Ideas

BROWSE IDEAS

evolveEA Promotes Three New Associates

evolveEA has named Anna Rosenblum, Chris Guignon, and Elijah Hughes as Associates and Senior Project Managers. Founding Principals Christine Mondor, FAIA and Marc Mondor, AIA are pleased to recognize these outstanding employees, for their significant and far-sighted contributions to projects, clent management, strategic direction and firm culture.

Books and Other Media You Should Check Out This Year

As we begin the new year, our team is reflecting on great reads to inspire, activate, and entertain you. Just for fun, we’ve decided to share our list of books and other media for you to check out in 2020 (see below). Here’s to a new decade of open minds, open hearts, and open books!

Citymakers Awards Honor evolveEA and Ecodistrict Partners

The inaugural award ceremony identified pioneers creating sustainable communities at the 10th annual EcoDistricts Summit in November 2019.

Buffalo Rain Check 2.0 Opportunity Report Recognized with AIA Tri-State Award

evolveEA received an Honor Award for Architectural Excellence for Buffalo Rain Check 2.0 from the 2019 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Tri-State Conference.

Etna EcoDistrict Nears Plan Completion and Will Become World’s First Officially Certified EcoDistrict™

The Etna EcoDistrict will be awarded the world’s first official EcoDistricts Certification at the 10th annual EcoDistricts Summit in Pittsburgh.

Believe the hype! EcoDistricts Summit is sure to please

To mark the 10th Annual EcoDistricts Summit coming to Pittsburgh, I recorded a chat with evolve's co-founder Christine Mondor about what to expect at the upcoming Summit. Find full audio clips below or read the summary text. Research Forum https://evolveea.com/portal/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/research-forum.m4a DK: So, Christine, what’s in store for this year’s Ecodistrict Summit? CM: Well Daniel, it’s... View Article

Three reasons I’m excited for the 2019 EcoDistricts Summit

Anna Rosenblum of evolveEA shares her top three reasons to be excited for the 10th annual EcoDistrict Summit taking place in Pittsburgh November 2019.

evolveEA named best place to work in Pittsburgh, best in the world for environment

Both the Pittsburgh Business Times and B Corp recognize evolveEA as a top tier organization.

Welcome, 2019 Interns!

Give a warm welcome to Ghalya, Nicole, and Srinjoy as they join our team for the summer.

AIA National Charts Bold New Carbon Reduction Direction

Within the past year, the American Institute of Architects has nationally debuted three novel proclamations that promise to alter the landscape for building and design for years to come.

Key Takeaways from the new Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is taking steps to navigate a path toward a prosperous and sustainable future.

AIA College of Fellows Ceremony Honors Christine Mondor, FAIA

evolveEA cofounder, Christine Mondor, FAIA, recently had the great privilege to be elevated to the 2019 AIA College of Fellows. Here are some photos from the Investiture Ceremony.

Breathe Easy Millvale Air Quality Plan Wins National Award

The American Planning Association selects an evolveEA project as the winning Sustainable Urban Design Plan.

Marc Mondor Testifies for State Auditor General on Climate Change

evolveEA Principal Marc Mondor gives a testimony on behalf of AIA Pennsylvania during Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s visit to Pittsburgh.

Ecodistricts 101

While traditional development focuses on developing the built environment, ecodistrict planning focuses on developing both the hardware AND software of a community.

Christine Mondor Elevated to 2019 AIA College of Fellows

evolveEA is proud to announce that Christine Mondor has been elevated to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Fellowship is one of the highest honors the AIA can bestow upon a member, and recognizes the achievements of the architect as an individual, as well as the architect’s contribution to the… View Article

U.S. Steel Tower LEED Silver Certification a Major Achievement in Operations + Maintenance

Winthrop Management and evolveEA are pleased to announce that the U.S. Steel Tower, the 64-floor skyscraper in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, has earned LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M): Existing Buildings Silver Certification making it the second-largest LEED for O+M: Existing Buildings V4 office building in the world. The LEED for O+M: Existing… View Article

AIA Pennsylvania Attends Governor’s Signing of New Environmental Standards

Marc Mondor and AIA Pennsylvania joined Governor Tom Wolf as he signed the first statewide climate goal to reduce carbon emissions.

Leading With Equity for Transit Connected Ecodistricts

This year’s EcoDistricts Summit and Rail~Volution conference affirmed our approach to transit planning and community engagement: Leading with Equity.

Transit Oriented Food

We are excited to welcome a record-breaking Rail~Volution crowd to Pittsburgh this month! As such, we will be using the conference’s hashtag to invite our friends from out of town to take local transit to food and drink spots all around the city.

Mapping the City of Buffalo’s Urban Forest

Lidar is a technique using light radar as to locate and map points in 3D. Lidar is not a new tool, but it’s application in urban design has been quickly expanding. In conjunction with Lidar, the use of Photogrammetry has also emerged as an accessible means of generating high-resolution models for recoding and analyzing our environment.

Penn Station Transit Plaza Proposed for Downtown Pittsburgh Wins AIA Design Awards

Pittsburgh, PA — The Pennsylvania chapter of the American Institute of Architects has recognized evolve environment :: architecture (evolveEA) with an architectural excellence award for the firm’s redesign of the area surrounding Port Authority’s Penn Station, on Pittsburgh’s MLK East Busway.

evolve Team Members Elected & Accredited

The end of 2018 comes with new professional achievements and opportunities for members of the evolve team. We are proud to share that Marc Mondor is 2019 President Elect of AIA Pennsylvania!

Elijah Hughes Named in "Who's Next" List of Emerging Pittsburgh Transit Professionals

Our own Elijah Hughes is one of 17 Pittsburghers named in The Incline‘s “Who’s Next: Transit” list of 2018 local under-40 professionals who are shaping the future of mobility! The introduction on The Incline website reads: “Out of dozens of nominations, we are proud to announce our inaugural Who’s Next: Transit class, comprised of 17… View Article

Two Pittsburgh Area Projects Win Urban Design Awards

The American Institute of Architects recently selected two evolveEA projects for urban design awards, both of which are based in the Pittsburgh region. The Penn Station Transit Plaza design for Downtown Pittsburgh, part of the Busway Futures project led by PCRG, was recognized with a Certificate of Merit from AIA Pittsburgh. And the Breathe Easy… View Article

Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine Suite earns WELL Silver Certification

​Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine Suite is one of the first medical offices to be awarded WELL Certification, a new building standard that integrates human health into building design and operation. evolveEA served as WELL Administrator for the project, guiding the design and construction team in achieving Silver level certification and processing the necessary documentation. The WELL Certification process involves rigorous… View Article

Eastside Bond Achieves LEED ND Gold Certification

We are proud to announce that Eastside Bond in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh has achieved LEED for Neighborhood Development certification as a built project. This project is the first LEED-ND Gold project in Pennsylvania! Eastside Bond is an excellent example of a high-quality transit-oriented development, and indeed the Port Authority has prominently featured… View Article

evolveEA Principals Celebrate Carnegie Mellon Energy Week

Last week, we joined energy thought leaders at Carnegie Mellon University to discuss and collaborate on energy research, trends, innovative technologies, and opportunities​ as part of CMU’s annual Energy Week​. Highlights included a Mayor’s forum with Pittsburgh’s Mayor​, Bill Peduto​,​ and the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulín Cruz​, who discussed current challenges and opportunities in urban infrastructure and energy…. View Article

Tenant Engagement in Sustainability Initiatives is a Win-Win

Buildings can achieve reduced resource consumption through thoughtful design, efficient technologies, and behavior changes. As building industry professionals, we often focus on how the design of the building and the technologies affect the building’s resource consumption, and few feel they can influence occupant behavior. Through evolveEA’s work, we have learned that by working with building… View Article

Measuring Our Impact: evolve's 2017 Report

evolveEA is dedicated to Triple Bottom Line success: we measure the impact of our business not only in terms of the economy, but also the environment and social equity. Mission-driven organizations are challenged to find ways to assess our impact that go beyond conventional business metrics and financial reporting standards

evolveEA Completes B Corp Recertification

We are pleased to report that our second successful recertification under the B Corp Impact Assessment framework was completed last month. B Corp certified companies represent a growing cohort of businesses dedicated to positive, Triple Bottom Line impact. There are now over 2,000 certified B Corps globally, and evolveEA has been one of the first… View Article

Green Codes and Laws

Building Codes for a Better Built Environment There has been activity in the Pennsylvania legislature this Fall session. First, Governor Wolf signed House Bill 409 into law, creating Act 36 of 2017. This law gets Pennsylvania building construction away from the mandatory 2009 International Codes, allowing for updated codes to be evaluated and implemented. The… View Article

ART+PLACE: The Roots of Community Identity

Art can knit together the lived experience of neighborhood identity with long term and sometimes abstract principles of community development. The Pittsburgh community of Larimer has been cultivating a local culture of sustainability through ecodistrict planning and has used art and creative placemaking to build capacity around neighborhood stormwater issues, urban agriculture and economic development.

