For Immediate Release: Tues., April 17

Contact: Julie LaBar ǀ Director of Marketing and Communications
412/622-6915, ext. 3801 ǀ jlabar@phipps.conservatory.org


Sustainability Leader Phipps Conservatory Supports Groundbreaking Getting to Zero Conference
Recognized thought leaders including Phipps’ Executive Director Richard Piacentini discuss best practices for constructing zero energy buildings at national forum.

Pittsburgh, PA — In its continued commitment to sustainability, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens supports New Building Institute’s Getting to Zero National Forum occurring Tues., April 17 through Thurs., April 19 in Pittsburgh.  

Now in its fourth year, the Getting to Zero National Forum brings together over 400 industry leaders including policymakers, manufacturers, construction professionals, architects, engineers, building designers, real estate representatives, building owners and operators to share their perspectives on the growth of zero energy buildings and collaborate on opportunities for zero energy buildings to transform the built environment. 

This year’s event features notable speakers including Scott Foster, director of the Sustainable Energy Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe; Kimberly Lewis, senior vice president of market transformation and development at U.S. Green Building Council; Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh; and Andrew McAllister, Commissioner of the California Energy Commission. 

Phipps’ Executive Director Richard Piacentini will also lead the Master Speaker Session “Zero Energy Changemakers.” This session will spotlight champions emerging at all levels who are creating the spark that is inspiring others’ interest in zero energy projects and the benefits they offer. Attendees will learn from these changemakers who are leading internal transformations with significant impacts that extend far beyond their organizations.  

“Phipps Conservatory is proud to support the 2018 Getting to Zero National Forum and serve as a resource and advocate for zero energy projects,” stated Piacentini. “As a global leader in sustainability, Phipps will contribute green building expertise and insights to the event discussion, having constructed the Center for Sustainable Landscapes - one of the greenest buildings in the world.”

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) is one of the most advanced state-of-the-art buildings in the world that remains the first and only building to meet four of the highest green certifications:  Living Building Challenge®, LEED® Platinum, Four Stars Sustainable SITES™ and WELL® Building Platinum.  The CSL is a net-zero energy and water building that provides significant environmental, health and wellness benefits, addressing environmental issues while providing access to fresh air, daylight and connections with nature to showcase the healthiest, high performance space of its kind.

Phipps will also host the Opening Reception for conference attendees on Tues., April 17 from 5:45 – 7:30 p.m., including tours of the CSL at Phipps, 1 Schenley Park in Pittsburgh.

Purchase tickets to the 2018 Getting to Zero National Forum here.


About Richard V. Piacentini:  Richard V. Piacentini is executive director of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Since 1994 he has guided the Pittsburgh organization from public to private management and is responsible for the green transformation of its facilities and operations, including: the opening of the first LEED® certified visitor’s center in a public garden; the first LEED® certified greenhouse (LEED® Platinum EBOM); the Tropical Forest Conservatory, one of the most energy-efficient conservatories in the world; and the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a net-zero energy and water building and the only building to meet the Living Building Challenge®, LEED® Platinum, 4 Stars Sustainable SITES™ and Platinum WELL® Building certifications. 

The sustainability efforts Piacentini initiated at Phipps are based on recognizing the vital connections between people, plants, health and the planet. This systems-based way of thinking influences the organization’s actions and programs, particularly those focused on awakening children to nature, and promoting human and environmental well-being. 

Piacentini serves on the board of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) as past chair and secretary and on the Mission and Community Needs Committee for Magee-Womens Hospital. He is a member of the Biophilic Design Initiative Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee for the Biophilic Cities Network.  He is a Past President and Treasurer of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), and has received ILFI, USGBC, and APGA leadership awards. 

Piacentini holds a Master of Science degree in Botany from the University of Connecticut, a Master of Business Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island. He is a Registered Pharmacist and a WELL® Accredited Professional.

About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa. is a green leader among public gardens with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Phipps commemorates its 125th anniversary throughout 2018, celebrating its historic past, vibrant present and exciting future ahead — including inspiring seasonal flower shows, community events, public programs and groundbreaking green innovation. Learn more at phipps.conservatory.org.