New Environmental Center In Frick Park To Open This Weekend

Sep 7, 2016

The new Frick Environmental Center will use both solar and geothermal energy.
Credit Nic Lehoux / Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

The brand new Frick Environmental Center will open its doors to the public on Saturday.

The new facility, near the Beechwood Boulevard entrance to Frick Park, is the most environmentally friendly municipal building in the world, according to Scott Roller with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. He said it is on track to achieve LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certifications.

The building’s internal climate is regulated with a geothermal system, which uses the constant temperature of the ground to either heat or cool water that is then used to heat or cool the air. Solar array panels cover the parking area, both taking in solar energy and collecting rainwater for non-potable uses. As a result of these and other innovations, the building will have net zero energy consumption.

Some of the furniture inside the building is made from logs found in Frick Park.
Credit Scott Roller / Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

“We wanted to have a building that represented well the work that we did and what we’re teaching, that we’re actually putting that into practice,” Roller said. “It took a little more time and a bit more money than a regular building might have, but in the end we have a building the whole region can be proud of.”

This weekend’s event will feature tours, poetry readings, activities for the kids and sustainably-powered food trucks. Over the long term, the building will be used as an education center. Roller said he hopes the design will have an impact beyond the border of the property.

“Not only is it efficient and green, but it’s also a learning tool for people who use and encounter it to see what features they may want to bring into their own homes,” he said.

This Saturday's event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is free.