East End architecture firm strives for carbon-neutral status

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.



When people talk about Pittsburgh’‍s “new economy” — one based on innovation and technology — evolveEA is the kind of small business that comes to mind. 

With its East Liberty-based team of architects, designers and sustainability experts, evolveEA serves as a hybrid architecture and consultancy firm for businesses and communities seeking sustainable, environmentally friendly practices. 

Such a mission pairs well with Sustainable Pittsburgh’‍s Green Workplace Challenge, and evolveEA won in the small business category last year. So when the challenge started its second year, the company came back for more.

“Of course, the second year, we couldn’‍t not do it,” said evolveEA founder and principal Christine Mondor.

“This year we assumed we had it in the bag,” said Daniel Klein, communications designer, although a chorus of dissent from other employees following that remark — the office is cozy, so there are no private conversations — indicate that Mr. Klein was alone in his bravado.

EvolveEA settled for second this year, barely edged out by Pashek Associates, a landscape architecture firm in the North Shore, but the competitive drive has further fueled its green initiatives.

Among the 10-person company’‍s environmentally friendly practices are bonuses for employees who commute using alternative modes of transportation, like biking, walking or riding public transit; a one-month contest to see who can print the fewest pages; a company-organized neighborhood cleanup in Garfield; and efforts to make the office bike-friendly.

This year, the company said it achieved carbon-neutral status. In addition to greatly reducing its carbon footprint, it now offsets the carbon it does emit by purchasing offsets through www.carbonfund.org.

Still, the plan is to keep setting a higher bar.

“We’‍re trying to be a net-zero energy office,” said Ms. Mondor. EvolveEA plans to relocate to a new location across the street on Penn Avenue by next year, that will offer more control over energy and water improvements to further reduce waste. 

Matt Nussbaum: mnussbaum@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1504

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