Sustainable Building and Renovation Advancements

Pitt’s sustainability goals for our built and natural environment are creating beautiful, healthy, collaborative, and high performing places across campus.

In reviewing comprehensive Campus Master Plan and Institutional Master Plan documents, it may be difficult to quickly identify how the 61 goals of the Pitt Sustainability Plan are cascading across Pitt’s built and natural environment. They are…very robustly! Here are at-a-glance details and our exciting progress to date:

Pitt Sustainability Built Environment Goals

Of the Pitt Sustainability Plan goals directly related to new construction, renovations, and existing buildings, 3 are directly aligned with the University’s 2014 commitment to the 2030 Challenge via the Pittsburgh 2030 District; the University was a founding Property Partner when the District expanded in to Oakland in 2014.

  • Materials, Health, & Wellness
    • Embrace LEED and other high performance, sustainable building certifications for our built environment.
    • Use healthy products for our built environment in accordance with university-wide sustainability guidelines.
    • Identify and improve the environmental quality of our indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • Water Systems
    • Achieve 2030 Challenge goals of 50% water use intensity (WUI) reductions below the district average by 2030.
    • Strive toward a water neutral campus, with a 3% reduction in water use by 2020 from 2017 baseline.
  • Energy & Emissions
    • Strive toward climate neutrality, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions  50% by 2030 from 2008 national baseline.
    • Produce or procure 50% of the University’s electricity from renewable resources by 2030.
    • Achieve 2030 Challenge goals of 50% energy use intensity (EUI) reduction by 2030 below baselines.
  • Transportation & Mobility
    • Achieve 2030 Challenge goal of 50% reductions in GHG emissions from commuter travel and direct transportation by 2030 (from 2013 Oakland baseline).
  • Exploration
    • Use the Pitt campus as a living laboratory for faculty and students to implement new ideas and study outcomes over time.
    • Establish local and regional partnerships to accelerate the transfer of sustainability ideas from Pitt classrooms and laboratories through implementation.
  • City & Regional Connections
    • Take active leadership roles in sustainability initiatives in Oakland, Pittsburgh, and the surrounding region and demonstrate solutions to our grand challenges
    • Create a process of greater transparency between Pitt and our community for knowledge sharing and capacity building (building the tools for empowering change).


Existing Buildings

  • In 2018, the University of Pittsburgh began a campus-wide energy and water conservation and efficiency project that will ultimately upgrade over 25 campus buildings.

Guidelines for Sustainability, Materials, & Products

Bigelow Block Transformation Project

  • This streetscape and infrastructure project will beautify the William Pitt Union grounds and transform the block of Bigelow Boulevard between Fifth and Forbes avenues to accommodate drivers, pedestrians, transit riders and cyclists more safely and efficiently.
  • It will provide new green spaces, install energy efficient lighting, and manage rainfall through sustainable landscaping practices.
  • Learn more

Scaife Hall Addition & Renovation

  • Currently in design with enabling construction along Lothrop Street.
  • Targeting LEED certification and very efficient energy and water performance, in line with University-wide 2030 Challenge commitments.
  • Will include ample natural light and collaboration spaces across 7 floors of contemporary learning space for the School of Medicine.
  • Renovated Falk Library of Health Sciences with convenient access for all health sciences students.
  • Terrace cafe and patio on Terrace Street, as well as a cascading stormwater management feature along Lothrop Street.
  • Learn more & see video
  • Read PittMed magazine article on project.

Wellness & Recreation Center

  • Currently in design.  Will be centrally located on O’Hara Street across from Benedum Hall.
  • From recreation and fitness areas to yoga and meditation spaces, this innovative, multi-story facility will encompass all aspects of health and wellness, taking a holistic approach to support and enrich the student experience.
  • In addition to physical and mental health benefits, the new facility is targeting LEED certification and extremely efficient energy and water performance, in line with University-wide commitments to the 2030 Challenge.  It is also expected to include ample natural light and biophilic design elements and sustainably managed stormwater, showcasing Pitt’s commitment for sustainability by leading a regenerative transformation of the hillside.
  • As part of the Center project, University Drive will be reconfigured to create a more pedestrian and bike-friendly, sustainably landscaped hillside that creates convenient access to upper campus and the future Recreation and Wellness Center.
  • Learn More

Learn more about how all Pitt Facilities projects are deploying sustainability, including major renovations at Hillman Library, Petersen Sports Complex, Litchfield Towers, 5051 Baum, and more!