The most sustainable building in the world is a reality!

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes (Center for Sustainable Landscapes – CSL) at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and  in Pennsylvania Pittsburgh became the first building in the world which took the four higher sustainable building standards.

The installation just added the certification «Living Building Challenge» in the list of subdivisions, certification which is considered the most stringent sustainability measure. Considers that, buildings based on criteria in seven different categories, location, water, energy, health and happiness, materials, equality and beauty. The CSL initially achieved the certification Living Building Challenge Net Zero Energy Building in February 2014, with full certification to come in March 2015, after some additional water sustainability measures implemented. For full certification, buildings must demonstrate that they have absolutely zero energy and water use during a year.


In addition to the certification of Living Building Challenge, the CSL was the first building in the world to certify WELL Building Platinum buildings, the highest rating awarded by the International Institute WELL Building, which aims to improve the health and well being through the built environment.

The building is also the first and only Four Stars Sustainable SITES Initiative for landscape projects and is certified with LEED Platinum. The CSL is located above a former industrial area, that has been restored in a green landscape with native plants and green roof. Its design is based on what the Phipps calls approach «outside-in, passive-first». The building is oriented to maximize exposure to the sun and use a variety of heating and cooling methods, one of which is the Energy Recovery Unit in the ceiling which helps in heating, cooling, ventilation and dehumidification.

phipps-center-for-sustainable-landscapes-0The building shell is designed to minimize heat loss and solar cooling loads, while maximizing the amount of natural light to the interior. High performance walls and roof insulation has also been used, together with low emissivity windows providing solar and thermal control. This is a project that started in December 2010 and was completed two years later, in December 2012.