Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and MuseumLab are located on the largest cultural campus for children and families in the country.

Being Green

At Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh became one of the largest Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified museums in the country in 2006, on the heels of a major expansion which included the renovation of the adjacent former Buhl Planetarium. The project’s design and construction practices used sustainable principles such as water conservation, energy management, waste management, reusing resources emphasizing the use of recycled materials and improving indoor air quality. A significant percentage of the wood used was from sustainable forests, over 50% of all materials were locally manufactured and/or harvested, and the contractors recycled 50–75% of building materials. Reusable building systems such as doors, handrails, light fixtures, and marble panels were salvaged and made available for resale to the general public through a unique partnership with Construction Junction.

Green features of the Museum include:

  • 100% renewable energy for electricity
  • Demonstration photo voltaic (solar energy) system that powers the balloon lighting of the Big Red Room Café
  • A 9’ x 12’ vegetated roof
  • Use of adhesives, sealants, paints, carpets and composite wood that are certified formaldehyde free and produce near zero-level off gassing
  • Dual flush toilets, low flow urinals and aerators at all faucets
  • Proximity to public transportation
  • Provisions for bicycle parking for employees and visitors

Learn more about our expansion by reading LEED Building Features and Construction Cost Analysis by Mascaro Construction Company and Perkins Eastman Architects PC in the PDF below.

At MuseumLab

Our newest building, located in the adjacent former Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny opened in 1890, was awarded Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Certification in April 2020, coinciding with its one-year anniversary of opening to the public. MuseumLab achieved this by implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions in areas including sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. Through design, construction and operations practices that improve environmental and human health, LEED-certified buildings are helping to make the world more sustainable.

Outside

The Garden

This outdoor exhibit adjacent to the Museum’s main entrance was built using reclaimed chimney liners and wood, and includes a rain barrel system and demonstration compost bin. Learn about the programs and other features of the Garden.

The Permaculture Garden

This garden, located outside the Café doors, was designed to mimic natural systems in order to maximize sustainability and productivity and minimize upkeep. It features blueberry, elderberry and currant bushes, Paw Paw trees and a variety of native flowers and medicinal and edible herbs.

Learn more through Pittsburgh Permaculture.

The Permaculture Garden is funded by the Alcoa Foundation.

Awards
  • Preservation PA’s Historic Preservation Award for MuseumLab — Construction Project, Rehabilitation, 2020
  • Green Building Alliance Vanguard Award, 2020
  • Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFUTURE) Platinum Green Power Award, 2008, for purchasing 100% electricity from renewable energy sources, including wind and hydro power.
  • Western PA Environmental Award, 2008, for educational and institutional efforts to promote green practices and messages.
  • Green Building Alliance Shades of Green Leadership, 2006, awarded to Children’s Museum Executive Director Jane Werner as a leader who helped transform the Pittsburgh region into a more sustainable place to live and work.
Buhl Community Park

Buhl Community Park at Allegheny Square, a revitalized community resource for Pittsburgh’s Northside, sits in front of the Children’s Museum.

The park features a central plaza with tables and chairs, a large meadow with native grasses, benches, natural bluestone walls for seating, rain gardens for storm water mitigation, bike racks and drinking fountains for both visitors and pets.

The centerpiece of the park is Cloud Arbor,  public art by artist Ned Kahn, which emits a cloud of mist that cools off visitors in the summer months.  Cloud Arbor was made possible through a gift from the Charity Randall Foundation.