Sustainability

Photo courtesy of Optimus Technologies

The city of Pittsburgh is gearing up to outfit 20 vehicles in the Department of Public Works with biodiesel technology and install a bio fueling station at its 29th Street garage.

Sustainability manager Grant Ervin said the city is teaming up with Homewood-based Optimus Technologies on the project aimed at reducing costs and emissions.

For a growing number of companies in the Pittsburgh region, the bottom line is including more than gross revenues, operating costs and net profit.

Over the last five years, the demand by investors for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting by companies has tripled, and more and more Pittsburgh area firms are now incorporating sustainability and CSR data with their traditional financial reporting.

Shareable and Sustainable Cities for Everyone

Oct 8, 2014
NATCO / Flickr

When he lectures throughout the country, Dr. Antwi Akom focuses on two main questions: How do we create more just, sustainable and smarter cities? And how do we create more democratic models of civic and community engagement?

If those don’t sound like typical talking points on sustainability, that’s because Akom, with an impressive list of environmental, educational and sociological credentials, has a very broad view of sustainability.

As a guest of the Green Building Alliance’s Inspire Speakers Series, Akom will talk about how he sees too many communities today with limited access to resources and wonders what the cities of our future would look like if we designed them with everyone in mind.

We’ll also talk about what this can all mean for our town, with Grant Ervin, the first Sustainability Manager for the City of Pittsburgh

This Inspire Speakers Series event takes place at the Hill House in the Hill District, on Thursday October 9, 2014 from 5pm to 8pm, registration is required.

Watch one of Antwi Akom's presentations on Shareable Cities, from the 2013 EcoDistricts Summit:

Bill Peduto / Twitter

Mayor Bill Peduto announced Wednesday that FBI Special Agent Stephen A. Bucar will be Pittsburgh's new public safety director.

He said Bucar brings experience with emergency preparedness, counter terrorism, along with local police experience at the state and municipal levels. And while Bucar has personal ties to this region, he comes from outside Pittsburgh city government. 

“What Bucar gives us is an opportunity to start new,” Peduto said. “We have a lot of work to do to clean up city government, and it starts at the top."

Bringing an Outside Approach to City Government and City Development

From Chicago, to Washington D.C., to Ludwigsburg Germany, since Bill Peduto was sworn in as mayor he’s done some pretty extensive traveling in order to gather and share ideas for a new Pittsburgh vision.

“It’s not a sales pitch ‘Come to Pittsburgh, we’ve got a place for you,’” said Mayor Bill Peduto about his four-day trip to Germany.

Peduto is meeting with his counterpart from Ludwigsburg as well as other government officials and business executives from across that country.

He said it’s more about finding commonalities on major issues around sustainability and technology. 

It’s no secret that Pittsburgh’s made a comeback.

What was once one of the most polluted and economically strained cities in the country, now ranks 4th in number of green buildings and 5th in average annual pay compared to the 14 other benchmark regions, according to the analytical organization Pittsburgh Today.

Some of the leading minds in sustainable business models will gather in Pittsburgh Tuesday for a rapid-fire event exploring what has become known as the triple bottom line.

“This is the essence of sustainability,” said Court Gould, Sustainable Pittsburgh executive director. 

The group is putting on the conference, Sustainability EXPOsed.

Chatham University will host a ribbon cutting for its brand new zero-emissions Eden Hall campus in the North Hills on Thursday.

“It’ll be a living-learning laboratory for sustainability, but it will also be a branch campus for the university in the North Hills, where we teach our full array of academic subjects,” said university President Esther Barazzone.

The campus will be fully self-sustaining, treating its own wastewater and producing energy through a variety of methods, with the greatest portion of the energy coming from solar panels on the roof of every building.

Garfield Farms

From the country to the city, many urban dwellers are beginning to develop self-sustainable farms in the backyards of their Pittsburgh apartments. These “city farms” engage communities in the farming process and improve nutrition to citizens that do not live near a grocery store or market.

Small gardens and urban livestock such as chicken and bees can be found on balconies, roofs and oftentimes in revitalized vacant lots.

Heather Mikulas works in local food infrastructure and agricultural entrepreneurship for the Penn State University Extension Office in Allegheny County and helps backyard farmers develop their own agricultural techniques. She says that everyone has a different reason to start planting an urban garden, but anyone can do it.

  It's hard to deny that it feels good to live an eco-friendly lifestyle by shopping green. But how sustainable is sustainable consumerism when it comes to your bottom line? Can green products actually improve your economic situation and the world, or does it take action? Michael Maniates Professor of Environmental Science and Political Science at Allegheny College and advisory board member for The Story of Stuff Project, talks about how to go beyond green consumerism.

See how Maniates thinks citizens (not shoppers) hold the keys for change:

Charles & Hudson / Flickr

From buildings to household products we're finding more and more ways to be environmentally conscious. So why not extend our sustainable lifestyles to our vacations?  Travel contributor Elaine Labalme tells us how we can apply eco-friendly awareness to our travels. 

Take a look at some green travel options: