Pittsburgh’s Frick Environmental Center (FEC) has achieved Living Building certification from the Living Future Institute. A project of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh, the site is the first municipally-owned building in the U.S. to achieve this designation, according to Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), the project’s architect.
“The international recognition of the Frick Environmental Center is the perfect reflection of the deeply-rooted convictions shared by the City of Pittsburgh, the Parks Conservancy, and the entire construction and design team.” said Patricia Culley, BCJ senior associate.
Completed in 2016, the 1486-m2 (16,000-sf) center is one of 21 buildings in the world to achieve Living Building certification, reports BCJ, and only the second in Pennsylvania. FEC is one of the first to meet Building Challenge designation under v2.1, which requires a building to produce as much energy as it consumes annually, eliminate toxic and harmful chemicals, and collect and treat its own water. A net-zero building, FEC is powered by energy produced on-site through solar panels and air collected from geothermal wells and is designed to use 40 percent less energy when compared to buildings of the same size in the same region.
FEC serves as an educational facility for students of all ages, offering environmental classes, events, and programs. It is also a gateway for the historic 644-acre (261-ha) Frick Park.
“What a great accomplishment for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the city,” said William Peduto, the city’s mayor. “Together, we are continuing our leadership in green building standards and environmental education for all.”
The center achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) earlier this year. Additionally, FEC received a Leadership Award from the Green Building Alliance, a Wood Design Award from WoodWorks, and an Education Facility Design Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
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