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Environment & Energy

Downtown Government Building Rated High By Energy Star

What was once one of the most polluted cities in the nation now has 49 Energy Star certified commercial facilities. 

It was announced Thursday that the City-County Building in downtown Pittsburgh has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star rating, meaning the building performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities in terms of energy efficiency nationwide.

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said sustainability is something Allegheny County has been focused on for some time.

“Mayor Peduto and myself really value energy and sustainability,” he said. “I think it does put a new image on what Pittsburgh has been in the past.”

Energy Star certified commercial facilities use an average of 35 percent less energy and release 35 percent less carbon dioxide than typical buildings, according to the EPA.

Fitzgerald said installing things like new windows helped the building get its energy efficiency certification.

“Obviously, it is an old building,” he said, “and some of our old buildings are not as energy efficient as some of the newer buildings, but we’re trying to retrofit them and put things in like motion detector lights, heating systems that work more efficiently; those type of things.”

County and City employees jointly applied for EPA certification in December. The building was judged on its energy consumption, building type, square footage, number of weekly operational hours, number of computers and the percentage of the building that is heated and cooled.

To retain its Energy Star rating, the building must be re-certified every year.

Fitzgerald said the County will outfit more of its buildings with energy efficient technology in the future.

“There’s [sic] a lot of facilities that we utilize and we’re looking at all of them in ways to improve our energy efficiency, reduce our water consumption, our electrical consumption, our gas consumption, etcetera,” he said. “And it’s just something we’ll continue to do.”