The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh has become the first institution to attain Well Platinum Pilot certification, the International Well Building Institute (IWBI)’s highest distinction, for its Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL). The education, research, and administration building is part of a $23-million, multi-year expansion underway at Phipps to upgrade its facilities to emphasize more green and sustainable building practices.
The Well Building Standard is a performance-based certification system focusing on enhancing health and well-being through the built environment, combining best design practices with medical and scientific research. It is third-party certified through IWBI’s collaboration with the Green Building Certification Institute, which also administers the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Rating System and LEED accreditation program.
The CSL earned the IWBI’s highest distinction based on the Well Building Standard's seven performance categories: air, water, light, nourishment, fitness, comfort, and mind. It integrates many features of nature that improve occupant mood, such as visual and auditory biophilic art and a restorative landscape with native plants. CSL also enhances ventilation for occupant comfort by monitoring indoor air quality and humidity control while aiming to achieve net-zero energy with geothermal wells, a vertical axis wind turbine, and photovoltaics installed on the roof. Operable, high-performance, and low-e windows provide fresh air, natural light, and views out to nature. To foster healthy eating habits, Phipps offers employees free nutrition workshops and counseling, yoga classes, and daily access to organic fruit.
The CSL attained Net Zero Energy Certification from the International Living Future Institute in May in pursuit of the Institute’s Living Building Challenge. It also earned LEED Platinum and Four-Stars Sustainable Sites Initiative certification for landscapes in 2013. The CSL is expected to be the world’s first project to achieve these standards in addition to Living Building Certification.