Citywide Sewershed Evaluation, a Component of Pittsburgh’s Green First Plan, Receives AIA Pennsylvania Architectural Excellence Award

During an awards ceremony last night at AIA Pittsburgh’s office, PWSA and evolveEA received an Architectural Excellence Award from AIA Pennsylvania. The Citywide Sewershed Evaluation study was recognized for its integration of green infrastructure (GI) into Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods that are most prone to flooding and in need of stormwater management. The evaluation is part of... View Article

Why we're excited about Rail~Volution 2017

Rail~Volution returns to Denver in 2017 and in the short time since 2000, Denver has been transformed from a car-required public transit desert into a car-optional multimodal public transit leader.

Energy Innovation Center Achieves LEED Platinum Certification

A remarkable example of building reuse and historic restoration, a Pittsburgh state-of-the-art green building has successfully met the goal of achieving a high level LEED Platinum certification. The 200,000 square-foot Energy Innovation Center (EIC), which hosts trade apprenticeship programs, energy-related technology labs for five universities, co-working facilities, and other production, design, and workspaces for nonprofit… View Article

PITT OHIO Terminal Receives LEED Gold Certification

Working with evolveEA to design and construct an energy efficient, high performing trucking terminal, PITT OHIO has earned enough points to officially certify its Cheswick, PA facility as a LEED Gold project. The 55,000 square foot terminal, responsible for servicing the Pittsburgh region, utilizes a low-emitting Energy Star roof positioned to reflect the highest percentage of the sun’s rays,… View Article

Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan Wins Two National Planning Awards

The annual conference of the American Planing Association (APA) takes place in New York City this week and includes awards ceremonies to honor the best planning projects in the United States. The Borough of Millvale, located just across the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh, is being recognized with a Silver 2017 National Planning Achievement Award for… View Article

People Power: Millvale Residents Driving Ecodistrict Development

Recently the Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan was honored with two national awards from the American Planning Association—a 2017 Silver Achievement Award for Environmental Planning, and an APA Sustainable Communities Division Award. Firmly established as a regional leader in sustainable planning and redevelopment, Millvale's national reputation has been growing since the Borough's participation in the EcoDistricts.org Incubator... View Article

Chat With Nico: Data, Planning and Design

Last year we welcomed Nicolas Azel to the evolveEA team with anticipation around how Nico's data analysis, design and coding abilities could enhance our projects focusing on urban systems. We have found that not only is our design work is better informed, Nico has taught us to develop intriguing visualizations that are helping us and... View Article

Listen: The Link Between Green Buildings and Better Health

Recently we appeared on WSRQ (Florida) radio’s Health Check with Heidi Godman to talk about the benefits of green buildings to human health and well being. In this interview, Marc Mondor and Anna Rosenblum share some of the many links between green buildings and better health. They talked about creating healthier homes and workplaces as… View Article

Iconic U.S. Steel Tower Earns ENERGY STAR Certification

The tallest structure between Chicago and Philadelphia is the 64-floor U.S. Steel Tower in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, which also ranks as the 7th largest highrise office building in the US by square footage. Through a series of retrofits to improve U.S. Steel Tower energy efficiency, the iconic skyscraper built in 1970 recently achieved… View Article

A Golden Year for LEED at evolveEA

From its beginnings, evolveEA has provided LEED consulting services to work with design teams to attain the highest levels of LEED certification within project budgets and constraints. Our first project was certified in 2004. By the end of 2016, we had certified our 63rd project overall including eight projects during 2016 alone. The future appears… View Article

Team Update: Board Appointments, Professional Credentials & New Hires

Marc Mondor The new year has brought new appointments for evolveEA Principal Marc Mondor. The Pennsylvania State Senate Minority Leader appointed Marc as a member of Pennsylvania’s Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC). Also the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Institute of Architects named Marc to its Board of Directors as Chair of Government Affairs. The Climate Change Advisory… View Article

Passive House Goes to Work

As has been the case in Europe for some time, there is an emerging trend in this country towards using Passive House design principles on commercial projects. This is due in part to an emerging awareness of the benefits of Passive House design and a natural evolution to larger and more complex projects. Another large… View Article

APA Pennsylvania Annual Conference

October 22 – 24 State College, PA   More information

Hill District Centre Avenue Corridor Plan Wins Urban Design Award

The Centre Avenue Corridor Redevelopment and Design Plan showcases the resilient spirit of the Hill District with The Avenue reborn as a place of exchange—where residents meet, visitors are welcomed, institutions share resources, and businesses showcase their offerings. At the Design Pittsburgh Gala, the Plan received a Certificate of Merit in Regional & Urban Design… View Article

Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan Selected for Planning Excellence Award

The annual conference of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Planing Association (APA) took place in Allentown this week and included an awards ceremony to honor the best planning projects in the state. One of five projects to receive a Planning Excellence Award this year was the Ecodistrict Pivot Plan for the Borough of Millvale,… View Article

Healthy Places, Healthy People: Green Buildings Improve Human Health and Wellness

As the environmental movement has worked to restore and reinforce links among living systems, the objective position has been to place humankind at the center of these systems. As Rachel Carson astutely pointed out that everything is linked, an anthropocentric approach leads us to better understand the logic of environmentalism as being all about us… View Article

Pennsylvania's Climate Action Plan Update

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC) have recently completed an update of the state’s Climate Change Action Plan. Under the Climate Change Act of 2008, state action plans require updates every three years. Marc Mondor, who serves on the CCAC as an alternate member, explained the purpose of the… View Article

evolveEA is a Best For The World company

Every year, B Lab highlights the Certified B Corporations in the B Corp community that go above and beyond in their pursuit of positive impact. We are proud to share that evolveEA has been recognized this month as a 2016 Best For The World company in the Environment category.   All B Corporations take the… View Article

Marc Mondor Advocates for a Green Economy in Radio Interview with Rick Smith

evolve’s Marc Mondor was a guest on the Rick Smith radio show in August 2016. The show is broadcast online and in central Pennsylvania. In this interview, Marc was asked to explain green building rating systems like LEED and Living Building Challenge, as well as concepts like Triple Bottom Line benefit and their value to… View Article

Looking at an Urban Transportation System With Fresh Eyes

This summer we had the pleasure of hosting Abhishikta Pal at evolveEA for a project internship in partnership with PCRG. Abby is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Urban Design at Carnegie Mellon University. She also holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Sinhgad College of Architecture, Pune, India. As her internship came to a close, we… View Article

Marc Mondor to Teach Sustainable Buildings Course at Chatham University

A new course called Sustainable Buildings and LEED Rating System will kick off this fall at Chatham University’s Falk School of Sustainability, with evolveEA Principal Marc Mondor teaching as Adjunct Faculty. Drawing upon evolveEA’s 12 years of experience with building rating systems, as well as Marc’s leadership in the green building industry, the course will enhance… View Article

Summer Solstice at Eden Hall

The Pittsburgh AIA+2030 sessions continue with a remarkable Session III at Chatham University’s Eden Hall on June 21, the Summer Solstice. The ten sessions of the overall AIA+2030 series, hosted by AIA Pittsburgh’s Committee on the Environment (COTE), inform and engage architects, owners, engineers and contractors to understand, demand, design, deliver, operate and validate highly… View Article

Creating Resiliency Through Community Engagement

Just and resilient cities rely on empowered communities—we believe that design is key to that process. Our work as designers can help a community establish relationships, gain knowledge, and be better prepared to face dynamic challenges. Successful projects depend on community partners who provide knowledge and motivation and build a tribe of people who carry… View Article

evolveEA's Office Abuzz With New Team Members

The evolve office is buzzing like a hive with new hires and interns this summer! With some exciting projects kicking off in the areas of infrastructure planning and green building consulting, we are welcoming a few new faces. Several months ago, Elijah Hughes joined us as Designer and Systems Analyst. Elijah is primarily working on green water… View Article

AIA+2030 Professional Series 2.0

The AIA+2030 Professional Series 2.0 will premiere at Build Pittsburgh 2016. AIA Pittsburgh’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) created the program to help design professionals create buildings that meet the ambitious energy efficiency goals of the Architecture 2030 Challenge.® Ten 4-hour sessions offer strategies to seek, design, deliver, and manage buildings that reach 70% or better reductions in fossil fuel… View Article

Pittsburgh's Garfield Community Discusses Plans to Protect Neighborhood Green Space

Last week in Pittsburgh, the Bloomfied Garfield Corporation (BGC) and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) led a community meeting to discuss the Garfield Green Zone planning process that has been facilitated by evolveEA. We began with an assessment and report last year, intended to test the proposition that intentionally protected and improved green areas in Garfield offer a positive strategy… View Article

