Pitt’s culture of sustainability has champions embedded throughout the university, one of which has been recognized nationally for his efforts. Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management Scott Bernotas has been named an Environment + Energy Leader for 2020 ( E+E 100), which highlights leaders and innovators taking action to improve their organizations’ bottom lines while advancing progress toward a more sustainable world for future generations.
Scott oversees Pitt’s Office of Facilities Management, which operates, maintains, constructs, and oversees design of more than 130 buildings and all infrastructure on the University of Pittsburgh’s 145-acre main campus in support of Pitt’s community of more than 42,000 faculty, staff and students. Under his leadership since 2015, Pitt has emerged as a higher education model for sustainable transformation of historic facilities into more efficient and healthy spaces
Under Scott’s leadership, in fiscal year 2020, Pitt’s Pittsburgh campus attained its lowest energy use per square foot since data tracking began in 2008. Overall, the campus has realized a 22% reduction in campus energy use since 2015, which moves the University closer to its Pitt Sustainability Plan goal of reducing energy use per square foot 50% by 2030. This also keeps Pitt on track to meet its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2037 (and the incremental Plan goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 (from a 2008 baseline), while producing or procuring at least 50% of its electricity from renewable sources).
Scott’s Facilities Management team has also implemented solutions to cut water consumption toward Pitt’s goal to reduce water use per square foot 50% by 2030. Water use on campus has decreased 13.9% since 2015.
Sustainability is a top consideration in all University building projects. To date,14 are LEED certified, with nine more in development. Sustainability is also literally built into the plan for projects across campus, including renovations at the Graduate School of Public Health, Benedum Hall, Clapp Hall and Salk Halls—as well innovative grounds renovations that feature sustainable landscaping, green spaces, and pedestrian and bike pathways, including the Bigelow Block Transformation and the upper hillside infrastructure improvement project along University Drive.
Scott and his team have also partnered on expanding the University’s renewable energy portfolio, increasing Pitt’s renewables percentage to over 23% in 2019—more than five times its 2014 level. New hydroelectric and solar power purchase agreements have put Pitt on track to reach its goal of producing or procuring 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 (with renewables making up at least 36% of Pittsburgh’s campus electricity mix by 2024). These commitments qualified Pitt to become as a U.S. EPA Green Power Partner in 2019 — and the University ranked in the top 30 college and university green power users in both 2019 and 2020.