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April 28, 2011

Facilities Management sustainability team introduced

Pitt is consolidating its “green” efforts under the new position of sustainability coordinator.

In a rare open meeting of the Senate plant utilization and planning (PUP) committee, Joseph Fink, associate vice chancellor for Facilities Management, introduced Dan Marcinko, who took on the new responsibilities last November.

Marcinko, Facilities Management’s assistant vice chancellor for administration, already is responsible for such duties as budgeting and accounting, procurement and contract administration.

The need for a sustainability coordinator has been the subject of ongoing discussion at PUP. Fink said the University administration agreed, with the stipulations that the position be part-time and housed under Facilities Management.

As sustainability coordinator, Marcinko will interact with University departments, faculty and student groups to coordinate green initiatives.

“He’s the face, he’s the name you have when there’s discussion of some initiative we want to take,” Fink said at PUP’s April 21 meeting. He noted that Marcinko was involved in the Carrillo Street steam plant project, which has decreased pollution produced by Pitt’s steam generation facilities.

Marcinko said the University’s sustainability-related web pages are being updated.

He also has been working with University groups on green projects. One such project is a rain garden (a planting sustained by water runoff) that will be installed near the Petersen Events Center. While Marcinko will work with students, he said groups need to come to him with projects on which definitive action can be taken. The rain garden project is an example, he said; Pitt’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation had received money for the project and Facilities Management was able to help identify potential sites.

Fink introduced Facilities Management sustainability team members.

They are:

• Laura Zullo, senior manager of energy initiatives. Formerly senior manager of capital and special projects, Zullo is responsible for energy conservation and utilities management, including energy audits and analysis of utility budgets.

Fink noted that the University is seeking to identify additional ways to conserve energy and to develop new energy policies. Zullo will be using a new enterprise energy management system that tracks utility usage and costs building-by-building, he said.

• Mary Rugh, senior manager of engineering. Rugh, who manages Facilities Management’s engineering group, is responsible for Pitt’s high-voltage electric distribution system, building automation systems and metering. She also reviews electrical system designs.

• Christin Whitco, senior project manager. Whitco is a LEED-accredited professional, responsible for managing design of research facilities and for projects for which Pitt is seeking LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

• Dan Fisher, assistant vice chancellor for research operations. Fisher is responsible for maintenance and operations of Pitt research facilities. “We are the model for operations and maintenance of regional biocontainment labs across the country,” Fink noted.

Fisher’s involvement in the development of the National Institutes of Health-funded regional biocontainment lab (RBL) at Biomedical Science Tower 3 led the NIH to name him chair of its operations committee for RBLs.

On campus, one sustainability-related project Fisher will be responsible for is a new maintenance management system for research facilities, Fink said.

• Will Mitchell, senior manager of custodial services. Mitchell is responsible for custodial operations, waste management and recycling and waste minimization, including recycling of construction and demolition waste. Mitchell is involved with battery and cell phone recycling initiatives on campus and is working to expand the use of more environmentally friendly cleaning products, Fink said.

Fink updated the committee on campus construction and renovation projects for which the University is seeking LEED certifications. LEED has four certification levels. The most basic is certified, with levels rising to silver, gold, then platinum based on points a project attains in green design categories related to energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

Pitt is seeking gold LEED certification for its Mascaro center project, the Benedum Hall core and shell renovation phase I, the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) renovation and the Biomedical Science Tower 10th floor renovation, he said.

The University is seeking silver LEED certification for the Benedum Hall renovation phase IIa, the Salk Hall addition, Chevron Science Center addition and the Pitt-Greensburg sustainable office/classroom building.

Pitt is seeking LEED-certified level certification for the mid-campus complex renovation, the GSPH addition, Fifth Avenue residence hall construction and the Pitt-Johnstown nursing school addition.

Fink said the University does not have a policy requiring it to pursue LEED certifications, “but will seriously consider LEED for our projects if it makes sense.” Most of Pitt’s major projects receive some level of LEED certification, he said.

Fink said Facilities Management plans to prepare an annual sustainability report. Following the April 21 meeting, he told the University Times that no report would be made this year, both to allow new sustainability team members time to settle into their positions and to determine what the report should include.

In other business:

• Eli Shorak, associate vice chancellor for Business, reported the following progress on campus projects: The Salk Hall addition is under construction; a new outer skin soon will be installed at the Chevron Science Center; the Concordia Club project has been completed, and work is continuing on the Bouquet Gardens expansion and the Benedum Hall addition.

Design for the GSPH project has been completed and Pitt will be seeking city approval soon, he said.

• John Wilds, assistant vice chancellor for Community Relations, reported that the city has increased lighting on Bigelow Boulevard between Fifth and Forbes avenues in response to Staff Association Council concerns about visibility.

In addition, installation of a new streetlight south of the William Pitt Union driveway is under consideration, he said.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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