Green Building

Bill O'Driscoll / 90.5 WESA

For years, the building that marked part of the boundary between Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and Schenley Park just sat there, something of an eyesore. It was a nondescript one-story cinder-block structure dating to the 1960s, built for the city’s Department of Public Works. Phipps owned it and even considered tearing it down. 

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.

Reflected Serendipity / flickr

According to the United Nations, approximately one billion people in the world live in sub-standard housing. Some researchers see a viable solution in a unlikely suspect: bamboo.

The plant is a safe and affordable resource that advocates believe could contribute to greener urban environments across the globe.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

You need office space and classrooms for children with room for a few experiments -- just enough to put your hands in the earth and squiggle around. But you can't use any toxic construction materials. And once it's built, it has to both recycle its own water and produce more energy and than it consumes.

That was the challenge mastered last year by Phipps Conservatory when its Center for Sustainable Landscapes became Pittsburgh's first structure to meet the strict environmental requirements of the Living Building Challenge.

Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

Hard hats and neon vests filled the Fifth and Wood intersection in downtown Pittsburgh Tuesday morning as construction workers placed the last beam on the Tower at PNC Plaza.

The project is far from complete. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done on the inside before 2,200 PNC corporate workers can fill the 33-story building, which will serve as the new headquarters. The project will be finished by mid-2015, according to Bill Demchak, PNC chairman, president and CEO.