Press conference, Big Green Block Party celebration event. Event and public tours planned for opening of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

Pittsburgh, Pa. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens continues to progress sustainably. First of all it’s getting ready for next month’s opening of the Exhibit Staging Center (ESC). In addition, it’s a state-of-the-art facility. One which is being masterfully transformed from a dilapidated public works garage. Thereby transformed into a building of groundbreaking sustainability.

Upon completion, showcasing therefore three of the “Greenest Buildings in the World.”

So on a Single Site showcasing a first-of-its-kind nexus. Featuring revolutionary green buildings of three different construction types. A new (Center for Sustainable Landscapes).  Also a modular (Nature Lab) and existing (ESC). Serving as a model to inspire guests from around the world.

Phipps Conservatory Prepares to Debut the Exhibit Staging Center, Showcasing Three of the Greenest Buildings in the World on a Single Site

Maintenance staff and grounds crew, a group whose well-being is often overlooked. It will be the primary occupants of the ESC. Which is designed to ensure that the health and well-being of all staff members is a top priority. To enhance the guest experience, the ESC will be open to visitors for a unique behind-the-scenes look at the Conservatory’s past and future flower shows. Guests can enter a vestibule to view future display props. Props being constructed will also offer a look into the Phipps Vault. Trips where historic topiaries and props from past shows displayed. With more features including a yoga studio and fitness room. Because Phipps’ ESC will set the standard for healthy existing buildings. Debuting thereby as one of the greenest structures of its kind.

This former public works building was similarly a typical industrial facility of the 1960s. Therefore similarly complete with block wall masonry. As well as a flat roof and no windows. Also, was in no way sustainable in its design. Phipps committed to adaptive re-use of space. That’s through collaborative, holistic processes. Processes with a design team led by FortyEighty Architecture. Resulting in thereby a dynamic, modernized structure. A structure with the goal of achieving three of the world’s most rigorous building standard certifications. They are Living Building Challenge, LEED® Platinum and WELL Platinum.

So upon completion of the ESC and successful fulfillment. All of the Living Building Challenge’s one-year performance period. Phipps will have therefore three Living Buildings on its site. All emerging as the first multi-facility living system of its kind in the world.

ESC Sustainable Highlights:

  1. The ESC’s project site, a remediated brownfield. They restored as a safe environment for people, plants and animals.
  2. Biophilic design elements and art celebrating the bonds between humans and nature. Plus, healthy impacts of the building on occupants and guests.
  3. The ESC’s vegetative living wall further enhances the building’s biophilic connection.
  4. The facility is designed to generate all the energy it uses each year and capture and manage all storm water that falls on site.
  5. With geothermal wells buried into the ground, building is able to efficiently heat and cool the facility. All by harnessing the natural energy from the earth’s consistent 55-degree internal temperature.
  6. The roof of the ESC is therefore home to photovoltaic solar panels. Solar panels which capture the sun’s energy to thereby convert to electricity.
    The DC Difference:

In conclusion, Direct current (DC) electricity is the form of electricity.  Collected by solar panels and as a result storing by their batteries. However most American buildings use alternating current (AC). In conventional settings, a device called a solar inverter is converts the DC electricity from solar panels into AC. Therefore wasting 10 – 15% of solar energy in the process of converting to AC and then back to DC. Then again to power LED light bulbs. So ESC breaks this wasteful convention. All using direct DC from the solar panels and batteries. These for the lights in the building.

1.The lagoon next to the ESC to store rainwater. Also, duplicate the natural treatment processes. Treatment of marshes and wetlands on site.
2. Chemical-free sanitary water recycled and treated. Treated through a constructed wetland that uses natural plants and microbes. As well as sand filters and UV lights.
3. Also a green roof over the ESC’s vestibule helps manage storm water.
4. In conclusion, the Philips Conservatory and Botanical Gardens use of Declare label products. Products along with Living Building Red List materials. Which means the building is free. Free from many of the toxic chemicals typically found in building materials.

Finally and more importantly for more information on Phipps’ Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Sustainability leadership and commitment, visit