By Heather Abraham

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In a bustling part of the city sits a building that is now one of the greenest in the world.

Phipps Conservatory is being honored for its Center for Sustainable Landscapes.

The center meets The Living Building Challenge’s strict requirements, which means the building has to use clean, efficient ways to negate its energy and water use over the course of one year.

The building achieves its goals by using solar panels, a wind turbine and more than one-dozen geothermal walls.

“A lot of these things are not out of our reach. We can make buildings that are very sustainable, that are green, that can be great places to work, live and play,” Richard Piacentini with Phipps Conservatory said.

Piacentini said over the course of one year, they were able to use solar and wind technology to power the building to keep it off the grid.

They were also able to contain all the water.

“We have constructed wetlands to treat all the sanitary water from this building on site. We have rain gardens and lagoons to capture all the storm water for the site as well. None of the water that lands on the lower site where the building is located leaves the site. It all stays here,” Piacentini said.

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps entered into a contest – The Living Building Challenge.

It is the first to achieve four of the highest green building standards.

“To have one of the greenest buildings in the world here in the city – it’s a building designed by people that live here in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania. So, it’s a great showcase of what we can accomplish in this region,” Piacentini said.

Phipps isn’t stopping either.

Now, they are working on two other buildings for the living building challenges.

“When you think about what’s a good building, what’s a great building that we can be building for the future, this is what good looks like,” Piacentini said.

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