green Roof

— Reduces volume of storm water runoff and pollutants in storm water runoff
— Insulates building to reduce HVAC cooling in summer and heating in winter
— Extensive green roof design with a 6-in. soil depth and a variety of plants, including edibles and ornamentals
— Reduces heat island effect
— Demonstration gardens for residential applications, especially urban landscapes
— Beautifully landscaped space for an event

Rainwater Harvesting

— Storm water from upper campus glass roofs and lower site will be captured and
stored in two 1,700-gal. underground cisterns
— Rainwater will be used for toilet flushing, as well as interior irrigation and maintenance as required
— Ultralow flow plumbing fixtures include waterless urinals and dual-flush toilets for water conservation
— Greatly reduces impact on municipal sewage treatment and energy-intensive potable water systems

Lagoon System

— Captures stormwater runoff from portions of the site, the CSL roof, the maintenance building roof, and overflow from the underground cisterns
— Replicates natural water treatment process that occurs in wetlands and marshes
— Water flows through a 7-step process where plants and their symbiotic root microbes absorb organic and mineral nutrients
— Water is processed to tertiary non-potable standards, which is comparable to water exiting sewage treatment plant post-treatment conservation
— Post-treatment water that overflows the lagoon will be permeated naturally into the landscape through a series of infiltration system.

Constructed Wetland

— Treat all sanitary water from CSL and adjacent maintenance building
— Subsurface flow constructed wetland system
– 2-stage wetland treatment cell system
— Sand filtration provides additional treatment of the wetland effluent
— Ultraviolet process disinfects water to gray water standards
— Greatly reduces impact on municipal sewage treatment and energy-intensive potable water systems

Permeable Paving

— Permeable asphalt, unit pavers and stone paving
— Maximizes permeability of all paved surfaces throughout site
— Allows natural infiltration of site storm water

LM Staff

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4 Comments on "Will this be the greenest building on the greenest site in the U.S.?"

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  1. Pond Leak says:

    I was looking and browsing for some useful tips regarding landscaping of my back yard during search i got that post its also useful for me thanks for posting it.

  2. A really green building. They sure are walking the talk. I hope other companies and buildings follow suit.

  3. This is taking green to the max – let us know how it comes out, maybe you can post some images of the project under construction or when its completed.

  4. Jason Scott says:

    Very inspiring! the water management system sounds amazing.