If you are seeking information on how green or high performance building approaches might help you create a healthier, more energy-efficient work place or you want to green up your real estate portfolio, please see the below information.
“Building Science Information provides objective, high-quality information about commercial and residential buildings. This resource combines building physics, systems design concepts, and an awareness of sustainability to promote the design and construction of buildings that are more durable, healthier, more sustainable and more economical than most buildings built today.” (Building Science Corporation — one of our design team partners)
High Performance buildings using a building science approach offers a leading-edge approach to construction and planning that results in reduced expenditure of natural resources, less waste and pollution, enhanced health, and increased profitability. We are fully committed to this sensible and responsible philosophy and continually realize its benefits firsthand. A study from the United States Green Building Council shows that dramatic improvements in productivity are possible. As a business owner, you know that your greatest annual expenditure is related to employee compensation and health care. Green buildings have been shown to decrease absenteeism and increase productivity. One study from USGBC on this topic shows the results and there are many more success stories.
Sota Construction Services Inc. has been practicing high performance and green building approaches on our projects since our inception in 1993. We are a financial supporter of the Green Building Alliance and Conservation Consultants Inc. in Pittsburgh and have been a long time member of the United States Green Building Council.
Ernie Sota, president of Sota Construction Services Inc., is a registered LEED professional. (LEED is a rating system for green buildings. See http://www.usgbc.org/for more information.) Ernie has been involved in sustainable approaches to construction since 1977. In addition to the projects below, please see some of our work under the Projects tab at the top of this page.
It all starts at the beginning of a building project with something called integrated design. By using this approach, our projects have proven to be cost-saving in both construction and in operation, as well as minimally damaging to the environment. We can assemble a team of Architects, Engineers, Cost Estimators and Constructability review professionals to insure that your effort to bring a sustainable approach to your construction project is successful. The high performance projects that we have been a part of vary widely. The link below is a video entitled 'Urban Green', produced by the Senate Democratic Broadcast Services, which showcases some of our projects. Our newest green building is the Reserve Lodging Facility located in Coraopolis, PA, which recently received LEED Gold.
The Reserve Lodging Facility project included entirely demolishing and removing two buildings to construct 38 guest rooms in three stories. The project utilized a rigorous quality assurance/quality control protocol closely monitored by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
The building recently received the coveted LEED Gold status because of incredible green features like: super-efficient, acoustically enhanced insulating glass window units with laminated glass; an eco-disc elevator; high efficiency 4 pipe HVAC system; and an energy efficient lighting package.
The recently completed Plum Retirement Residence, a 62,800 s.f. seniors independent living facility developed by a.m. Rodriguez Associates, inc., houses 58 dwelling units. Extensive sitework was required to construct this unique building. Widespread use of high efficiency HVAC equipment, low VOC paints and adhesives, water source heat pumps, thermal envelope sealing and air to air heat exchangers provide a 'greener' building. Please visit Plum’s project page on our website for a more detailed look at the green features distinctive to this building. All of these features helped make Plum Retirement Residence a registered LEED for Homes project.
The Our Lady of Sacred Heart Addition/Renovation to The Angela Athletic Center included the expansion and addition to the existing gymnasium and features sustainable aspects such as clerestory daylighting, high efficiency thermal envelope and MEP equipment, as well as low VOC emitting materials and recycling of construction waste. The goal was to provide the school with a cost-effective, day lit, healthier, and energy-efficient building. Innovative and practical solutions were found to meet or exceed these goals, including steel framing techniques, state-of-the-art HVAC, and lighting systems.
Allegheny Hills Retirement Residence, 69,000 s.f., 79 unit, independent living facility, was built in the 1970's and had many of its mechanical electrical systems near failure. Energy costs were an increasing concern to the building's management. The energy model showed that there should be a variety of strategies used duing the substantial renovation of this building. The thermal envelope was improved significantly with additional insulation at the roof and side walls, along with new energy efficient windows. The mechanical system was completly replaced with a high efficiency water source heat pump system along with energy efficient lighting. The resultant improvements have reduced energy consumption in the building by 60%.
Woodcrest Retirement Residence, developed by a.m. Rodriguez Associates, inc., is located on a hilltop with a beautiful view of the rolling wooded hills of Moon Township. The building is registered under the USGBC LEED for Homes Pilot Program and is a LEED GOLD project. Woodcrest Retirement Residence also received an award from the National Association of Home Builders for Best of 50+ Housing, Gold Winner.