Cultivating Community

In light of the buzz surrounding Pittsburgh’s food scene, we have been thinking about the role of food in creating vibrant and resilient communities across our city. The 2015 Pittsburgh Food Policy Council Annual Report notes: “Pittsburgh simultaneously tops lists for most livable city and best food town, as well as the food insecurity lists for… View Article

Bringing Sustainability to the Trucking Industry

The ubiquitous trucks we see on the highways are an integral part of our way of life. While not always pleasant to be around (or drive around), the $750 billion trucking industry provides the conveyance from one place to another of nearly everything we rely upon. evolveEA was recently asked to speak at the American… View Article

Oxford’s Hot Metal Flats Receives LEED Gold Certification

Oxford Development Company and its partners announced that the 117-unit Hot Metal Flats apartment complex in the South Side Works development in Pittsburgh has received LEED® Gold certification. The LEED rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes, and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained, and… View Article

Christine Mondor Selected to Join Penn State University Stuckeman School Advisory Board

evolveEA Principal, Christine Mondor, was selected for the 2016 Penn State University Stuckeman School Advisory Board, which informs the School’s understanding of contemporary design practice. The Stuckeman School houses the Department of Architecture, the Department of Landscape Architecture and the Graphic Design Program at Penn State. Joining the board of roughly a dozen leading professionals aligns with Christine’s interests as a design educator, practicing architect, researcher… View Article

evolveEA’s B Corp Recertification Reflects Improved Implementation of Company's Social and Environmental Mission

As part of a growing nationwide movement towards benefits corporations, evolveEA has successfully completed its first recertification as a B Corp. As one of four Pittsburgh companies to hold B Corp certification, evolveEA has met the rigorous standards of social and environmental performance. B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee… View Article

Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge Closes Its Third Competition as evolveEA Wins in Small Business Category

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Sustainable Pittsburgh revealed the leaders of the 2014-2015 Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge, a yearlong, friendly competition for businesses, nonprofits, municipalities, and universities to track and measure improvements in energy, water, waste, and transportation. The finale and awards ceremony took place from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm at The Andy Warhol Museum on Pittsburgh’s North Side…. View Article

The Millvale Ecodistrict Pivots

We're proud to feature a guest post by Zaheen Hussain, reflecting on the Millvale Ecodistrict planning and implementation and what lies ahead (above) photo of millvale by markpanza.com In 2012, with the development of the Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan, the community had selected three key issue areas to tackle—Food, Water, and Energy. Without knowing the community, one might... View Article

Common-sense, Low-cost, Short-term Strategies for Safer Urban Streets

I’ve been getting around primarily on a bicycle for over 15 years in different cities. Last year I moved from Pittsburgh’s East Liberty area to Uptown, aka Soho/the Bluff, which connects Downtown to Oakland, the city’s education and medical center, and points east. I now have a longer ride to work, which I do not… View Article

Marc Mondor of evolveEA Selected as 2015 LEED Fellow

Managing Principal and Cofounder of evolveEA, Marc Mondor, AIA / LEED Faculty, has been named a 2015 LEED Fellow by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). This year’s 35 Fellows are being honored for their outstanding work as LEED Professionals and for the significance of their contributions to the green building community at large. The LEED… View Article

Heinz History Center’s New Museum Conservation Center Achieves LEED Gold Certification

We are pleased to announce that the Museum Conservation Center at the Heinz History Center has achieved LEED NC Gold certification. The nine-story facility houses the Museum Conservation Center, which opened last September and provides the public a place to bring valuable heirlooms for professional conservation services and advice. Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center is one of the first museums in the… View Article

evolveEA Becomes Pittsburgh's First JUST Organization

A JUST label is similar to a nutrition label on a package of food in its purpose, which is to help consumers understand the “ingredients” or composition of a company—its values, business model, policies and workplace culture. evolveEA has recently become the first company in the Pittsburgh region to publish a JUST label, joining an… View Article

Visualizing Air Quality

"I don't smell anything." "Trust me, it's better than it used to be." These are the two most common retorts from Pittsburghers when I remark on the heavy odors associated with the city's air quality. Both statements are true (I take their word on the first one), so both deserve a thoughtful response. A smokey... View Article

Inspiring a Materials Revolution

The idea of a “Living Building” has been around for several years now, and as projects are built we’re able to experience these inspiring places first-hand. We’ve been able to be involved in a few of these transformational projects, such as the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes or the Frick Environmental Center, and see how… View Article

The Greening of Sports to Save the Planet?

The Green Sports Alliance meshes the power of sports and competition as a unifying force with the need to show leadership towards a sustainable economy that works toward zero carbon emissions.  While I enjoy spectator sports and appreciate what sports signify to popular culture, I am often struck by the waste and frivolity that accompanies the zeal.  evolveEA… View Article

Upper Lawrenceville Community Visioning and Development Plan Receives “Great Places” Planning Award

The Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA), in partnership with Project for Public Spaces (PPS), has recognized evolveEA’s work in Upper Lawrenceville, also known as Pittsburgh’s 10th Ward, with a Great Places Award. The Upper Lawrenceville Targeted Development Strategy was developed through a series of charrettes led by evolveEA in which we helped the community craft a… View Article

Christine Mondor Wins Sustainable Energy Leadership Award

The Pittsburgh Business Times held its annual Energy Leadership Awards on May 14th, recognizing 21 leaders contributing to the Pittsburgh region’s energy economy in a variety of ways. evolveEA Principal, Christine Mondor, received an award in the Sustainable category. A special supplement in the Pittsburgh Business Times focused on evolveEA’s design and consulting work on green… View Article

Time for LEED V4: A Better Rating System

Good brands must evolve. The USGBC’s LEED Rating System is the dominant global green building standard, with 1.6 million square feet of real estate certified every day and over 3.6 billion square feet already certified globally. LEED has been a large factor in today’s green building industry and charts a bold course towards future market… View Article

evolveEA Honored with Sustainable Small Business Award

The Duquesne University Center for Green Industries and Sustainable Business Growth has selected evolveEA as the winner of its third Annual Sustainable Small Business Award! Citing evolveEA’s role in helping to certify over 50 LEED projects since 2004, and our other community-based sustainability consulting work, the award recognizes the positive impacts of our work and our… View Article

What is a Boulevard?

When you hear the word boulevard what picture comes to mind? In some cities where I have lived, the word is associated with a wider-than usual street that accommodates not only motor vehicles but includes bike lanes, walkways and communal green spaces as well.

Phipps’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes Achieves Living Building Challenge Certification

A world leader in sustainable innovation, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has achieved the Living Building Challenge™ for its Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL), a facility that houses groundbreaking sustainability research and science education programs, and serves as a key part of the public garden’s immersive visitor experience. In producing all of its own renewable… View Article

Creating Community: Review of Sustainable Cities Collective's Webinar on Urban Architecture

This post recaps a webinar in which evolveEA Principal Christine Mondor was one of three panelists discussing the role of architecture in creating healthy and livable communities. The webinar, hosted by Sustainable Cities Collective and moderated by David Thorpe, took place on February 25th, 2015.

Erie, Pennsylvania Celebrates the City’s First LEED Gold Project: The Erie Art Museum

Green Building Alliance, City officials, project team members and Erie residents participate in a free afternoon program called The Art of Being Green. The Erie Art Museum hosted a celebration Sunday honoring the green building certification awarded by the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for its recently opened renovation and addition. evolveEA served… View Article

Shop Local for the Holidays

My favorite thing to do everywhere I go is to visit local artist markets or farmers markets and chat up the vendors, learn about what they are creating, and support them! Why? Because it just FEELS GOOD to support a local artisan, buying from a person, face to face, and getting unique information on how… View Article

Upper Lawrenceville Community Visioning and Development Plan Receives AIA Honor Awards at the City and State Levels

The Pennsylvania chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as well as AIA Pittsburgh have each recognized evolveEA’s work in Upper Lawrenceville, or the Tenth Ward, with Honor Awards in Regional and Urban Design. The Upper Lawrenceville Targeted Development Strategy was developed through a series of charrettes led by evolveEA in which we helped the… View Article

Equity, Health, and Climate Themes at the Forefront of Green Building Movement

I’ve just returned from my fourth Greenbuild, the annual green building conference and expo hosted by the US Green Building Council. This year, the event was held in New Orleans, adding to the experience elements of culture, music, food, awesome weather, and—perhaps most importantly—a powerful demonstration of urban resiliency concepts. In the past, Greenbuild has… View Article

Celebrating Our 50th LEED Certification

evolveEA has worked to coach projects towards sustainability goals since our founding in 2004. Since then we have moved into teaching, ecodistricts, existing buildings, 2030 commitment, facilitation, Living Buildings, communications and organizational strategy, but one mainstay of our work has always been LEED management for buildings and interiors, helping projects to set goals and achieve… View Article

