Green Event Destinations: Pittsburgh Paves the Way for Sustainability

July 5, 2022

If thoughts of Pittsburgh still evoke visions of a gritty, industrial steel town, then it’s time to pay a visit and have your misconceptions changed! Within the last several decades, this revitalized metropolis has undergone a dramatic transformation that has made it one of the cleanest, most environmentally friendly places in the nation.  

Named one of the most livable cities in the U.S. as well as a top 10 U.S. cities for green-certified building spaces, Pittsburgh is not only a friendly destination boasting a beautiful skyline, sparkling rivers, stunning architecture and a bustling arts, culture, sports and environmental scene but also a dynamic meetings and trade show destination offering a plethora of world-class hotels, meetings venues and cultural attractions suitable for event groups of all shapes and sizes. 

Here are some of the city’s most popular and uber-sustainable venues and attractions to consider when planning your next trade show or event in “The City of Bridges.”

David L. Lawrence Convention Center 

Known for its marketing tagline of “If you want to have a green meeting, all you have to do is show up,” the Platinum LEED-certified David L. Lawrence Convention Center (DLCC) was designed to reduce the use of natural resources and operate at the highest green potential. Opened in 2004, the facility is not only the first convention center to achieve Platinum certification under the Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system, it’s the first convention center in the U.S. to have both “New Construction” and “Existing Building” certifications.

DLCC Rooftop Terrace

Featuring stunning architecture that includes 53 meeting rooms, 313,400 square feet of exhibit space, a 31,610 sq.-ft. ballroom, spacious interiors flooded with natural light, expansive terraces and balconies, a 20,000-sq.ft. green roof with a hydroponics greenhouse and rooftop garden, along with a sustainably minded F&B program, this 1.5 million sq. ft. high-tech facility has all the operations in place to produce an environmentally friendly event. 

In June, the venue unveiled its newly renovated fourth-floor Rooftop Terrace, offering more than 35,000 sq. ft. of flexible outdoor space for groups of up to 400 people. Featuring dazzling riverfront and city views, expansive walkways, curated rooftop gardens with native plants, teak seating features and a 688-foot LED tube art installation, this modernized space can suit a range of event groups, from small, intimate gatherings to large business receptions. 

The Garden Room at the National Aviary

The Garden Room at National Aviary

Featuring views of Allegheny Commons Park and Lake Elizabeth, The Garden Room is a new LEED-Gold certified venue within the National Aviary, the nation’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated to birds. Offering state-of-the-art sustainability features, it includes bird-safe glass to protect wildlife and stunning views of the historic Rose Garden, as well as eye-catching, light-refracting skylights that reduce energy consumption. 

Able to comfortably accommodate up to 175 guests, the space offers industry-leading accessibility features including a family restroom and an adult changing table nearby, as well as ramp access to the Rose Garden. Additionally, event guests can feel good about hosting events at The Garden Room, as their spend helps support the National Aviary’s mission to inspire respect for nature through an appreciation of birds.

Rivers of Steel Explorer Riverboat 

Rivers of Steel Explorer Riverboat 

Designed and built to LEED standards and docked on the North Shore near the headwaters of the Ohio River, the Explorer is the world’s first green passenger riverboat offering a range of sightseeing tours designed to immerse guests in the beauty and history of Pittsburgh from its majestic rivers. Groups can choose a custom route for their event or host a private sightseeing tour led by a Rivers of Steel guide along all three of Pittsburgh’s rivers: the Ohio, the Monongahela and the Allegheny. Plus, groups can feel great knowing that all charter proceeds help underwrite Rivers of Steel’s STEM-based education programs for students throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.

Energy Innovation Center

Energy Innovation Center 

Located in Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District, The Energy Innovation Center is a Pittsburgh-based non-profit with a mission to engage corporate and community leaders, align workforce development and education, develop and demonstrate technology and incubate businesses to support emerging clean and sustainable energy markets. Completely renovated following LEED Platinum sustainability design guidelines, the historic 200,000-sq.-ft. building offers four unique spaces for event groups, including the 2,000-sq.-ft. Covestro Brightspace that offers spectacular views of downtown Pittsburgh.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Located just a few miles from downtown Pittsburgh, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is one of the world’s greenest public gardens that encompasses 15 acres, including a 14-room glasshouse and 23 distinct gardens. A recognized leader in sustainability, it features LEED-certified and energy-efficient buildings and plentiful spaces suitable for eventsof all shapes and sizes. These include the Special Events Hall with bamboo flooring, energy-efficient lighting systems and eco-friendly shading that is suitable for up to 350 people; the 24,350-sq. ft. Center for Sustainable Landscapes, one of the greenest buildings in the world; and the 12,000-sq. ft. Tropical Forest Conservatory. 

Tree Pittsburgh

Tree Pittsburgh Riverfront Room

As an environmental non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing community vitality by restoring and protecting the urban forest through tree planting and care, education, advocacy and land conservation, Tree Pittsburgh is an uber-sustainable campus powered by solar energy. Located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood, the property also offers the Riverfront Room on the Allegheny, a flexible, sustainably designed meeting and event space suitable for up to 70 guests that features views of the Allegheny River and a tree-lined courtyard.


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