Bullish on Green Green Building Alliance CEO Likes What He Sees in Pittsburgh's Sustainable Buildings Development

Article excerpt

Since 2011, Pittsburgh native Mike Schiller has worked as CEO at Green Building Alliance, a South Side nonprofit organization that promotes the development of sustainable and efficient buildings.

Mr. Schiller helps guide the organization's ever-expanding mission and recently shared his thoughts about the region and the growth of the Green Building Alliance, which was founded in 1993.

Q. How is Pittsburgh doing in constructing sustainable buildings?

A. Pittsburgh continues to play a strong leadership role in the advancement of healthy and high performance buildings. With 120 LEED certified buildings in the city and more than 200 in the region, we are among the nation's leading cities. The Phipps' Center for Sustainable Landscapes, built to meet the Living Building Challenge standard, is one the most sustainable buildings in the world and gaining appropriate worldwide recognition.

New projects like the Tower at PNC, the Frick Environmental Center and Chatham's Eden Hall campus continue to push the boundaries for the design and construction of new sustainable spaces. The industry is creating and embracing more technologies to support green building, and the research being done at Carnegie Mellion University's Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics and the University of Pittsburgh's Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation are shaping design and policy for the next generation of buildings worldwide.

Q. How important are green buildings to the region?

A. Very! Healthy and high-performing buildings are a key component to making and keeping Pittsburgh competitive for the next generation of people and businesses.

Green buildings reduce operating costs; create healthier and more productive workplaces; help attract businesses and employees that value spending large amounts of time in a healthy and high- performing place; generate local jobs as part of the upgrades; and support additional local jobs and businesses that manufacture the products and services behind all these retrofits.

Round estimates of financially viable performance-based building renovations to just Downtown Pittsburgh reach $3 billion of investment, which means that many jobs, product sales and a healthier, happier population of workers and residents.

Q. What is your biggest initiative in the next year? …