Last edited 23 Feb 2020

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Center for Sustainable Landscapes

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In February 2020, it was reported that The Center for Sustainable Landscapes had been awarded a BREEAM Outstanding rating, placing it in the top 1% of buildings globally for building performance. Photo: Paul G Weigman.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a globally-recognised green leader in sustainability and BRE Global, a world leading, multi-disciplinary building science organisation, announced that the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) has been certified using the BREEAM USA standard for existing buildings. The CSL is the first building in the United States to achieve a BREEAM Outstanding rating and the first building certified under BREEAM in the state of Pennsylvania.

BREEAM was developed in 1990 by BRE Global, the first assessment method for buildings in the world. Today BREEAM is internationally recognised as the most comprehensive and holistic environmental assessment method, with more than 2,280,000 registered projects and more than 570,000 certified buildings across 85 countries.

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes is a 24,350-square-foot education, research and administration facility at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, a public garden attraction in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Designed and built to generate all of its own energy, and treating and reusing all water captured on-site, it was the first facility in the world to meet four of the world’s highest green construction standards – The Living Building Challenge, WELL Building Platinum, SITES Platinum and LEED® Platinum – and it now adds BREEAM Outstanding In-Use to its resume.

BREEAM In-Use assesses and rates the performance of existing buildings around the world. BREEAM USA In-Use has been adapted to reflect differences in American standards and practices while still providing the global comparability and rigour that distinguishes the BREEAM standard. Certification is achieved through independent, third-party assessment conducted on site, giving stakeholders confidence about their building’s performance and recognition that a building meets, and continues to meet, the robust BREEAM In-Use sustainability standards.

Richard Piacentini, Phipps’ president and CEO said: “At Phipps, we believe that public gardens have a role to play in mitigating the challenge of climate change, and we believe the answer lies in regenerative thinking that extends to our buildings, programs and operations. The achievement of the BREEAM rating helps us to communicate the value of green building to new audiences while placing us in the company of some of the world’s most innovative sustainable building projects.”

3R Sustainability supported the Phipps team throughout the assessment process and the certification was carried out by BREEAM USA In-Use licensed Assessor Julia Craighill of Ensight Consulting.

Kathy Hrabovsky, 3R’s Sustainability Manager and Project Lead said: “The Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) is an exceptional example of what can be achieved when a building is not only designed with high performance in mind, but is held to the highest standard for building operations.”

Shamir Ghumra, Director of BREEAM at BRE Global said, “This is a significant achievement and another milestone for BREEAM in America. The Phipps team, working closely with Julia Craighill at Ensight Consulting, have gone beyond best practice and have really set the bar in terms of the BREEAM rating achieved. With so many visitors coming to Phipps every year we hope that this certification will inspire others to do the same.”


This article originally appeared as 'Phipps Conservatory achieves highest BREEAM In-Use rating in the United States', published on the BREEAM website on 21 February 2020.

--BRE Group

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