Pittsburgh’s Iconic U.S. Steel Tower Becomes Second Largest Building in the World to Achieve LEED Certification for Operation and Maintenance

LEDE: The U.S. Steel Tower in Pittsburgh has earned a LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M): Existing Buildings Silver Certification, making it the second largest building in the world to achieve such a distinction.

The certification measures how existing buildings perform in the areas of energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, use of sustainable materials, transportation and other criteria.

For an office structure designed when resource efficiency was not an expectation or a priority, the certification is a significant achievement.  Built in 1970 and stretching 841 feet and 64 floors high, it was constructed at the height of Pittsburgh’s first renaissance and reflected Pittsburgh’s then dominance of the steel manufacturing industry.  The building’s signature triangular shape was designed to reflect the city’s three rivers.

Practices deployed by U.S. Steel Tower to achieve LEED Silver O+M certification include:

  • Location & Transportation: Support for alternative modes of transportation, including secure bicycle parking, electric vehicle charging stations, and ride share matching. Approximately 60% of USS Tower employees commute using alternative modes of transportation.
  • Sustainable Sites: Site management practices that reduce harmful chemical use, energy waste, water waste, air pollution, solid waste, and chemical runoff.
  • Water Efficiency: Fixture and fitting upgrades, water sub-metering, increased cooling tower water cycles, and drip irrigation for the landscape.
  • Energy & Atmosphere: Installation of highly efficient LEDs in the lobby and garage, installation of Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs), HVAC upgrades, and new energy-efficient elevator system
  • Materials & Resources: Adoption of sustainable purchasing and recycling practices
  • Indoor Environmental Quality: Green cleaning practices, products, and equipment that improve human health, reduce impact on the environment, and provide a clean workspace for all tenants.

Now a national model for building renovations,  the U.S. Steel Tower is helping to drive forward the City of Pittsburgh’s goal of 50% reductions in energy, water, and transportation emissions by 2030.


Daniel Klein, evolveEA, at daniel@evolveea.com or 412.362.2100

Tom Harringon, Winthrop Management at tharrington@winthroppgh.com or 412.261.9940.

Angelica Ciranni, Green Building Alliance, at angelicac@gbapgh.org or 412.773.6013

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