Sustainability and Resilience Division Details 2020 Successes

PITTSBURGH, PA (March 22, 2021) The City of Pittsburgh’s Division of Sustainability and Resilience reported a number of successful steps on behalf of the environment in 2020 on topics as varied as fossil fuel disinvestment, electric vehicles, building efficiency and food security. 

“The City of Pittsburgh is making real and verifiable steps toward meeting our climate goals, and when they are added to the work of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and others worldwide it proves that cities are leading the way in the fight against climate change,” Mayor William Peduto said. 

"We are proud of the work of our team and partnerships with all of the city departments. These results are a demonstration that sustainability is everyone's responsibility in an organization,” said Chief Resilience Officer Grant Ervin. 

“Over the last year, even under the duress of the pandemic, we are seeing the implementation of the City's Climate Action Plan being activated all corners of city government. From the City's Environmental Social Governance Policy implemented by the Pension Board to our Net Zero Buildings policy being delivered by the Department of Public Works, we are seeing how we can provide city services in a more sustainable and cost-effective way."  

"Over the next couple years, we are going to see additional reductions in energy consumption, the continued growth of the region's largest fleet of electric vehicles, greater active transportation choices, more sustainable procurement and budget decisions and more local sourced renewable electricity being generated to supply our local governments," Ervin said.  

The Division of Sustainability and Resilience, which is part of the Department of City Planning, recorded accomplishments last year across several categories. They included: 

Policy and Performance  

  • Drafted and approved Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) Procurement Policy for City’s Pension Fund  
  • Developed and Released with a multi-department team, the City’s first Voluntary Local Review of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and submitted them to the United Nations  
  • Released, in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Sustainable Business, seven Cities and the Heartland Investors Network, the Marshall Plan for Middle America, an energy and economic transition strategy for the Ohio Valley  
  • Released Feed PGH report, an evaluation of food insecurity across City of Pittsburgh  
  • Received a 19th place ranking from ACEEE - American Council for Energy Efficient Economies  
  • Received a 1st place designation from the USCoM - U.S. Conference of Mayors for Sustainability Innovation  
  • Submitted data to ICLEI, Carbon Disclosure Project and Global Covenant of Mayors 

Energy Procurement 

  • Purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity with a new agreement with Direct Energy and $100,000 in savings for the City and $700,000 in savings across WPEC 
  • Distributed and prioritized a new electrical supply contract RFP and finalists for the creation of a wholesale sub-account within PJM Interconnect  
  • Signed a new natural gas supply agreement with Snyder Brothers and T&F Energy 
  • Agreed to advance a Letter of Intent and Energy Services Agreement for steam and energy efficiency with Clearways Energy 

Energy Efficiency  

  • Completed Building Energy Efficiency Analysis and Prioritization with Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)  
  • Established the Net Zero Buildings Implementation Unit (NZBIU)  
  • Established Street Lighting Retrofit Implementation Unit (SLRIU)  
  • Obtained approval and $4 million budget allocation to initiate LED street lighting retrofitting  
  • Obtained approval to scope and advance energy savings management projects with DPW  
  • Established Demand Response – energy curtailment- program with Direct Energy for Eazor Warehouse and City County Building  
  • Received Planning Commission and City Council Approval for Net Zero Energy Buildings Standard; and began the advancement of 9 NZE projects.  
  • Selected Maalka as software provider for Energy Benchmarking Program and collected and distributed 3rd year of commercial energy data reporting 

Climate and Energy Planning  

  • Established Five Delivery Units to advance climate initiatives (Streetlights, Energy Procurement, Energy Planning, Fleet Electrification, Net Zero Buildings)  
  • Received Technical Support from ACCC for Priority Based Budgeting (Climate Budget) for Resource X  
  • Received two support grants from the Energy Foundation for GBA (energy policy development) and PCRG (short distance trips)  
  • Completed Energy Plan and District Energy Analysis with Danish Energy Team and City of Aarhus, Denmark  
  • Completed Climate Adaptation Communications Deck and Narrative explained climate impacts on municipal operations 

Fleet Electrification  

  • Developed agreement with Parking Authority and City of Pittsburgh to relocate vehicles near electricity source at 10th Street Bridge  
  • Received $175,000 Covid Relief Grant from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority to advance 2nd Avenue EV Deployment  
  • Completed EV Master Plan Strategy with NRDC and Pittsburgh Parking Authority 

Circular Economy & Food Policy  

  • Completed the first round of residential recycling bin distribution with Environmental Services team  
  • Selected by National Resources Defense Council to be a part of Food Matters (food waste reduction) Coalition  
  • Continued Adopt-a-Lot & Farmers Market programs through pandemic  
  • Selected to join ICLEI’s Global Lead Cities for Sustainable Procurement Network  
  • Developed food insecurity research with Watson Fellowship Program  
  • Developed circular economy analysis of Pittsburgh food and buildings sector with Duquesne SMBA program  
  • Developed sustainability procurement dashboard criteria with Carnegie Mellon Policy Innovation Lab program 



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