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U.S. Green Building Council honours leader of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

3 December 2010

Photo of award to Richard Piacentini


Phipps’ Executive Director, Richard Piacentini received the esteemed 2010 Leadership Award from the U.S. Green Building Council during their 2010 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in Chicago, Illinois on Friday 19 November.

The 2010 awards recognize individuals who exemplify vision, leadership and commitment to the evolution of green building design and construction in the private, public and nongovernmental organization (NGO) sectors. USGBC is recognizing Piacentini for Individual Leadership in the NGO category. This recognition is the first time an individual has received an award in the non-profit sector. Piacentini has been touted for leading the transformation of Pittsburgh’s century-old Conservatory into a model of green building practices and environmental awareness.

In 2009, under Piacentini’s leadership, Phipps was the site of the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit Welcome and Dinner, which showcased the conservatory as a model of environmental sustainability. In October 2010, Phipps Board of Directors approved construction of the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL), the final part of a major campus expansion that includes two already completed projects: the first LEED® certified visitors’ center in a public garden and the Tropical Forest, the world’s most energy-efficient conservatory. Construction for the CSL is set to begin in November, with a projected completion date of December, 2011. The CSL is expected to achieve Living Building Certification, LEED Platinum, and Four Stars in the Sustainable SITES Initiative.

“I am very excited to receive this important award from the USGBC and I think that it speaks to the tremendous dedication and passion our staff and board have to improving our relationship with the environment,” said Richard Piacentini.

Additional accolades for Phipps include recognition from the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the number 15 green power purchaser in the nonprofit sector in the nation; designation as one of “10 Great Botanic Gardens Across the USA” according to USA Today; and designation as America’s Greenest Garden on a national PBS television program, “Growing a Greener World.”

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