BlogLeft ArrowRight ArrowBackPreviousNextCloseLocationMenuSearchFacebookGoogle PlusLinkedInTwitterYoutube

Pashek + MTR becomes WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise

Pashek + MTR is proud to announce that we are now officially certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). WBENC’s national standard of certification requires a meticulous process, including an in depth review of business records and an on-site interview, to confirm that a business is at least 51% owned, operated, controlled, and managed by women (Pashek + MTR is currently 70% women-owned).  WBE certification allows us to assist our clients in achieving their diversity goals.  We’re proud to have women at the highest levels of management of our firm with Principals Missy Marshall, Nancy Lonnett Roman, Sara Thompson, and Kara Roggenkamp.

Pashek + MTR is an award-winning landscape architecture and community planning studio committed to improving our environment and the communities we serve.  A 2017 merger of Pashek Associates and MTR Landscape Architects joined two highly regarded, established firms based in Pittsburgh, PA. We present our clients with an expansive skill set that includes play spaces, parks and recreation, institutional site design, community planning, sustainable site design, and public and private gardens.

Going from Green to Greener… and Winning Gold!

2014-GWCbadge-Small_BusinessesThe Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge (GWC) awarded Pashek Associates first place in a competition to put sustainable practices into action in the workplace. The Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge is a yearlong competition for organizations to track and measure performance in energy, water, waste and transportation initiatives. The competition encourages businesses, municipalities, universities and non-profits of all sizes to strive to become increasingly green.

Competing in the small business category, Pashek Associates racked up 659 points, spurred in friendly competition with another design firm, evolve:EA, which collected 642 points and finished in second place. evolve:EA took first place last year, and our two firms pushed each other even more this year, trading the lead repeatedly in the last few weeks. FedEx Ground won in the large business category, and DMI Companies took first in the medium business category.

Together, all the GWC competitors saved enough energy to power 3,308 average U.S. homes for a year (or $3.02 million in cost savings). The competitors saved as much water as is typically used by 57 U.S. households in a year.

“Pashek Associates was excited to compete in the GWC for the second year in a row,” the firm’s VP of Sustainability, Sara Thompson, said. “We are even more excited to be invited to join the team of Pittsburgh companies now entering the ENERGY STAR National Building Competition to battle it out against other cities from around the country.”

photo-smallTo compete in the GWC, businesses and other organizations had to demonstrate and document their efforts to use fewer resources, conserve that which was used, and educate colleagues on ways to become ever greener. This is done by reviewing a guidebook listing dozens of specific ways to operate with sustainable practices. Pashek Associates’ strategy was to reduce water consumption and continue efforts to seal up our building envelope, Thompson said. Now the company is looking ahead to the next round. “Though the competition is over, we are about to start the process of upgrading to more efficient lighting,” Thompson said.

We hope our friends and followers out there will consider joining the next round of competition. Keep an eye on www.gwcpgh.org for an announcement about the 2014-15 contest.

Breathing Our Air: What We Can do to Improve the Worst Air Quality in the Nation

image-of-cars-on-28-for-breathe-article-e1374496089672-225x300Pittsburgh has some of the worst air pollution in the country. Even more troubling, while other cities with bad air pollution are improving their air quality, Pittsburgh is not advancing nearly as quickly. These were just some of the alarming statistics that announce loud and clear that we need to change the way we live.Marily Nixon, Breathe Project Coordinator for the Heinz Endowments presented some sobering news at the launch of the Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge at the Pittsburgh Zoo on Wednesday, June 26. She touched on ways each of us can make a difference as we work together to turn the tide and begin reducing toxic particles in our air.

Her presentation got us thinking about our efforts at Pashek Associates and in our homes to reduce our reliance on energy that pollutes our air. Many of us can break our well entrenched habits and try to walk or bike to an errand nearby, to commute by bike or to carpool to work, and for some of us, consider a hybrid or all electric car the next time we buy an auto. But all of us can unplug our computers when we do not us them, turn off the lights when we are not in the room, plant a tree and buy locally grown products. Less demand on energy means less pollution. It is as simple as that and we need to begin now in doing our part. If we all do, we will breathe easier.

To learn more about the Breathe Project and what steps you can take to improve our air quality go to their website at www.breatheproject.org.

