The Garden Room at the National Aviary Achieves LEED® Gold Certification

The Garden Room at the National Aviary Achieves LEED® Gold Certification
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By Jim Cunningham

Date: 10 January 2022

The state-of-the-art, 9,000-square-foot event space is highly rated for its sustainability features and innovative design that promote human and environmental well-being

The National Aviary today announces that The Garden Room, an all-seasons event space opened in October 2020, has been awarded LEED Gold certification. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized symbol of dedication to sustainable building practices that benefit the environment and human health. LEED’s rating system is the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

“Throughout the process of planning and building The Garden Room, the National Aviary and our project team were intentional about keeping sustainability and a strong connection to nature top of mind, and we are thrilled to receive LEED Gold certification,” said Cheryl Tracy, Executive Director of the National Aviary. “Our talented project partners at Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel (PWWG) and Jendoco Construction Corporation shared our commitment to sustainability and helped to bring our vision for this truly innovative space to life.”

The Garden Room offers the conveniences of a new event space with innovative sustainability features. The project also included a nearly 2,000-square-foot redesign of the lobby connecting to the Aviary’s immersive habitats via The Charity Randall Foundation Eagle Hall. The entire space is purposefully designed and versatile, and hosts weddings, corporate events, and education programs.

“Achieving LEED certification is more than just implementing sustainable practices. It represents a commitment to making the world a better place and influencing others to do better,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the central role buildings play in that effort, the National Aviary is creating a path forward through their LEED certification.”

The building uses wood in its construction, with walls and windows on three sides that incorporate about 2,700 square feet of Vitro Architectural Glass with Walker Glass’s bird-safe treatment. This glass uses a bird-safe pattern to prevent window strikes by wild birds in the surrounding park, and maximizes energy efficiency. The Garden Room also has a progressive stormwater management system. Light-refracting skylights are not only elegant and eye-catching, but also enhance natural lighting thereby reducing energy use. To promote a high level of indoor air quality, products and materials with low- and no-VOCs (volatile organic compounds) were selected, including paint, adhesives, acoustic wall panels, and advanced filtration.

“The National Aviary presented our team with a holistic vision, and set a very high bar for design, energy performance, and sustainability. Our design had to address LEED requirements and bird safety and conservation, have striking aesthetics, create a visual connection to the outdoors, and optimize well-being for visitors,” said Anthony Pitassi, AIA, LEED AP, Project Manager for PWWG Architects. “Because the LEED guidelines dovetail with healthy building design in general, it was deeply gratifying to recognize that these efforts created a facility that not only limits environmental impact, but also makes for a beautiful, bright, versatile, and safe environment for humans and birds.”

Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council demonstrates a commitment to ensuring a high level of sustainability in construction and operations. The rigorous LEED certification process evaluates projects on a number of criteria, including energy efficiency, water efficiency, materials selection, and innovation in designs that integrate human and environmental well-being.

“Jendoco engaged in deliberate collaboration with the Aviary team and PWWG Architects to fully understand the vision and aspirational goals for the project. We co-created a concept that aligns these goals and incorporates the unique skills, expertise, and knowledge of each individual on the project team,” said Chris Klehm, Vice President of Sustainability for Jendoco Construction Corporation. “The result is the realization of the potential of the project and the award of LEED Gold. Jendoco is proud to have been an integral part of this amazing project.”

Lead funding for The Garden Room was provided by the Richard King Mellon Foundation with additional funding provided by The Charity Randall Foundation, Hillman Foundation, Eden Hall Foundation, Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD), Allegheny Foundation, Allegheny County, Jack Buncher Foundation, The Charles M. Morris Charitable Trust, Robert and Mary Weisbrod Foundation, and original National Aviary Board of Trustees member Michael Flinn and his wife, Eileen Flinn, both long-time supporters of the National Aviary.

About the National Aviary

The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated to birds. Located on Pittsburgh’s historic Northside, the National Aviary is home to 500 birds representing more than 150 diverse species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The National Aviary’s large walk-through habitats create an intimate, up-close interaction between visitors and free-flying birds, including opportunities to hand-feed and meet many species rarely found in zoos. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. – 5p.m. daily except for Tuesdays. For tickets and more information, visit www.aviary.org.

About the U.S. Green Building Council

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a healthy, resilient and equitable future for all through the development of green buildings, cities and communities. For more than 20 years, USGBC has been advancing green building practices through the development of LEED, the world’s most widely used green building program. With the support of thousands of members, volunteers and partners, USGBC provides robust green building education courses, a rigorous professional credentialing program, and advocates for effective public policies. It convenes an international network of green building and sustainability leaders through the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, and forward thinking programs, including the Center for Green Schools. For more information, visit usgbc.org and connect on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About Vitro Architectural Glass

Vitro Architectural Glass, part of Vitro, S.A.B. de C.V. (BMV:VITROA), the largest company of its kind in the Americas, manufactures a range of industry-leading, energy-efficient products such as Solarban®, Sungate® and Starphire Ultra-Clear® glasses at U.S. plants in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Fresno, California; Salem, Oregon; and Wichita Falls, Texas. Committed to sustainable manufacturing processes and products, the company also operates one of the world’s largest glass research and development facilities in Pittsburgh and four residential glass fabrication plants in Canada. Upholding the values of “Together, We See Further” across the architectural, automotive and containers markets, Vitro strives to realize the power of partnership to ensure that projects meet or exceed ever-evolving sustainability expectations as well as glass requirements. For more information, please visit www.VitroGlassHub.com.

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