Greenbuild 2014 Charrette: Powering Community

This year’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, the US Green Building Council’s premier event for sustainable building, is just around the corner!   We are excited to share some details about a special, interactive session at this year’s conference that members of evolve and our local partners are facilitating. If you’re attending, we hope you will… View Article

evolveEA Designated as LEED Proven Provider Under New USGBC Program

The new LEED Proven Provider designation was launched by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), the USGBC’s certification arm, to streamline the LEED project review process for experienced organizations that demonstrate consistent excellence in administering LEED projects. evolveEA is proud to announce our designation as one of the first LEED Proven Providers (ID+C) after having participated… View Article

Summer Adventure on the Ohio River

One of the perks of working at evolve is our annual summer office gatherings. Over the years we have enjoyed spending time together, outside of our normal office setting in such places as Pirates games at PNC Park, picnics, and even white water rafting. This summer’s outing was no less exciting, with our entire office… View Article

Christine Mondor Selected to Join Ecodistricts Global Protocol Advisory Committee

Christine Mondor, Principal of evolveEA, has been selected as one of eighty international experts, practitioners and leaders to be part of the Ecodistricts Global Protocol Advisory Committee. Ecodistricts creatively synthesize ecology, economics and placemaking to create strong communities and the concept has successfully been used in community based planning projects across the country. evolveEA has… View Article

AIA+2030 Series: A Year of Capacity Building for Pittsburgh Professionals

  Last spring, AIA Pittsburgh’s newly reconvened Committee On The Environment (COTE) launched an initiative to bring high-level sustainability training to the region’s design and construction professionals. Adopting a national curriculum called AIA+2030, the series of ten workshops is intended to drive improvement among Pittsburgh’s new and existing buildings with respect to their energy efficiency,… View Article

Sheetz Shwellness Center Earns LEED Gold Certification

Opened in 2012, the 11,000-square-foot Sheetz Shwellness Center has just become Blair County’s first LEED-certified building. The LEED Gold facility is an employee health and wellness center located near Altoona, Pennsylvania adjacent to the distribution center for the Sheetz convenience store chain. evolveEA assisted the design and construction team with aspects of the LEED certification… View Article

Mayor Peduto Appoints Christine Mondor to Pittsburgh City Planning Commission

Pittsburgh’s new mayor, Bill Peduto, has big plans for the future of the city. Recently the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted Mayor Peduto at an economic development summit held at Carnegie Mellon University: “We’re going to become a global model of economic development… These next 10 years are going to determine what this city’s going to be for the… View Article

Triple Bottom Line Sustainable Business

The importance of business in our lives is hard to overstate. Every aspect of our lives is touched by organizations that make products or services with which we can choose to engage. The smart phones, movies, restaurants, furniture, search engines and cars that we love are brought to us by companies actively participating in the… View Article

Highlights From Our 2013 Review

Each year we like to take a look back and remember some of the milestones we’ve achieved with our partners, clients, and team along the way. We hope you enjoy our 2013 Highlights infographic!

evolveEA Certified as Pittsburgh's Fourth B Corporation

We’re incredibly proud to announce that evolveEA has become a Certified B Corporation™. So what exactly does that mean? B Corporations are a new kind of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. It’s like a LEED or Fair Trade certification, but actually applies to a business and the… View Article

A Green Vision for Post-Sandy Brighton Beach

Living Building design and construction projects are extremely ambitious endeavors. This is why only a handful of projects have been completed and certified to date. And it’s also why the sharing of information and storytelling among those of us involved in such projects can be particularly valuable. With this in mind, members of evolveEA decided… View Article

Green Building Infographic: What is the Integrated Design Process?

Designing and constructing green buildings that meet ambitious performance goals can be a challenging endeavor for project teams. LEED certified buildings and revolutionary projects such as the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a Living Building, require a special approach by the team of professionals conceiving of and implementing the project. Conventional processes do not facilitate… View Article

Pittsburgh’s Tallest Building is Getting Greener

The tallest structure between Chicago and Philadelphia is the 64-floor US Steel Tower in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) occupies 40 percent of the building, or roughly 900,000 square feet of office space, spread across 23 floors. As UPMC’s sustainability consultant, evolveEA, has been managing the global health… View Article

Pittsburgh's Quilted Communities Highlighted at Ecodistricts Summit

Recently in Boston, evolveEA and our community partners from Millvale and Larimer joined hundreds of sustainability thought leaders at the 2013 Ecodistricts Summit, the premier conference dedicated to promoting sustainable neighborhood development. The Pittsburgh team led a workshop called Ecodistricts in Quilted Communities, which focused on the complex challenges and opportunities for rust-belt communities like Larimer and… View Article

How Do You Want to Change the World?

As a special collaboration, we proudly feature thoughts by Nikole Brugnoli Sheaffer, Director of Innovation & Development at The Environmental Charter School at Frick Park  I’m a curriculum geek. To the non-educator world, this translates into a passion for the framework, resources, and instructional practices associated with teaching and learning. I dig into authentic ways of… View Article

Christine Mondor receives Pittsburgh Magazine Women in Business Award

evolve’s co-founder and principal, Christine Mondor was recognized last week by Pittsburgh Magazine as one of five influential Pittsburgh women in business! A profile piece about Christine can be found in the special section of Pittsburgh Magazine‘s October issue. Honored to be recognized for her long-standing dedication to improving our region through green building and… View Article

Neighbors Collaborate on a Neighborhood Identity

Recently evolveEA led the final community meeting in a three-part Identity and Visioning project for Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood. Residents, local business owners, and community leaders came together to build on the work of past meetings and further develop a vision for a future Brookline. Drawing from a variety of ideas generated at the community meetings,… View Article

evolveEA Helps Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes Achieve Highest LEED Platinum Certification

Pittsburgh, PA — The Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) earned the highest LEED Platinum Certification yet achieved for a new green building. The project systematically demonstrates high performance in site design, water & energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and material conservation and use. The US Green Building Council granted the project 63 of a possible… View Article

evolveEA Papers on Green Building and Organizational Sustainability Published in Constructing Green Textbook and Journal of Green Building

The rapid market uptake of green building has transformed the design and construction industries, yet little attention has been given to how green buildings can transform the organizations that they house.  evolveEA has contributed to two publications that are establishing the next generation of thinking about sustainability and organizational evolution. In Constructing Green: The Social… View Article

evolveEA Features Phipps Conservatory at UK Green Vision Conference

A real highlight of our July Green Vision conference was hearing from evolveEA, live from the US, describe their work at the recently completed Phipps Conservatory Center for Sustainable Landscapes. The audience in Leeds UK, along with many more tuned in on-line, listened to Christine and Mark Mondor present the inspiring background to the design and construction challenges overcome… View Article

Artists and Neighborhood Change

Last month I took a bus trip from Pittsburgh to Baltimore, Maryland to attend a conference called Artists and Neighborhood Change. The topic of community outreach and engagement through the arts has captivated me over the past several years, as a practicing artist, an urban dweller who has lived in three global cities over the… View Article

evolveEA Engages Brookline Online and in Community Meetings

This week, as part of evolveEA’s Identity & Visioning project with the South Pittsburgh neighborhood of Brookline, we launched an online engagement effort inviting residents, business owners, and area consumers to contribute ideas to our process. A new website, OurBrookline.com, will ask participants a new set of questions each week for the next eight weeks,… View Article

Our 40th LEED Certification

Since 2004 evolveEA has played a leading role in making certified green buildings more prevalent each year. We recently managed the certification of our 40th project under the US Green Building Council’s LEED framework, with four of those projects achieving the highest possible Platinum level. We have seen LEED become far more stringent over the last decade… View Article

Organizational Strategy: Essential Ingredients for Success

As our name evolve suggests, we believe it is important to periodically examine where we are, how we got here, and where we’re going. Communities, governments, corporations, and most other entities need strategies to work toward whatever vision drives their existence and ensure sustainability. Because success is often a moving target, strategies need to be reviewed and… View Article

AIA+2030 Series Helping to Build Capacity for Industry Professionals & Stakeholders

Developed by AIA Seattle with Architecture 2030, the AIA+2030 Professional Series is an educational series covering key strategies to reach the ambitious carbon reduction goals of The 2030 Challenge. The series is aimed at the design, construction and operations of buildings, and consists of ten, four-hour sessions, each of which is worth four LU/HSW credits. The series kicked… View Article

Winthrop Management, evolveEA Give Tour of US Steel Tower, Describe Impressive Ongoing Sustainability Efforts

