Sustainability & Resilience

Sustainability is not just about environmental protection. It is also important that we find a careful balance between the environment, economics, and social justice.

We believe that sustainability means:

  • decreasing our impact on the environment
  • finding ways to save money
  • improving the services we provide to citizens
  • growing the economy


What is energy efficiency?

Energy efficiency is using less energy to provide the same service. If you use an Energy Star certified refrigerator, you will use less energy to provide the same service that a traditional refrigerator provides. Efficiency improvements are often the most cost-effective methods to reduce energy use and carbon emissions.

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is generated from resources that are indefinitely replenished naturally: sunlight, wind, water, hydrogen, biomass, and geothermal heat. We also want to use cleaner sources of energy because it will be vital to creating a more sustainable city.

Each year the City of Pittsburgh purchases 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources, which is enough to power 3,500 homes per year.


Pittsburgh signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2007, pledging to implement local global warming solutions that will save taxpayer dollars and reduce energy use.

This commitment followed the completion of the City's first greenhouse gas inventory. A greenhouse gas inventory measures how many heat-trapping gases are being emitted from an entity and from what sources. It is a useful tool to target actions to the areas where they have the most impact.

Climate change threatens our region. The negative effects can include:

  • increased severe weather events and flooding
  • higher prices on basic goods
  • shortages of basic goods
  • a higher rate of illness
  • heat-related health problems

Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan

Pittsburgh is in the process of developing its third climate action plan (PCAP 3.0) to create policies and projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within city limits. This will lessen Pittsburgh’s contribution to global climate change.

Greenhouse gas emissions trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere and cause a rise in average global temperatures. This causes climate change that manifests in sea level rise, ice melt and many other effects. Higher levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere leads to more extreme consequences we will experience in the form of storms, droughts, flooding, extreme heating and cooling events. This will have a negative effect on ecosystems , food production, infrastructure and human health.

We have already begun to experience the effects of climate change in Pittsburgh with colder winters, and we know Pennsylvania can expect longer and hotter summers, decreased winter snowpack and increased rainfall. We need coordinated, concentrated and comprehensive

carbon mitigation action now to reduce the severity of regional impacts and prepare for a low carbon economy.

The 2013 10-year benchmark greenhouse gas inventory is currently underway to assess our carbon reduction progress and guide the development of our third Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan. Follow the process and get involved at