Fitzgerald Announces Winner of Allegheny County Green Building Competition

Contest promoted sustainable actions by county employees, resulted in $119,177 in utility savings

ROSS TWP., Pa. – Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald today announced that the John J. Kane Regional Center-Ross Twp. won the first Allegheny County Green Building Competition, a friendly five-month contest among employees at Kane-Ross, the County Jail, County Office Building and Shuman Juvenile Detention Center. The goals were to reduce electricity and water usage and to promote sustainable thinking and actions in employees’ day-to-day work. Teams earned points in various categories, including energy conservation, alternative transportation, recycling and waste reduction, water conservation, and green purchasing.

“Everyone enjoys a little friendly competition, and our employees at the four participating facilities really stepped up to the challenge and proved that making a number of small changes can have a big impact,” said Fitzgerald. “Collectively during the five months, our competing employees saved an estimated $119,177 in electricity and water by reducing consumption. Kane-Ross won the challenge by achieving the highest point total for its sustainable actions, including cutting its average monthly electricity usage by 8.6 percent and its average monthly water usage by 15.4 percent.”

The estimated cost savings due to reduced electricity and water usage were: $54,863 for the County Jail; $35,749 for the County Office Building; $14,841 for Kane-Ross; and $13,724 for the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center.

The county’s Sustainability Office used the online sustainability community GreenNurture.com to communicate with employees and encourage their competitiveness and creativity when it came to thinking and acting in a sustainable manner. The site included daily energy usage boards, monthly energy and water savings graphs, overall leader board, and conversation board where ideas and building achievements were showcased.

As one of their initiatives, Kane-Ross employees held a special information event to help staff understand their commuting options, including biking and other alternatives. In response to employee interest, Kane-Ross installed a bike rack, created a facility bike repair kit, improved employee showers and changing rooms, and established a bike information area. County Executive Fitzgerald told Kane-Ross employees that their efforts resulted in the facility becoming the first government building to receive “Bike Friendly Employer” certification from Bike Pittsburgh.

Fitzgerald recognized Kane-Ross’ team leader Brian Pinter and team members Sue Crump, Denise Giesy, Vertie Teese, Brian Parker, Donna Hanam and Martin Rogers, and he presented them with a plaque. He also thanked Kane Centers Executive Director Dennis Biondo and Kane-Ross Administrator Kevin Mulroy for supporting the efforts of the staff.

As a reward, all employees at Kane-Ross will receive a free admission to Kennywood courtesy of the competition’s gold sponsors, Green Nurture.com and Continental Power Corporation, and silver sponsors, Duquesne Light Energy, NORESCO and AECOM.

“Congratulations and a big thank you to the employees from all four of the competing buildings,” added Fitzgerald. “We need each and every one of our employees to be part of our sustainability efforts and to help us operate our facilities more efficiently. The Allegheny County Green Building Competition demonstrates that individuals can drive these objectives.”

The Allegheny County Green Building Competition was inspired by Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Green Workplace Challenge, which took place from September 2011 through October 2012. The GWC engaged Southwestern Pennsylvania’s business community in a fair and friendly competition that produced real reductions in resource use and greenhouse gas emissions, while promoting sustainable business practices.

Allegheny County not only won its category in the Green Workplace Challenge, but it also achieved the highest point total of any participating organization.

# # #

Visit www.alleghenycounty.us/AlleghenyGreen for additional information on Allegheny County’s sustainability efforts.