Woodcrest was redeveloped using green building techniques from an existing residential four-story building (formerly known as St. Joseph Hall) that was used to house nuns at the Felician Sisters Convent in Moon Township. Some of the green features include high efficiency mechanical equipment, Energy Star light fixtures, water conserving plumbing fixtures, recycled content materials, and improvements to the building's thermal envelope such as energy-efficient windows and spray foam insulation.
Another example of our work in Green Building for new construction multifamily development is the Carson Retirement Residence/Sarah Street Apartments project, shown below. Our studies of the energy usage for the multifamily buildings shown on our projects pages show that they are they are extremely energy efficient when using the metric of btu/sf/degree day of heating. These buildings are showing a consumption of approximately 6 btu per sf using this metrc for total energy, including heating, cooling, lighting, plug loads and domestic hot water usage.
This 99 unit project was constructed of precast plank and insulated concrete formed walls. At the time, it was the largest building in Pennsylvania built using this method. This type of construction provides exceptionally high insulation and sound qualities (STC values) for the building. Other measures such as high efficiency water source heat pumps and boilers, Low-E glazing, and low-VOC paints and adhesives were some of the items that contributed to this being a 'greener' project.
WYEP community Broadcast Center, which is 'the first green station in the nation' received a LEED-NC Silver rating. The construction of the building is steel framed with brick/metal siding with parking underneath, is located in the South Side historic district of Pittsburgh.
Green building was the key to this project. Sota Construction Services, Inc. offered significant input on thermal envelope design strategies, which resulted in a low-cost, highly efficient exterior shell, as well as other areas, including improved HVAC design and lighting and improved indoor air quality. The building uses 30% less energy than a new building designed according to current energy codes. Low VOC paints and adhesives, recycled construction waste, and a fresh air system that helps make the staff even more productive were among other items used to achieve a LEED Silver certificate.
RossHill Retirement Residence is utilizing the sun to help heat the water for the building. Sota Construction Services, Inc. obtained the funding and coordinated installation of Western Pennsylvania's largest solar domestic hot water heating system.
The 600 tube collector array, which was designed and installed by Tudi Mechanical Systems, provides 100% of the domestic hot water for this 94,000 s.f., affordable independent living facility. Funding for the project was obtained through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Energy Harvesting grant program. See this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article for more information on this installation.
Blackbird Lofts and Artist Studios is a 47,000 s.f., mixed-use building that is LEED registered under core and shell pilot. Energy efficiency was very important, and steps were taken to ensure minimal energy use with filtered fresh air being delivered to each of the residences through an energy recovery ventilation system.
The Felician Sisters Convent and Sacred Heart High School is a LEED registered Sota project that achieved a GOLD rating. The project's Green construction elements included significant reuse of existing materials, specification of recycled content materials, recycling of on-site construction waste and specification of sustainable furniture.
Besides the reuse of over 300 doors and transoms, miles of wood trim and 1 acre of wood flooring, all of the new partitions were built using recycled metal studs, recycled drywall made from fly-ash and recycled mineral wool sound insulation. Extensive interviews with the Sisters regarding the occupancy schedule of the various spaces allowed the HVAC system to be reduced by 45 tons.
High efficiency water source heat pumps were used with energy recovery units on the roof to provide fresh air and recover energy from the exhausted air. The building exceeds ASHRAE 90.1 for energy efficiency by 35% providing significant long term savings and environmental benefits. DOE 2 modeling of various alternatives was used to evaluate thermal improvements. The over 900 windows in the building are used to maximize natural lighting of the spaces while the white reflective TPO roofing was used to minimize heat island effect and to reduce load. A direct digital control system provides setback and monitoring of the HVAC units. Waste heat from kitchen refrigeration will be input into the heat pump water loop. Photocells in the classrooms will turn off lights when natural light is present.
For additional examples of our work - please click on the Projects tab at the top of this page.
To learn more about how to operate with a smaller carbon footprint or provide a healthier work environment, to learn about other green building efforts in Pittsburgh, or other great resources, please visit:
Or, for more information, contact Ernie Sota at firstname.lastname@example.org.Sota Construction Services Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.