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Jan. 11, 2008

Building, renovation projects seek LEED certification

The new Children’s Hospital isn’t the only UPMC facility seeking LEED certification. The recently completed Melwood offices, soon-to-be-constructed Passavant patient tower, and ongoing renovations in UPMC’s interior spaces at the U.S. Steel Tower are all LEED-registered and seeking certification.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council website, “LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project is environmentally responsible, profitable, and a healthy place to live and work.” The verification is contingent on the Green Building Rating System, which “is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings.”

In the case of the U.S. Steel Tower renovations, energy conservation and renewable energy are key:

  • The floor plan is designed to maximize natural daylight by allowing for open office spaces near perimeter windows, thus limiting the amount of artificial light needed.
  • Construction debris, such as metal, cardboard, and other renewable materials, are separated from general debris and recycled.
  • Many of the materials chosen — carpets, glues, etc. — are toxin-free.
  • Water-conserving plumbing fixtures are being installed.
  • Many of the construction materials are obtained from suppliers close to downtown Pittsburgh, reducing the distance the materials must travel.

Through these and similar measures at the other sites, these new UPMC building projects hope to be recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council and awarded LEED certification.

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