The U.S. Green Building Council recently granted Pittsburgh’s East End Cooperative Ministry (EECM) LEED Platinum Certification. The Community House achieved 56 points out of 69 possible points, comfortably surpassing the 52 point threshold for Platinum.
The EECM is a non-profit, interfaith organization of 18 congregations in Pittsburgh’s East End that have pooled their resources to offer community services including a homeless shelter and soup kitchen, youth education programs, and a recuperative care facility. In 2009 Terra was asked to join Perkins Eastman Architects and a team of engineers and community leaders to design the outdoor spaces for the Community House. Terra provided site and planting design services which employed native plantings, storm water systems and pervious paving in support of the LEED Platinum standards.
We were able to stretch the traditional definition of “sustainability” to that which is not only good for the planet, but for the people and profitability of the organization as well. Outdoor spaces were aggressively programmed to grow food; raised beds and a production greenhouse on the roof are joined by food production gardens on land as well. These beds, along with courtyard herb boxes, are planted by Repair the World volunteers and maintained by members of the EECM work therapy program, who use the skills learned on-site as job training for future employment. The produce from these food gardens is then used in the soup kitchen.
Congratulations to all who helped the EECM achieve such high standards!