Gallery: Pittsburgh’s Net-Zero Energy Center for Sustainable Landscapes...

Pittsburgh is currently embroiled in a desperate plan to frack under the city's struggling International Airport - but elsewhere in the city this beautiful project shows that we don't need to destructively harvest natural gas to power our buildings. A village of local designers, planners, scientists and other advisors developed the Center for Sustainable Landscapes at the Phipps Observatory, which harnesses geothermal, wind, and solar, as well as a suite of brilliant energy capture systems that ensure no energy goes to waste. Designed to function "as efficiently as a flower," the center meets sustainable design's most stringent performance standards. It's not easy to meet the International Living Future Institute's Living Building Challenge, but the magnificent green-roofed community and educational center was awarded the institute's prestigious Net Zero Energy Building Certification in February, 2014. It's a big deal, and demonstrates that holistic ecological design combined with clean technology makes so much more sense than the shortsighted use of dangerous extractive energy sources.

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