Members of Winthrop Management and evolveEA led the June 5 Green Building Alliance tours of the US Steel Tower in Downtown Pittsburgh. Over 80 people attended the sold-out event, which featured rare videos created by US Steel upon the opening of the building in 1971. The contrast of the best that money could buy in… View Article

evolveEA Working on Strategic Planning with Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh

Women’s Center & Shelter (WCS) is the premier service provider in Western Pennsylvania building awareness of domestic violence, advocating for system support and change, and providing assistance to victims of domestic violence. WCS has engaged evolveEA for the facilitation of a process to create a Strategic Plan that will be used over the next five years… View Article

New Book About Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes Released at Living Future 2013 unConference

Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is widely considered the ultimate green pride of Pittsburgh. Its Living Building project, the recently opened Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) has been an opportunity for evolveEA to work alongside other regional and national experts in rising to the challenge of creating one of the world’s greenest buildings. This month… View Article

Ecodistrict Planning Symposium Brings A Diverse Group of Community Leaders Together

In conjunction with this week’s Annual PCRG Summit, evolveEA led a symposium at the Kingsley Association that built upon a number of sustainable planning initiatives we have been working on with Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Our partners in these efforts, the Kingsley Association from Larimer and the Borough of Millvale co-facilitated the event, providing background on their… View Article

Top-Down/Bottom-Up

Every year in Pittsburgh, the SoArch Lectures Series, organized by Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture, hosts lectures by well-established architects from the US and beyond who are leaders in design and sustainability. The last SoArch lecture recently took place at the Carnegie Museum of Art, where the presenting architect was Peter Busby, the Principal… View Article

Pittsburgh Changemakers in the Spotlight

Local changemakers on stage, April 11th, Pittsburgh Last night in Pittsburgh, the Green Building Alliance and Phipps Conservatory held their latest INSPIRE Speaker Series event, attracting the largest and most diverse audience they’ve had so far. evolveEA is proud to have co-sponsored the evening, which we selected because headline speaker Majora Carter‘s approach to community… View Article

Majora Carter Brings Her "Home(town) Security" Message to Pittsburgh

This Thursday, Pittsburgh’s Green Building Alliance & Phipps Conservatory present internationally renowned urban revitalization strategy consultant, real estate developer, and Peabody Award winning broadcaster, Majora Carter. What are the factors of a dynamic neighborhood that appeal to everyone?  Do the costs of supporting those built environment aspects outweigh the benefits?  While the Department of Homeland Security… View Article

TEDx Talk: Creating A Living City

How can an existing community with limited resources create a shared vision of a sustainable neighborhood? Ecodistrict planning builds community capacity for the development and implementation of closed-loop systems for Energy, Water, Nutrients and Waste.

2030 In Depth: An Opportunity for Impact

The environmental imperative for saving energy comes in the reduction of emissions from the combustion of fuels. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, over 90% of our nation’s energy use comes from oil, gas, and coal; the combustion of these ancient carbon-based life forms as fossil fuels creates four primary greenhouse gases. Of these,... View Article

Sota Construction Services achieved LEED Platinum for its new offices

Sota Construction Services Inc’s newly constructed office building reached a LEED score that makes it one of the greenest buildings in the world. Four evolveEA LEED consulting projects, including this building, achieved LEED Platinum Certification in 2012. Pittsburgh, PA — Sota Construction Services Inc. has a new office building that sets new standards for sustainable building practices… View Article

Highlights from Our Annual Review

Pittsburgh's AIA+2030 Educational Series Launching Soon

evolveEA’s Marc Mondor was recently chosen to chair AIA Pittsburgh‘s Committee On The Environment, which is launching a series of ten 4-hour seminars of nationally-recognized curriculum around the 2030 Challenge. The seminars are geared towards architects, building owners, engineers, contractors, and facilities managers, and are eligible for several types of continuing education credits commonly required… View Article

Waldorf School of Pittsburgh Students Engaged in Sustainability Initiatives

In alignment with our approach to greening People, Process, and Place, we are working with the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh (WSP) to integrate sustainability into the school’s campus planning, operations, and curriculum. This process includes close collaboration with all members of the school’s community—teachers, administrators, board members, parents, and students—and will impact the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh’s… View Article

evolveEA Speaking Engagements & Appearances: February 2013

February 6 at University of Pretoria, South Africa Conference: Sustainable Supply Chains with Economic Value  Christine Mondor, evolveEA Principal, AIA, LEED-AP Gordon Institute of Business Science, Sandton, Johannesburg February 22 at Pop City Reduce Your Use Workshop for Nonprofits Presentation and Panel discussion on sustainability strategies Christine Mondor, evolveEA Principal, AIA, LEED-AP RMU Center in the Heinz 57 Center,… View Article

Things Are Looking Up in Upper Lawrenceville

From The Bulletin, January 2013 By Lauren Byme and James Eash, Lawrenceville United and Lawrenceville Corporation Lawrenceville – More than 60 residents filled the Ancient Order of Hibernian’s Club at 52nd and Carnegie Streets on Oct. 18 to begin planning for their future. At this first of three public community sessions, residents came together to… View Article

Sustainable Preservation in American Cities

Our common framework for thinking about sustainability entails Triple Bottom Line thinking. Favorable decisions are beneficial to the environment, are equitable and make economic sense. We can argue that the more these properties are fulfilled, the more sustainable the project. The renovation of historic buildings has significant and meaningful overlap with this Triple Bottom Line… View Article

At Greenbuild and BECC Conferences, evolveEA Highlights Pittsburgh's Advancement in Sustainability

Pittsburgh’s achievements in green building and neighborhood planning is increasingly gaining national attention, and evolveEA is proud of our leading roles in some of the city’s most impressive projects. Last month members of our team and some of our local partners traveled to the USGBC’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in San Francisco, and the Behavior, Energy… View Article

Stormwater + Art

Scandinavia is known around the world for good design; whether you’re into products, graphics, architecture, or urban spaces, a visit to the region can inspire creative thinking. Over the summer we visited the city of Malmö, Sweden, an industrial-era harbor city which has reinvented itself as a modern sustainable cultural center. In particular, Malmö’s Western... View Article

evolveEA Speaking Engagements & Appearances: Decemeber 2012

December 6 USGBC Webinar: Establishing a Culture of Performance 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm LEED for Existing Buildings Marc Mondor, evolveEA Principal, AIA, LEED Faculty Eligible for GBCI/AIA/CES LU/HSW/SD credit December 9-10 in Montréal Experts Panel at Forum on the Former Hippodrome de Montréal Redevelopment Christine Mondor, evolveEA Principal, AIA, LEED-AP December 10 at Landmarks Housing… View Article

Making the “Ultimate Reuse” Sustainable

Do you recycle regularly? Do you reuse things whenever possible instead of throwing them away? I’m betting that for the majority of people reading this, the answer to at least one of these questions is yes. This is because in our consumer-driven culture where everything is disposable, the need for resource reuse and recycling have… View Article

Green Workplace Challenge Winners Prominently Featured in Media

Last week evolveEA accepted a first-place award for leading the small business category in the Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge. With a total 221 points, we are in the top three competitors for the entire challenge, which included large, medium, and small sized offices and an additional category for observers. As evolve became a carbon-neutral workplace… View Article

evolveEA Adopts Architecture 2030 Challenge

evolve Among Pittsburgh’s Earliest Adopters In our continuing commitment to sustainability and triple-bottom-line thinking, evolveEA has adopted The 2030 Challenge, an initiative of Architecture 2030. evolveEA uses design, education and facilitation strategies to promote sustainability and address environmental concerns and The 2030 Challenge is another tool for us to help achieve our clients’ increasingly ambitious... View Article

Pittsburgh PARK(ing) Day 2012

September 21 was PARK(ing) Day: An annual, one-day, international event in which artists, designers, activists and citizens collaborate to temporarily transform parking spots into “Parklets”, or miniature public parks. This type of design activism was the focus of this year’s US pavilion at the Venice Architecture Bienalle, in which pop-up parks, guerilla bike lanes, and similar… View Article

Building as Organism

Video [1 hour, 34 min]

evolveEA Speaking Engagements & Appearances: Fall 2012

September 19, 26, & October 3 at Point Park University with Green Building Alliance 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm LEED GA Exam Prep Course [BD+C 251] Marc Mondor, evolveEA Principal, AIA, LEED Faculty Register through the GBA; 3 sessions Point Park University, Pittsburgh PA October 11 GBA INSPIRE Speaker Series at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens… View Article

Steve Hockley Joins Conservation Consultants Inc. Board of Directors

Steve Hockley, Sustainable Process Manager at evolvEA, was recently named to the Board of Directors of Conservation Consultants Inc. (CCI), a prominent organization that has catalyzed the sustainability movement in Western PA. A graduate of Duquesne University’s MBA with a Focus in Sustainability program, and a LEED AP with a specialization in Existing Buildings, Steve’s extensive sustainability and green… View Article

