Tag Archives: LEED-certified buildings

My Love Letter to the South Side

Did you know that the South Side has a beautiful, newly renovated library? And that it’s open for business? And that I get to work there? It’s the best!

Photo from the South Pittsburgh Reporter

I love my neighborhood. I love the energy of East Carson Street and the (relative) tranquility of the Slopes. I love that I have so many bars, restaurants, galleries, theaters, bike trails and parks in my backyard. We even have a new dog park, so my girl Ozzy is happy on the South Side, too!

You know who else loves the South Side? Rick Sebak. Check out his DVD South Side. Learn about Veronica’s Veil and what the heck a StepTrek is. Or check out Greetings from Pittsburgh: Neighborhood Narratives, an “omnibus film created by Pittsburgh filmmakers features nine short fictional films set in diverse Pittsburgh neighborhoods, linked together via short sequences of a bus traveling throughout city streets.”

Did you know there is a work of fiction specifically based on the South Side? Scotch and Holy Water : A Pittsburgh Story by Gini Sunner. It tells the story of three immigrant families (Irish, Jewish, and Polish) who all lived and had businesses on Carson Street during World War II.

For more serious fare, check out Pittsburgh’s South Side by Stuart Boehmig. It’s part of the excellent Images of America Series and includes information about the historic buildings, people and events in the early days of Carson Street. Or visit the amazing Pittsburgh Iron and Steel Heritage Collection online and check out old South Side photographs.

Here are some of my personal favorite South Side things. (Besides the library, of course.)

I eat here. And hereHere, too. Oh, and here. I eat and drink here. I met my husband here. Look at art. Here, too. Watch art. Watch movies. Buy a bike. Get your bike fixed. I buy shirts here. I buy jewelry here and clothes here. I get my hair cut here. I get beautified and massaged here. Get coffee. Get more coffee. Get even more coffee, because there’s never enough!

And always, always, ice cream and candy.

So come visit the new South Side library! I’m always happy to give the nickel tour. Ask me questions about the geo-thermal heating and cooling system and LEED certification; because I can answer them!



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The Library’s New Neighbor, a Living Building

As I walk to work and cross the Panther Hollow bridge, I marvel at the twinkling 1893 glass building just ahead. Phipps Conservatory, a steel and glass Victorian greenhouse, shines in the sunlight, sparkles in the snow. Phipps has been a constant neighbor of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh—Main, since construction began for both complexes the same year, 1893.

Lately I’ve see a confusion of equipment behind Phipps. I noticed earth movers biting into the side of the hill, and assumed the work was an effort to shore up the bluff, since the hill appeared much too steep for a building site.

Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes rendering (from Phipps website)

Phipps website informs me I’m wrong about the steep slope. The land is being reshaped to accomodate the third phase of Phipps expansion project, a 24,350-square-foot education, research and administration complex called the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL).

Pittsburgh boasts 24 LEED-certified buildings, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, currently the highest standard for green buildings. Phipps accepted the Living Building Challenge issued by the Cascadia chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, a program that “defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today and acts to diminish the gap between current limits and ideal solutions.” Phipps describes the Center this way.

Designed and built by the people of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania as an innovation for the world, the Center for Sustainable Landscapes will emerge as a Living Building, exceeding LEED Platinum Certification, by generating all of its own energy with renewable resources and capturing all water used on site.

Construction began in October, 2010 and the project is expected to be completed December, 2011. I wonder how I’ll welcome our new neighbor. A bouquet of winter roses? A box of cookies made with sustainably grown chocolate?


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