Pitt Wins Sustainable Pittsburgh Challenge

Sherrard, outside, holding awards

Pitt’s campus-wide commitment to sustainable practices once again led to a first-place finish among universities in the most recent Sustainable Pittsburgh Challenge. The University has participated in and won its division in four successive Sustainable Pittsburgh Challenge competitions (formerly known as the Green Workplace Challenge).

Pitt finished with 1,097 points — more than double second-place university finisher Carnegie Mellon’s 444 points — with transportation contributing the largest number of points across all categories. 

Aurora Sharrard (pictured), director of Pitt’s Office of Sustainability, was among the Pitt representatives at the March 21 awards celebration.

More than 100 southwestern Pennsylvania area businesses, nonprofits, municipalities, universities, and K-12 schools completed the 13-month-long challenge to integrate sustainability into their organizational culture.

Together, participants saved more than 80 million kilowatt hours of energy worth $6.27 million — energy sufficient to power 7,978 average Pittsburgh homes for a year — and more than 20 million gallons of water — enough to fill more than 30 Olympic-size swimming pools. In addition, participating organizations avoided a per-capita annual average of 200 pounds of transportation-related carbon dioxide emissions.

Collectively, participants earned points for more than 2,200 sustainable actions including reducing energy and water usage, monitoring indoor air quality, implementing policies on supplier diversity and supplier code of conduct, creating a workplace sustainability team and encouraging carpooling and other alternative forms of transportation.