Marc Mondor Joins AIA Pittsburgh Board of Directors as Chair of Committee on the Environment

evolveEA Principal, Marc Mondor, AIA, was inaugurated last week to the Board of Directors for the American Institute of Architects (AIA Pittsburgh). Marc will also serve as Chair of the Committee on the Environment, which is being resurrected for the first time since the 1990s. Marc’s extensive green building and facilitation experience will be valuable… View Article

Living Buildings as Regional Hubs for Sustainable Redevelopment

Imagine buildings that are able to produce all of the energy they need using renewable sources such as wind or solar, that capture and treat all of the water needed for building occupants and systems, eliminating the need for water or sewage treatment infrastructure. Mounting evidence suggests that buildings of the future must look like… View Article

The Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge: A Competition—or “coopertition”—with No Losers

“Competition” is simply defined as a contest between individuals or groups for resources and/or prestige. It is the opposite of “cooperation”, and has been shown to be a powerful motivator. No matter what the goal, people and businesses alike are intrinsically motivated by what their peers are doing. Everyone wants to win, and nobody wants… View Article

Phipps Production Greenhouse earns LEED Platinum Certification in the Existing Buildings Category

Thanks to a multi-year effort by a distinguished project team led by evolveEA, Phipps Conservatory’s Production Greenhouse has earned LEED EBOM Platinum Certification illustrating the potential for existing buildings to reduce their environmental impact. The certification—USGBC’s highest rating—represents the culmination of intense efforts to fully integrate sustainable operations within the organization. The historic campus in… View Article

Green Building in South Korea

I’m back from a month-long sojourn to South Korea in search of advancements in Green Building. The purpose of the Rotary International-funded trip was to see built environment sustainability from the perspective of South Korea. My major take-away from the trip: the U.S. as a country has a lot of catching up to do. It’s… View Article

Think Big, Plan Small, Team Up

As a special collaboration, we proudly feature insights by Stephen McKnight, Vice President of Community and Market Assessments, Fourth Economy Consulting. Small towns are hot. They’re hip. They’re attracting investment. Am I crazy? Don’t think so and here’s why. Large urban centers and small towns have more in common than you may first think. Big cities… View Article

evolveEA Selected for Downtown Pittsburgh Revitalization Project Team

“The Gardens,” will be a mixed use project on Market Square that will make up the next phase of a long-term revitalization plan. evolveEA was part of theteam for the phase one Market at Fifth project that initiated the downtown square’s improvement, restoring historic façades while providing modern LEED certified residences and retail spaces. “The… View Article

evolveEA Speaking Engagements & Appearances: Summer 2012

June 21 at 2012 ACSA International Conference: CHANGE, Architecture, Education, Practices 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm Civic Engagement III: Sustainable Neighborhoods Panel – “The Race is Really the Prize: Designing Community Capacity in Ecodistricts” Christine Mondor, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, evolveEA Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) C/ Montalegre, 5, Barcelona, Spain June 26 at Green Building Alliance … View Article

evolveEA to Help Green Point Park University's New Building

evolveEA will perform LEED management and sustainability consulting for Point Park University’s newest project. The 101 Wood Street building in downtown Pittsburgh will act as the University’s front door, welcoming new students and faculty. We will provide a suite of consulting services to help minimize environmental impact, set and manage sustainability goals, and achieve LEED… View Article

Winchester Thurston School Engages evolveEA

evolveEA was selected as part of a project team to establish energy efficiency goals for Pittsburgh’s renowned pre-K through 12 school, Winchester Thurston. We will start the process by leading a stakeholder charrette to ascertain overall sustainability goals. Comprising the project team along with evolveEA are Building Performance Architecture, Fourth Economy, and Performance Systems Development. Winchester… View Article

Deepening the Green at Phipps Conservatory

A truly transformative moment in our region’s history was witnessed by over four hundred people this week. Amid speeches by politicians and funders, the ribbon cutting for the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ long-awaited Center for Sustainable Landscapes allowed people to see this impressive building first-hand. Executive Director Richard Piacentini’s vision of the project was… View Article

Insights on Collaboration

The national American Institute of Architects Convention draws over 17,000 attendees from around the world. These practitioners, professionals and enthusiasts have converged upon Washington DC and are learning about and engaging in the large role that architecture and design play in, well, everything. I had the pleasure of teaching a day-long workshop about the application… View Article

evolveEA Study Culminates in LEED EB Platinum Certification at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center

The region’s investment in a green convention center is paying off. Pittsburgh-based consulting firm, evolveEA performed a ground-breaking study to evaluate the David L. Lawrence Convention Center’s (DLCC) operations, marking the first time a prominent LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified building has undergone a comprehensive evaluation for green operations, which has culminated… View Article

Navigating the Sea of Sustainability Standards (III of III)

Part III of our series, Navigating the Sea of Sustainability Standards, will round out our overview of the complex framework and standard marketplace. While this series may not be fully comprehensive, it presents food for thought concerning leading framework and sustainability evaluation tools across a number of relevant industries and trades. Others continue to compile… View Article

Upcoming evolveEA Speaking Engagements & Appearances

April 17 at Build Pittsburgh Annual AIA Pittsburgh Conference 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Integrative Process and Verified Performance: The Expanded Focus of LEED 2012 Moderator: Marc Mondor, AIA, LEED Faculty, Principal, evolveEA Panelists: Joseph Nagy, RA, LEED AP, Building Systems Ratings Manager, evolveEA, and Stephen Hockley, LEED AP, Sustainability Process Manager, evolveEA April 25 at GMIC’s… View Article

The Greening of Meetings—Event Venues Get Sustainable

Newsbrief from Environmental Building News According to consulting firm evolveEA, planners of conventions, trade shows, and other large meetings increasingly demand greener facilities, whose share of the market has increased 4.5% per year since 2004. In 2010, there were 19 LEED-certified convention centers across the country—up from 11 in 2009—and many more pursuing certification. With this… View Article

Transforming our Nation’s Building Stock: The Role of a MPG Rating and Fuel Efficiency Standards

The Era of $1 Gasoline and 7 ¢ kwh Utility Electricity is Over Everywhere we look we’re confronted with the rising costs of energy, whether you’re paying that monthly utility bill, booking a flight, or simply filling up your tank, it’s impossible to ignore the ever increasing cost of energy.  Politically, we’ve seen the latest iteration of… View Article

Winter Gala at Art Institute Features Panel with Marc Mondor

Last week, the Interior Design Student Professional Alliance held their annual Winter Gala at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. The event featured a presentation about the Living Building Challenge process at the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes, led by a panel from the project team. evolveEA’s Marc Mondor was accompanied by Chris Minnerly of The Design… View Article

Roshek Building Earns LEED Platinum Certification

  The historic Roshek Building, centerpiece of downtown Dubuque, Iowa’s sustainable redevelopment, recently received the US Green Building Council’s highest LEED Platinum Certification. evolveEA, coordinated the project team’s approach that combined sustainable development, green building and historic preservation to galvanize redevelopment in historic downtown Dubuque. Having successfully managed over 30 LEED certifications, The Roshek Building… View Article

Carnegie Mellon Design Students Focus on the Environment

At the end of Carnegie Mellon University’s fall semester, the School of Design held a one-day exhibition for the senior class, showcasing projects from all the areas of design that make up the school’s renowned curriculum. As an alumni and design professional, I found numerous points of interest in the range of work, the way… View Article

evolveEA Receives WBE Certifications

We are pleased to announce that evolveEA was recently certified as a Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.

