The Assembly Achieves LEED Gold Status
University of Pittsburgh, Wexford Science & Technology partner to breathe new life of environmental sustainability into 100-year-old-plus Ford plant
PITTSBURGH, PA Oct. 26, 2022 — The Assembly, a century-old building transformed into a world-class, state-of-the-art life sciences research and innovation facility, has been awarded LEED Gold certification. Created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is the most widely used green building rating system globally and an international symbol of excellence.
Starting out as a Model-T assembly line and showroom for the Ford Motor Company at 5051 Centre Avenue in Bloomfield, The Assembly was developed by Wexford Science & Technology, LLC, and achieved LEED Gold based on its design, construction, and operations practices focused on improving environmental and human health.
The Assembly is the second LEED certified space leased by the University of Pittsburgh and the eighteenth project under University auspices to receive a LEED certification since 2005, when Pitt’s McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine was awarded the University’s first LEED Gold certification.
Pitt officials made the announcement on National Sustainability Day, which is the fourth Wednesday of every October, as well as during Campus Sustainability Month, an international celebration each October called for by The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). For the University of Pittsburgh, this newest LEED Gold certification ties into campus-wide and community efforts including the Plan for Pitt, the Pitt Sustainability Plan and long-time commitment to third-party certified green buildings.
“The University of Pittsburgh is proud of our long history of LEED certified buildings, which demonstrates our commitment to healthy and high performing spaces and places. For nearly two decades, Pitt has used LEED certification to demonstrate that our buildings are designed, constructed, and operated to the highest levels of sustainability,” said Aurora Sharrard, executive director of sustainability at the University of Pittsburgh. “We are excited for The Assembly to become our largest leased LEED Gold space, demonstrating our commitment to sustainability and carbon neutrality by 2037 both on- and off-campus.”
Designed by ZGF and built by Turner Construction, The Assembly earned its LEED Gold designation for measurable sustainability strategies and solutions, including diverting nearly 90% of construction waste from the landfill. Of renovation materials, 56% were regional and 32% recycled. The building also uses demonstrably less energy and water than standard spaces, is close to public transit, provides bicycle storage and changing rooms, and has 30 electric vehicle chargers on-site.
The Assembly is part of a 355,000-square-foot life science redevelopment complex in the former Ford plant in Pittsburgh’s Baum-Centre Corridor. Among the life-changing research topics being investigated at The Assembly are cancer biology, immunology, and many other critical areas.
“Wexford develops each of our Knowledge Communities with environmental responsibility and sustainability as an integral part of our process,” said Thomas Osha, executive vice president of Wexford. “Over 95% of our 10 million plus square foot portfolio of complex research buildings has achieved LEED certification. Our University partners, like Pitt, have an institutional focus on sustainability, and today’s knowledge workers are demanding buildings and workspaces that promote respect for the environment as well as the well-being of its occupants,” Osha continued.
Originally constructed in 1915, the Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant served as the young company’s shop for Model-T production, showroom, and sales until 1932. It remained in business as a dealership until 1953, then sat vacant much of the next six decades. The original building was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2018, when Pitt and Wexford acquired the property and announced redevelopment plans. The Assembly had its official ribbon cutting on March 8, 2022.