Sustainability

Facilities Management is committed to creating, sustaining, and celebrating a green campus through the following initiatives.

Sustainable Design and Construction

FM continually develops and updates University design standards with sustainable and energy-saving features. Five Pitt construction projects have received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, and the University is pursuing LEED certification for nine current projects.

Standard energy-efficient lighting is required, and no new incandescent lighting may be installed unless required for research. Occupancy sensors are installed in many areas to turn off lights when the space is not in use, and Pitt's building-automation system controls space temperatures in accordance with occupancy schedules.

Carpet installations must include a minimum of 25 percent recycled content, and most paints and adhesives contain no, or very low levels of, volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Low-flow plumbing fixtures are installed to reduce water use on campus, and most new laboratories are equipped with energy-saving heat-recovery systems. Pitt construction follows a "salvage and reuse" strategy to minimize waste, recyling as much as 97 percent of construction debris.

Energy Conservation

Since 1996, FM energy-conservation projects have achieved nearly $32 million in energy cost avoidance. A few examples:

  • Electric, steam, and chilled water metering is now automated.
  • Installation of an upper-campus chilled water plant resulted in the elimination of three stand-alone chillers.
  • When FM replaced carpeting in Hillman Library recently, all of the carpet removed from the building was recycled—diverting 71,240 pounds of carpet from landfills and retiring 255 tons of carbon dioxide credits.
  • Pitt has invested $8.7 million to upgrade 71 campus elevators, resulting in significant electrical savings and better elevator service and accessibility.

Pollution/Emissions Reduction

Pitt and UPMC together constructed the Carrillo Street Steam Plant, which began operation in 2009. It's fueled entirely by natural gas and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology that substantially lowers greenhouse gas emissions. Carrillo has been named one of the cleanest university heating plants in the United States.

Prior to the Carrillo plant's construction, Pitt's Oakland campus and UPMC received all of their steam from the Bellefield Boiler Plant, which was fueled primarily by coal—until 2009 when it, too, was converted to an all-natural-gas facility.

Recycling

FM launched an aggressive recycling initiative in 2005. Since then, Pitt has continually expanded its recyling efforts to include cardboard, aluminum, glass, plastics, paper, batteries, cell phones, and even iPods. These materials are collected in bins and boxes in residence halls and other buildings across campus.

Campus Greening

From classroom buildings to residence halls, FM nurtures numerous green spaces throughout the Pittsburgh campus.

In 2011, for example, FM worked with students and Pitt's Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation to create the campus's first rain garden, located on the lawn of the Petersen Events Center. The garden soaks up excess rainwater and naturally infiltrates it into the soil.

FM has installed green roofs atop Benedum Hall and Fanny Edel Falk Elementary School. Another such roof is planned for Hillman Plaza. Green roofs collect and recycle rainfall, lessening the amount of storm water draining into the city's sewer system, among other benefits.