Navigating the Sea of Sustainability Standards (II of III)

Part one (Places) of our three part series, Navigating the Sea of Sustainability Standards explored the role of standards within an expanding green building market. In summary, certifications and standards have ushered in a new era of green building development, by establishing a set of shared principles, which has led to rapid market uptake. Given the… View Article

Masters of Sustainability Students Engage in A Tale of Two Cities: Sustainable Community Analysis

evolveEA is leading a team of graduate students (MS3) in a semester long inquiry exploring two of our region’s communities as they transition toward a more sustainable and (hopefully) prosperous future. Similar to evolveEA’s approach to Buildings in Operation and benchmarking investigations, evolveEA and the Slippery Rock University team will perform a deep analysis of each community’s demographics and sustainability initiatives; while… View Article

The Value of Benchmarking: Buildings and Operations

We may not realize it, but we rely on the process of benchmarking every day. Whether we’re in the market for a new car or simply choosing between cereal options, reviews and product information (think Consumer Reports, Angie’s List, and nutrition labels) help us analyze goods or services. Information shapes our decision making processes and… View Article

Leveraging Sustainability in the Convention Industry

I bet you didn’t know that we are able to use a planet’s gravity as a slingshot to send things into space. It’s true. Spaceships regularly use Gravitational Assist in order to save fuel, time and expense on their journeys. Although not orbital mechanics, we have noticed an interesting phenomenon of gravitational assist with our… View Article

Cole Williams to Attend Seoul Green Building Exchange Program

We are proud to announce that evolveEA’s Cole Williams was chosen to participate in a Green Building Group Study Exchange Program this coming May in Seoul, South Korea. The program, organized and funded by the Rotary Foundation, brings a team of architects and designers from Seoul to Pittsburgh and then participants from Pittsburgh will focus on green… View Article

Data, Urban Strategies, & Visualization

Strategic Data Use to Stabilize Neighborhoods was a conference I attended December 6-7 in Baltimore. Around 200 were in attendance, all of us connecting with data differently in our work: community leaders, municipal staff from cities across the US, researchers, urban planners, financial and real estate professionals and a healthy variety of folks from other backgrounds…. View Article

handmade for the holidays

We came up with the idea to print our own cards and gifts as a fun experience for our staff, an opportunity to give our friends a unique gift, and to collaborate with a fantastic community arts organization called Artists Image Resource (AIR). AIR is an artist-run organization located in Pittsburgh's North Side that integrates the... View Article

White House Council Environmental Quality Chair Visits Pittsburgh

Last weekend representatives from evolveEA met with Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Ms. Sutley is principal environmental policy advisor to the President and was in Pittsburgh to learn about the successes and challenges facing the state of green building in our region. We described Pittsburgh’s role as an early… View Article

David L. Lawrence Conv. Center Progress Report

evolveEA’s Christine Mondor will speak at a Green Building Alliance event addressing the DLCC’s green features, performance, and operations, past, present, and future. evolveEA led the project team that analyzed the convention center’s performance as an innovative green building. Christine will highlight the challenges and triumphs in this effort that’s sure to have significant implications for the… View Article

The Scaling of Sustainable Development: Eco-districts

When it comes to making a difference, we’ve all been in a place that gets us feeling like what we are doing isn’t making that big of an impact. Research has shown that when the going gets tough, people change their attitudes, not their behaviors. That is to say: when the barriers to change are… View Article

Daniel Klein joins evolveEA as Communication Designer

Daniel Klein has joined evolveEA as Communication Designer and will be leading the firm’s emphasis on visualizing information to help companies and communities make better decisions for their future. Daniel has developed a savvy, conceptual design methodology working in fields from fine arts to corporate consulting and his creating thinking, technical skill and leadership experience… View Article

Communicating with Infographics

evolveEA continuously evaluates how we help our clients tell their stories and analyze their data in clear and meaningful ways.  We find that translating words and numbers into graphics enable a new level of understanding to any set of complex information and help make strategic thinking easier and more accessible. This is especially true in… View Article

Navigating the Sea of Sustainability Standards (I of III)

When it comes to sustainability there’s a vast sea of information available—and it’s not always easy to parse out accurate claims vs. marketing hyperbole. Phrases such as ‘all natural’ or ‘environmentally friendly’ have been slapped on about everything and anything we buy. First let us acknowledge that everything is relative, and that these claims often… View Article

evolveEA Receives AIA Pittsburgh’s Honor Award in Urban Design

Praising our Living City Masterplan project, AIA Pittsburgh presented evolveEA with an Urban Design Honor Award at its 2011 Design Pittsburgh Gala. While the masterplan addresses issues that many post-industrial communities are facing, direct community engagement helped us shape the plan in ways that build upon the local culture and uniqueness of the Larimer and Homewood neighborhoods. In… View Article

Greening Existing Buildings on College Campuses

Greening Existing Buildings on College Campuses | evolveEA Higher education is one of the leading sectors in sustainability thinking and implementation. We have been particularly interested in helping schools improve their overall performance by way of LEED certification for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (EBOM). The presentation above explores this concept in-depth, as a method… View Article

Sustainability for Supermarkets

Returning from the Food Marketing Institute’s Energy and Store Development Conference in Atlanta, I pondered the unique role that supermarkets play in our daily lives. Trends unveiled at the conference include a blurring of the lines between restaurant and store, as well a move away from hydrocarbons towards natural refrigerants, such as CO2, that cause no… View Article

Press Release: PennFuture Award

evolveEA is proud to announce that Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) will be officially honoring us with a Green Power:  Turn It On! Award! The award, which is part of the larger Green Power:  Turn It On! Campaign, is meant to recognize individuals and organizations for their work in promoting the clean energy economy in… View Article

evolve insights: Green Operations and Corporate Culture

Buildings are the most ubiquitous form covering modern landscapes. Their pervasiveness presents a paradox—our built environment is both crucial to and a symbol of modernity—but also a major contributor to degradation that threatens future prosperity. Simultaneously, our buildings define and separate us as human, but require significant yet finite environmental resources. Buildings in the United… View Article

evolve insights: “the business of business”

Nobel Prize Winning economist Milton Friedman was famous for his statement that, “the business of business is business. “  He believed the best thing a company could do for society was to maximize its profits, and any other activities related to social or environmental causes were unnecessary and possibly detrimental to business and society. Yet,… View Article

Navigating the Living Building Challenge

Often the first thing we are asked is “Would you do it again…should we attempt the Living Building Challenge?” My personal answer is a resounding YES!  But only if you can accommodate and address the uncertainty that the LBC injects into the normal design, construction and occupancy process. Dealing with this uncertainty is often very… View Article

Entry Point Assessment

Are you a commercial property owner, facility manager or developer? Are you interested in saving money and improving your building or portfolio’s valuation? Do you, your tenants, and employees appreciate efficient operations and greener buildings? If you answered yes to any of the above questions… we can help. Take our Existing Building Entry Point Assessment and obtain… View Article

Changing Tenants in a LEED Certified Retail Space

For those of you who have had the pleasure of shopping at the Borders bookstore in East Liberty in the last five years, you have been able to experience a nicely appointed bookstore, with music, magazines, coffee and lounge areas, all within a nicely daylit environment with unique urban views in a brand new retail… View Article

Low Carbon Neighborhood Improvement District

Communities that are pursuing sustainability face issues that take creativity, resources and support over a long period of time to be successful. The community planning process is an essential way to identify these issues and build the capacity to implement solutions.

Is Sustainable Consumption an Oxymoron?

When shopping for a product, let’s say a computer, have you ever wondered, what went into it? How much energy, water, toxic chemicals, carbon emissions etc., are embodied in this very innocent computer that you absolutely need for surfing the internet? What will happen to it when you are finished using it? And is the… View Article

Urban Strategies: Design for Engagement

Have you ever seen a familiar place that has been transformed through the lens of a Hollywood film? A few years ago, a Bruce Willis production filmed some of my favorite urban places and reconstructed them in a way that changed how I saw relationships between the neighborhoods of my fair city. Once I looked… View Article

Urban Strategies: Involve the Community

Have you ever found an idea that was so interesting that you are compelled to action? What if your friends felt the same way and your singular action multiplied and had a much greater effect? How could we create and harness some of that energy for other causes, like environmentally friendly neighborhoods? Galvanizing a community… View Article

The Progress of Sustainable Governments

When the USGBC began marketing their 2011 Federal Summit we openly wondered around the office if someone should attend this year’s summit. After all, we’ve been to a number of Greenbuild Conferences among others, but had never attended a Government Summit. As a firm, we’ve collaborated with both the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County,… View Article

Urban Strategies: Rethink Boundaries

Have you ever wondered how there came to be 67 counties in Pennsylvania? Back in the 1800s the counties were largely delineated by a day’s horse ride, which made a lot of sense 100 years ago. Now we get from county to county within an hour. Today, each county has a different governance structure and… View Article

Creating the Ideal Sustainable Building

We’ve been excited to participate in the Living Building Challenge as we help guide the Phipps Conservatory Center for Sustainable Landscapes toward meeting its requirements. Now that construction has begun, we’re excited to see some of the sustainable strategies take shape. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has been involved in in an ongoing effort to… View Article

Is There Truly Strength in Numbers?

Crossing the street in some cities is a matter of following directions. Observe the signs—cross when green, stop when red. In other cities, Pittsburgh included, crossing a downtown street is more of a sociological experiment. A crowd of people stand at a corner with a common goal to be on the other side. At first,… View Article

Community Charrettes for Frick Park

We’re beginning a community design process with Pittsburgh Parks to design a new treehouse in Pittsburgh’s largest park, Frick Park. We are hosting public charrettes, and we need community members and children to help us generate ideas. Sign up here: http://www.pittsburghparks.org/naturespace Kid-Centric Meeting Thursday April 28 5:30 – 7:30p Colfax Elementary School, 2332 Beechwood Boulevard… View Article

Asking Kids: What is a Sustainable Neighborhood?

