Friday, September 25, 2009

Green Challenge

The G20 brought attention to the other side of the state, as well as Pittsburgh's David L. Lawrence Convention Center, which not only makes good use of the city's waterfront, but is an environmental marvel unrivaled in a genre of architecture dominated by gas guzzling warehouses controlled by uninspired union bosses from ground breaking to ribbon cutting. I had never even noticed Pittsburgh's convention center sitting on the river like a futuristic port, and as I had heard the location was chosen in part due to Pittsburgh's strides towards green alternatives, I wanted to see how the David L. Lawrence Convention Center fared in comparison to our unnamed monstrosity. Turns out we didn't do so well. Here are a few ways Pittsburgh greened up their act with the David L. Lawrence Convention Center:

The DLCC was built on urban brownfield, redeveloping an extinct industrial portion of the waterfront reducing the cost of site preparation. Rather than redeveloping the post-industrial wastelands along Philadelphia's rivers, the PCC was built by demolishing a significant portion of Chinatown requiring extensive site preparation and demolition costs, leaving an eclectic and diverse portion of Center City littered with surface parking lots.

The DLCC is the largest Gold LEED certified building in the world for both it's design and construction, and for it's current and continuous daily operations. During the first decade of operation, PCC union employees got their green from the city and state by extorting a full day's pay if they were there for more than an hour.

95% of the demolition required for the DLCC site was recycled. 50% of the new materials needed for the DLCC were produced within 500 miles of the site. 10% of the building is made of post-consumer material. While Philadelphia has installed solar powered trashcans around the perimeter of the PCC, the PCC itself does not offer sorted trashcans to weed out recyclables.

Over 75% of the DLCC is lit by natural light. The primary hall is 100% naturally lit. The PCC air conditions the outdoor tunnel on 13th Street for those waiting for idling buses to take them to hotels as close as a block away.

The DLCC's landscaping is indigenous to western Pennsylvania. The PCC's potted plants are mostly dead.

The DLCC has proven a 66% reduction in purchased water because of an aquifer located beneath the center. The PCC will undoubtedly avoid proposing waterless urinals because the unions say they don't require enough maintenance.

Step it up, PCC!

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