UN Economic Council, Green Building Alliance Launch Pittsburgh’s International Center of Excellence on High Performance Buildings

The United Nations Economic Council on Europe (UNECE) and the Green Building Alliance (GBA) have signed an agreement to launch Pittsburgh’s International Center of Excellence on High Performance Buildings. The center will use UNECE’s Framework Guidelines for Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings as a guideline to distill best practices in design, construction, training, and policy into scalable building solutions.

“Of all the approaches to addressing the world’s climate challenge, improving the energy performance of buildings stands out. Beyond reducing our carbon footprint, this action will enhance quality of life, reduce energy bills, improve health, create jobs and encourage innovation,” said UNECE director of sustainable energy, Scott Foster. “The UN is pleased and proud to partner with Pittsburgh’s Green Building Alliance in support of our high-performance buildings initiative.”

The City of Pittsburgh is partnering with Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Conference, developers, and business leaders on the project. It is the second city in the world to participate in the program, following New York’s Building Energy Exchange.

The center will conduct the following programs:

  • Education & technical training for architects, engineers, planners, contractors, and tradespeople in international best practices for sustainable construction, design, and deep energy reduction;
  • Conferences to gather leaders in government, business, and academia to identify challenges and best practices to high performance building;
  • Technical assistance to provide direct expertise to projects implementing new technologies or building methods and to create demonstration projects;
  • Research collaboration with local universities and companies to develop innovative building policies, technologies, and finance mechanisms; and,
  • Advocating for changes in local and state policy, including building codes, zoning incentives, energy regulation, and climate and resilience strategies.

“The International Centers transform how we build cities, from the materials we use, to building design and construction, to the policies that set new standards for the future,” stated GBA executive director Jenna Cramer. “We have the unparalleled opportunity to champion cutting-edge innovation while transitioning our workforce to create a healthier future.