Challenging children to think in new ways can create a new generation of critical thinkers who are ready to solve tomorrow’s problems in revolutionary ways. Someday these children will influence environmental decisions and policy, and we support organizations like the Environmental Charter School and their “Earth Nite” festival that called on kids to use their… View Article

Urban Strategies: Eco-Districts

For the first time in human history more than half the world’s population–3.3 billion humans– live in urban areas. This trend is expected to accelerate through 2030 when 5 billion will call cities home. While the sheer numbers are staggering; urban regions must prepare for such growth. How will they provide water, energy, waste and… View Article

Upcoming Sustainability Conferences

We’ll be participating in a few great upcoming conferences. Almost the whole office will be participating! Hope to see you there. March 25-27 Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon: Biodiversity and Environmental Justice Living Cities Presentation by Christine Mondor. April 3 PennFuture’s 2011 SW Pennsylvania Global Warming Conference Presentation by Christine Mondor. April 7 Build Pittsburgh The… View Article

Columns Feature: "Habitat"

This month, we are featured in the Pittsburgh AIA’s Columns Magazine. They did a great profile of our office space and our interest in co-location, mobile technology, collaboration, carbon neutrality, and the great neighborhood of Friendship. Thanks Columns! Habitat, Columns Magazine [PDF]

Marc Mondor on Pittsburgh's Sustainability Index Drop

Marc Mondor speaks to the Pittsburgh Business Times in this week’s article on Pittsburgh’s drop on the green cities index.

Why Pittsburgh is a Front-Runner in Sustainable Development

One of Pittsburgh’s best attributes that has helped bring it to the top of the “livability” list time and time again is its commitment to and connection with nature. The unique thing about Pittsburgh is that, when it comes to sustainability and environmental stewardship, it has support in spades. From for and non-profit environmental groups,… View Article

Gordon Gill Lecture

This past week, I attended Gordon Gill’s lecture about his firm’s work. He shows a rare concern for an architectural project’s overall life cycle and environmental impact. Although his firm, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill is only five years old, it employs over a hundred and the partners bring a portfolio of highly notable SOM… View Article

Paradigm Shift: Key Leadership Positions in Pittsburgh

Now Hiring: Key Leadership Positions in Pittsburgh Tracy Certo, Pop City Paradigm shift “Although the extent of leadership change may be disturbing, there is a great opportunity for new and more effective alignments to emerge from the changes,” says Christine Mondor, board chair of the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh which has just launched a… View Article

Lessons of Green Schools

With over 60 million students and faculty and as parts of our communities, school environments engage over 20% of the US population. It stands to reason that if we can green America’s schools, we can greatly improve the current status of our built and natural environments. But perhaps the best indicator of the success of… View Article

2009 Carbon Inventory and 2011 Carbon Neutrality

We are extremely excited to announce that our New Year’s Resolution (and strategic goal) for 2011 is to be 100% Carbon Neutral! Update: See our final report and presentation on our Carbon Neutrality page! Here at evolveEA, we regularly help clients realize benefit at the operational and strategic levels by measuring and reporting performance, identifying… View Article

A Look Back & The Year Ahead

Happy New Year! 2010 has been an exciting year for us at evolveEA. This year, we’ve continued to help clients leverage their green buildings and “place-based” sustainability projects into broader organizational sustainability planning. Buildings and spaces are great ways to demonstrate environmental principles and to build capacity within an organization so they can explore how… View Article

Design Thinking Charrette

This week, we participated in an internal charrette on Design Thinking. evolveEA’s ethos is that design is not only a product but is also a process. This has been integral not only to our graphic and architecture work, but to our sustainable consulting, operational sustainability, and strategic planning projects. We think of design as a… View Article

Cradle to Cradle Certification

Listening to Bill McDonough on Commonwealth Club/Climate One/NPR in November inspired me to share with the rest of the team some exciting developments around his launching of the nonprofit Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute during 2010. McDonough is trying to do for products what the US Green Building Council did for buildings when it… View Article

Greenbuild 2010

Greenbuild, the US Green Building Council’s annual conference took place in Chicago in November. Attended by 28,000 people from 114 countries, the conference is the largest tradeshow dedicated to green building, with over 1,800 active exhibit booths. Three days, six sessions and 16 concurrent tracks (you do the math) provided an array of content encompassing… View Article

Natural Talent Design Competition

This year, we teamed up with the Green Building Alliance to sponsor local winners of the USGBC’s Natural Talent Design Competition. Two projects won, including a team led by Cathy Chung, Brian Kish and Christian Wagner, as well as an individual project by Wui Joon Ha. Joon’s project, E.A.S.Y. House, was one of the two… View Article

Fast Company "Think Like your Customers"

Think Like Your Customers: Stray Cats, Sustainable Design, and Small Business By Shawn Graham, Fast Company Expert Blog Thursday, September 9, 2010 If you have or have had a pet, raise your hand. If you’ve ever taken said pet to the vet, keep your hand raised. Close your eyes. I want you to visualize the… View Article

Greenbuild 2009

We are at Greenbuild in Phoenix this week! To say the least–it has been eye opening. Although we’re enduring difficult economic times, it seems there is quite a bit of optimism inside the convention center. We will likely look back on Greenbuild 2009 as emblematic of significant change on many fronts. Anxiety and uncertainty are… View Article

The Low Carbon Neighborhood (a concept we really like!)

Imagine, for a minute, the future of our neighborhoods in a carbon constrained world. What will they look like and how will they function? Neighborhoods and regional leaders should be asking this question and search for solutions that take an integrated approach. Enter the low carbon zone, climate benefit district, or low carbon neighborhood. While… View Article

Rating Systems as Transformation Tools

The USGBC’s LEED rating system has become a transformative force for change (issues aside-which are relevant and will be covered in a later post). Consider; over 260 million square feet of space are now certified under the LEED NC and O&M programs, 60% of LEED credits have some aspect of energy savings embedded in their... View Article

Press Release: Eastside Development to be presented with LEED Gold

March 2008 “PITTSBURGH, Feb 28–The Mosites Company and The Design Alliance Architects have announced that Building C—the Borders Books building in the Eastside retail development in East Liberty, has been awarded the LEED Core and Shell Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) www.usgbc.org. Rick Fedrizzi, the President, CEO and Founding Chairman of… View Article

Columns "The State of Sustainability"

August 2007 “A lot of good design decisions don’t follow the LEED matrix,” admits Christine Mondor, AIA, LEED AP and principal of evolve environment :: architecture. She explains that her biggest fear is that LEED will be seen as a certificate so formulaic that it can be achieved without thinking outside the box and that… View Article

Shady Ave "The East End Goes Green"

” Earn one point for abating and developing a brownfield site, two for recycling 75% of construction waste, and another point for providing two preferred parking places for hybrid cars. Welcome to the environmentally friendly game of green building. These and many other potential credits are based on a formalized system developed by the US…. View Article

Pop City "Pop Star: Marc and Christine Mondor"

December 2006 “Marc and Christine Mondor, two heads talking at once, are the corporate culture at evolve EA. Spouses, co-principals, warriors for cutting-edge Environmental Architecture, in their own quiet way the Mondors are propounding a new-century agenda, a revolution writ small. “We seek the Holy Grail of design,” Christine Mondor says: “affordable, contemporary, green.” http://www.popcitymedia.com/features/40mondors.aspx

Pittsburgh Magazine "Forty Under Forty"

November 2006 “To an architect, living in Pittsburgh is kind of like being a kid in a candy store. While solid-brick homes and rolling park landscapes may not whet your appetite, these assests taste like opportunity for Marc Mondor. He has a passion for sustainable architecture and “green” building and renovation. “We work with design… View Article

Pop City "The Moving Guide to Friendship"

November 2006 “Architect Marc Mondor, principal of the firm evolve and Friendship resident, understands the attraction. In fact, he says, “I don’t see why this wouldn’t be as desirable a place to be in as Squirrel Hill or Shadyside.”

H, The Magazine of Heinz Endowments "Garden Variety"

Fall 2006 “Marc Mondor, a principal architect with evolve EA in Pittsburgh, stands on the green roof of a Giant Eagle grocery store in the city’s Shadyside neighborhood. Mondor was a consultant with the supermarket chain in the renovation of the existing building to meet green design standards.”

Pittsburgh Business Times "Select an Environmental Consultant"

December 2005 “As an environmental consultant who launched his own firm last year, Marc Mondor is growing a business by helping clients understand comparative shades of green. That would be both the financial kind and the kind that helps in small ways to preserve the environment"

Builder's Exchange "Going for Gold"

Vol 5 Issue “Part of that team was Marc Mondor, LEED consultant, who practices at evolve Environmental Architecture in Pittsburgh; he was also a consultant on the Giant Eagle in Brunswick, the country’s first LEED rated supermarket, covered in these pages in the November 2004 issue. “This project went well because of the united mindset… View Article