In Pittsburgh, Green is in the Air

It’s summer and that means the City is green with trees.  Not only are plants in the midst of their growing season, but people are in the midst of launching green initiatives.  Last week we attended a poster  session during the Who’s Who in Green Infrastructure Implementation event hosted by the Green Building Alliance and organized by 3 Rivers Wet Weather.  The event was packed with people interested in sharing their projects and learning more about green infrastructure.

We brought along information on several of our green roof, green school, and green park projects.  At an elementary school in New Castle we were able to reduce the amount of stormwater piping and decrease the size of underground storage tanks through a combination of planted meadow areas, rain gardens, pervious overflow parking and fire lane, and a series of vegetated swales.
Y:New Castle Lockley Elementary School - 10029Rendering Bases
For Whitehall Road Regional Park in Centre County, we are pulling out all the green stops by including rain gardens, steep slopes with meadows, vegetated buffer strips, infiltration trenches, and cisterns.  In addition, 44% of the total parking spaces are stabilized turf, which further reduces the amount of stormwater runoff.
Whitehall Road MP NO Buildings rev TJ
Our last poster featured our designs for the David Lawrence Convention Center green roof, the Allegheny County Office Building green roof, and the rain gardens at Seven Springs.
GIN-Mixer-Board-3-Custom-1024x731

This morning over 80 people packed a Pittsburgh Zoo conference room to kick-off this year’s Green Workplace Challenge (GWC), a program of Sustainable Pittsburgh.  We took part last year in the challenge and are excited to enter again this year with the revamped program.

This year’s GWC promises to be bigger, better, and have an even larger environmental impact than last year.  There are more points to acquire, more actions to take, and more resources available to help guide your business, non-profit, university, or municipality towards becoming more sustainable as well as saving money.
Last year we saved 19.9% on our energy usage without spending a lot of money.  This year we want to reduce our energy usage even further by tightening up our building envelope.  We will also start to phase out our older lighting with new highly efficient lighting.  We highly recommend any organization in Southwestern Pennsylvania sign up for this friendly competition before the deadline on July 31st, 2013.  Good luck to all participants.  Together, we can make a huge impact!

Pashek Associates Sustainability Policy

As Landscape Architects, Community Planners, and Parks and Recreation Practitioners, we have long been in the business of working with natural processes, improving efficiencies, and developing innovative ideas for the pashek associates think greengood of the community. We have continually searched for the most sustainable solutions in design and planning. We believe it is the right thing to do.

As a firm, we strive to become sustainable through the following actions:

  • Promote sustainability through design and planning

– Spec sustainable products that are durable, reusable, recyclable, made with recycled content, use less packaging, and/or made from renewable resources.

– Use stormwater Best Management Practices.

– Use smart growth, transit oriented development, and other sustainable strategies in community planning and urban design.

– Protect and/or restore the environment by designing with ecological and natural processes in mind

– Use other sustainable sites principles found in LEED and the Sustainable Sites Initiative

  • Use a democratic design and planning process to support the needs of whole communities

– Ensure that all meeting participants are equally heard regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or age

  • Educate our clients and friends about the importance of sustainability

– Promote sustainable design solutions to clients by educating about their benefits

  • Implement sustainable actions in the workplace and at home in our communities

– Follow the Pashek Associates’ sustainable office policies in order to reduce energy, water, air pollution, and waste.

– Set an example in our individual neighborhoods / communities by following the same policies at home.

Pashek Asscoiates is building a culture of responsibility that encourages every employee to ask the questions that lead to more sustainable processes and practices, and help our firm support a sustainable future.

Pashek Associates Receives ZIP GOLD Certification

Zero Waste Pittsburgh’s ZIP Certification Program is a project of the Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC).  ZIP is intended to encourage, reward and acknowledge organizations that have taken important steps towards reducing the waste they produce through recycling, composting and source reduction measures.

ZIPLogo-Gold-258x300

Pashek Associates attained GOLD Certification by:

  • Recycling everything from paper and cardboard to batteries, florescent bulbs, and printer cartridges
  • Buying products that include recycled content and/or from renewable resources
  • Educating employees about the benefits of recycling
  • Composting all food waste
  • Reducing or eliminating single use beverage containers and serviceware
Any business, organization, or even event can become ZIP certified.  Zero Waste Pittsburgh also offers assistance in developing a waste reduction program.  We encourage any business, organization, or event to look into becoming ZIP certified. For more information about the ZIP program or waste reduction resources check out their website.

