Students in scrubs sit in a lofted study area in Salk Hall
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Pitt earned its first LEED Platinum certification

  • University News
  • Pittsburgh Campus

The $72 million renovation on Salk Hall brought upgraded labs, new classrooms and improved office layouts. It also brought the University of Pittsburgh its first LEED Platinum certification — the highest honor of its kind for sustainable building.

And upgrading the existing 82-year-old building was just one part of the project’s green efforts. More than 90% of construction and demolition waste was diverted from landfills. Compared to similar buildings, the Salk Hall renovation also reduced water use by 36.8%.

The project used renewable energy from the University’s power purchase agreement with the Vesper Gaucho solar project, and the renovations reduced connected lighting power in the building by 44.6%. High solar-reflective roofs, which reject heat absorption, and energy efficient HVAC systems were installed to keep temperatures in the building cool.

[From the archives: Check out these sustainable buildings on the Pittsburgh campus.]

The certification encompasses the renovated areas of Salk Hall, which includes floors 5-11 and some areas of the second, third and fourth floors. The renovation completely revamped the School of Pharmacy space as well as some areas for the School of Dental Medicine.

The project earned Pitt its 17th certification from LEED, which provides third-party validation of the sustainability of a building’s design, construction, operations and maintenance. The 99,777 square feet renovated in the project brings the University to a total of 1.3 million square feet of LEED-certified space across its five campuses.

The LEED green building rating system, the most widely used of its kind, awards points to projects that address carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health and indoor environmental quality.

Only 22 buildings in the Pittsburgh region and 155 in the commonwealth have obtained the Platinum title.


— Nora Smith, photography by Ed Rombout for DRS Architects