The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is located at One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213; 412.622.6914. Learn more about their sustainable buildings and practices at their website and download the Green Healthy Spaces: A Summary of Sustainable Efforts at Phipps (PDF). See the LEED BD+C: New Construction v2 – LEED 2.0 Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden profile from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Known fondly as “The Green Heart of Pittsburgh,” the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a nonprofit, 14-room glasshouse public garden originally built in 1893. In 2005, the new $5 million, 11,454 sf Phipps Welcome Center was sited partially underground as an energy-conserving earth-sheltered structure. Its front entrance walkway slopes gently down to the 14 ft below-grade main level; the structure is the first LEED certified visitor center in a public garden (LEED-NC Silver, 2006).
“A 34-foot high glass dome crowns the Welcome Center, evoking the geometry of the historic glass houses. This splendid, fritted-glass dome above a central atrium solves the need for natural light, which illuminates the lobby, ticketing areas, gift shop and cafe, thereby reducing the need for artificial lighting,” (website).
In 2006, the Phipps Tropical Forest Conservatory was constructed to house tropical flora, two waterfalls, a canopy-layer walkway, public gathering spaces and educational discovery areas. The current project is the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a $2.6 million education, research and administration building. This signature project of Phase III of Phipps’ multiyear expansion is designed to exceed LEED Platinum standards; it will include greenroof trial gardens and generate its own energy with renewable resources. In 2008, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens received first-place in eco-structure’s inaugural Evergreen Awards’ “ecommercial” category.
The design of the Welcome Center is saving up to 40% in energy costs, 22% over the required level for Silver LEED certification. “A wall of laminated, insulated windows runs the length of the concave courtyard and controls glare and heat. Low- or no-VOC paints complement the sustainable products. To increase passive energy savings, the glass dome is vented to help cool the building. Air conditioning is only required below grade level. A green roof surrounding the glass dome provides a heat sink to enhance the building’s efficient climate control system,” (AIArchitect This Week, 2006).
“Phipps has become one of the world’s most energy efficient and sustainable conservatories, serving as a model for visitors and other public gardens. Green building design couple with sustainable operations and practices to create an environment committed to conservation and biodiversity,” (website, see below).
See the numerous certifications and awards of The Green Heart of Pittsburgh in Green Healthy Spaces: A Summary of Sustainable Efforts at Phipps.
See the Phipps Conservatory Production Greenhouse Living Walls project profile in The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.