Waste Reduction Strategies

One of the benefits of competing in the Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge is the informative workshops that are offered to participants.  The workshops are focused on helping participants learn new sustainable solutions, network with like-minded people, and connect with those who can help implement the solutions.

A couple of weeks ago, Sara Thompson, Pashek’s Sustainability Coordinator, attended a workshop on Waste Reduction Strategies.  Waste reduction is important because Americans produce 250 million tons of trash in a year, but only recycle or compost 34 % or 85 million tons.  This means that 164.8million tons are discarded in landfills or incinerated.  Considering that these numbers do not even include industrial, hazardous, or construction waste, imagine how much waste we could actually be diverting from landfills and incinerators.  Click here for more waste and recycling stats for 2010 form the EPA.
Agrecycle-300x88
Carla Castagnero, President of Agrecycle, explained how her company recycles and reuses natural materials to enhance soils and foster plant growth using composting techniques.  Did you know that about 60% of what we throw away is organic and can be composted?  Agrecycle picks up organic materials, such as paper products, cardboard, and food scraps from offices, restaurants, cafeterias, and grocery stores and turns it into compost using 100% natural methods.  Their compost products are used as soil amendments for everything from growing edible and ornamental plants to preventing drought and soil erosion and even remediating brownfield sites.
RecLogo
Kurt Duska of EngineeredPlastics Inc. described how his company recycles one million pounds of mostly pre-consumer plastic products a month into new plastic products.  Kurt mentioned that every one ton of plastic recycled diverts 16.3 barrels of oil.  That means that Engineered Plastics is diverting 8,150 barrels of oil every month.
eloopLogo.jpg
According to Ned Eldridge of eLoop, electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world.  The pace of new technologies is outpacing the sustainable and ethical disposal of old technologies.  eLoop recycles anything with a cord on it in addition to wireless electrics from calculators to cell phones.
cropped-header15-300x90

The PennsylvaniaResources Council (PRC) works as a state and national leader in waste reduction and recycling as well as litter and visual blight prevention, watershed awareness, and composting.  Kyle Winkler, an Environmental Program Coordinator for the PRC, talked about the Zero Waste Pittsburgh program or ZIP.   ZIP was created as a one stop shop for recycling and waste minimization resources and assistance for businesses, institutions, and special events.  Your company, organization, or even special event can become ZIP Certified.  To learn more, check out www.zerowastepgh.org.

We want to also give a shout out to Breen Masciotra, the director of PittsburghCenter for Creative Reuse, who attended the workshop as a participant.  The PCCR promotes resource conservation, creativity, and community engagement through material reuse.  PCCR provides creative reuse programs and their store is a great low-cost resource for teachers, artists, and others seeking unique materials for their creative projects.

Pashek Associates will look to see if Agrecycle can help us recycle our organic wastes, will look into ethically recycling our spent electronic equipment with companies like eLoop, will consider Global Links as another potential resource for donating our used office furniture, and is currently looking into ZIP Certification with the PRC.  In addition, we will now think twice about throwing away product samples since the PCCR accepts donations of architectural and design samples.  We will keep you posted on our progress towards becoming a more sustainable business.

Click here for more information on upcoming workshops or the Green Workplace Challenge.

Pashek Associates Leading the Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge in Small Business Category

Bike-Friendly-Employer-224x300The Pittsburgh Green Workplace challenge enables businesses to participate in a friendly challenge program where they can receive recognition for their sustainable actions and achievements.

Pashek Associates is leading 12 businesses in the small business category (less than 50 people).

According to Valerie Patrick, PhD and Sustainability Coordinator for Bayer Corporation, “sustainability is a way of thinking and applies to every aspect of our work.” We couldn’t agree with her more.

Pashek Associates received points by tracking utility bills using an EPA website, being a bike friendly business, having a Prius for a corporate car, and planting native plants on the roof of their building. Green office policies of using washable cups and recycling also contributed to the firm’s leadership position in the challenge. Next up is an energy audit to begin reducing energy demand and our carbon footprint.

For more information, or if you are interested in signing up for the Challenge, please see the Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge Website.