Green is not just the color of money, it is the color of social-responsibility

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Penguins Go Green

Fans attending the Pittsburgh Penguins' home opener against the Philadelphia Flyers Oct. 7 will notice that differences between Consol Energy Center and the Civic Arena go beyond the obvious.

Sniff the air; it'll be cleaner, fresher. Look up; sunlight will pour through windows. Check out the faucets and toilets in the restrooms; they'll use less water.

The Pens' new home will be among the most, if not the most, environmentally friendly arenas in the nation, said Jason Carmello, an architect with Populous, the Kansas City, Mo., firm that designed Consol Energy Center.

"We're trying to get to the highest LEED-certified level of any arena in America," Carmello said.

LEED is a green-building certification system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington. It verifies a structure was designed and built using methods that improve energy savings and water efficiency, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and conserve resources.

"We're hoping for LEED gold, which would be unusual for a building of this size," said Catherine Sheane the sustainable-design manager for Astorino, a Downtown firm that provides architecture, engineering and landscape and interior design services. The center is about 700,000 square feet, she said.

"We hope to hear before the end of August," said Sheane, who has managed the LEED certification process for Consol Energy Center.

To attain the gold standard, the team that designed and built the arena must score at least 39 points on the Washington-based Green Building Certification Institute's scale, Sheane said.

"We submitted documentation for 43 points," she said. "We're hoping that's enough of a cushion."

Items garnering points include diverting waste from landfills; using recycled building materials; using sustainably harvested and processed wood; and using materials that reflect rather than absorb sunlight, to reduce heat absorption.

Contractors diverted 93.7 percent of the arena's waste from landfills, Sheane said.

"We separated what could be recycled and what could not be," said Theresa McCue, a project engineer, who tracked and logged more than 85 percent of the diverted waste. "The fact that we got that high was amazing. It's wonderful."    read full story

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