From natural light to pen recycling

Editor‘‍s note: This is part of a series looking at participants in Sustainable Pittsburgh’‍s Green Workplace Challenge. The second annual contest had a line up of more than 100 participants during the year ended May 31. Large and small firms, nonprofits, universities and government entities competed to see who could save the most energy, waste and water. 


After placing third in the first Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge, Bank of New York Mellon intensified its efforts for the second year of the competition by focusing on water, transportation and energy initiatives — moves that netted the bank second place in the large company category.

BNY Mellon has three commercial buildings occupying more than two million square feet in Pittsburgh’‍s central business district. Each building received an Energy Star certification, a designation given by the Environmental Protection Agency for buildings that meet both financial and environmental efficiency standards.

Another building, 525 William Penn Place, was also certified by the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) that rates the efficiency of a building’‍s design.  

To achieve these certifications, BNY Mellon’‍s Pittsburgh sustainability team developed a strategy for renovations to the buildings, according to Lane Cigna, a spokeswoman.

Upgrades to conference rooms and offices took advantage of natural light with large windows and frosted glass in place of walls. Passive energy detectors were installed so lights shut off automatically. Variable frequency drives were installed in elevators to control the frequency and voltage of motors to slow their speed when they‘‍re not being used. Low-flow sinks and toilets were added to bathrooms. 

As for transportation, employees took a survey that assessed commuting habits and encouraged them to use ride sharing services like CommuteInfo. The program based in southwestern Pennsylvania provides public transit and carpooling resources.

“We wanted to help people understand what their resources are,” said Ms. Cigna. “If someone’‍s in a place where a ride sharing service would be beneficial, you have to internally market that.”

The financial firm also developed a pen recycling program this year. 

“We just want to make sure that something as simple as a pen — which everyone touches throughout the day —  doesn't end up in a landfill,” said Ms. Cigna.

The program, which started among BNY Mellon‘‍s 7,600 Pittsburgh employees, has grown to include 21 other US offices, the company said.

Max Radwin: or 412-263-1280; Twitter @MaxRadwin


UPDATE: an earlier version of this article misstated the number of employees participating in the pen recycling program.

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