The Sustainability Leadership Lab

Continuing a Legacy of Green Building Leadership

Shift mindsets, foster collaboration, cultivate leadership, and drive change in the built environment community.

Green Building Alliance is catalyzing our region’s next generation of sustainability leaders through an intensive professional development cohort. Architects, engineers, contractors, developers,?product manufacturers,?building owners, and community?leaders?will learn to advocate for healthy and high performing places, while leveraging their collective skills to solve the region’s most pressing challenges. From?sustainability decision-making?analysis?to communications training?to?social equity investigations, participants will learn to translate a passion for sustainability into practice.?Through this Lab, our goal is to drive change in the built environment community toward justice, compassion, and environmental well-being.?

The Lab will provide deep, immersive learning by combining lectures, experiences and activities. Participants will be exposed to both theory and practice, while gaining insight into local projects ?and ?people that?offer real-life examples of topics covered. We will launch with a retreat, and then continue with intensive monthly workshops.?Workshops?will?include?lectures?by?local experts,?building tours (which may be done virtually under COVID-19), and solo and group activities.


  • Align Your Goals and Values: Refine your personal and professional goals, clarify your purpose, and align your daily work with your guiding values.?
  • Amplify your Voice: Articulate your perspective with confidence and practice challenging the status quo. You’ll learn how to engage project and company leadership.
  • Share Your Talents: Apply your skills, knowledge, and background to the questions explored in the cohort. Learn from your fellow participants and offer your own ideas to the conversation.?
  • Build your Network: Create a strong community of change makers across sectors through deepened personal and professional relationships. They may become your mentors, partners, and even future colleagues.?
  • Analyze the System: Learn to evaluate the impact of the built environment on both nature and people, identify connections and leverage points, and evaluate quantitative and qualitative benefits of sustainability.?


  • “This was the first professional experience where I could personally relate to the people around me who had similar goals and vision for the future – I didn’t know that existed and I feel lucky to have been able to work and think through big ideas with this group of change agents!”?
  • “Other learning programs combine multiple schools of thought to ‘create’ community. With Sustainability Leadership Lab, there is already a basis for community, so all that needs done is building stronger, more meaningful connections that will follow throughout our careers.”?
  • “Gaining insight through different personal and professional lenses gave me a new perspective on approaching new projects.”?
  • “Learning more about the dynamic communities and projects happening in Pittsburgh and meeting such dedicated and giving leaders was so valuable!”?

Given the multidisciplinary nature of the built environment, the program will balance representation from diverse sectors, positions, and backgrounds.?Firms and corporations already committed to sustainability are encouraged to?use this Lab to?train the next generation of their staff, while organizations with developing interest should nominate a lead advocate?to?participate. We encourage everyone to apply, from independent consultants to large corporations, from emerging to more seasoned professionals.


October 16: Aligning Passion with Purpose (Opening Retreat)
November 20: Sustainability and Equity Frameworks
December 18: Social Equity in the Built Environment
January 15: Sustainability Decision-Making
February 19: Communicating the Benefits of Sustainability
March 19: Systems and Interconnections
April 16: Self Reflection and Project Time
May 14: Project Presentations, Graduation, and Group Reflection
*Note: Schedule and workshop content are subject to slight change.

Participants?who are accepted into the program must be available for all the scheduled workshops. Any?major conflicts with the schedule can be discussed?during the application process.?Everyone is expected to actively participate in each workshop, and?we request that?employers support employee participation in this program by providing time for them to truly engage. Some homework and reading will be assigned throughout, and participants will also work on a project, however we try to keep outside time requirements to a minimum.

Under normal circumstances, the Participation Fee is $2,500. However in light of COVID-19, it will be greatly reduced for the 2020-2021 cohort to $800 per participant for the following reasons:

  • We recognize that people and companies have less discretionary spending than normal due to this difficult time for our economy
  • This cohort is typically hosted in-person but during this time of social distancing, we will host most or all of it virtually
  • The Participant Fee usually includes an opening retreat at Gateway Lodge but our opening retreat this year will either be done locally (socially distanced) or virtually

Payment plans can be made available as needed and we also offer a sliding scale for participants who may need scholarships.

Past participants of this program have joined us from the following companies and organizations:

  • AE7 Architects
  • Branding Brand
  • City of Pittsburgh
  • Conservation Consultants, Inc.
  • FedEx Ground
  • Floura Teeter Landscape Architects
  • GBBN Architects
  • International Living Future Institute
  • Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance
  • Mascaro Construction Company
  • West Bethlehem Township
  • WTW Architects
  • Sports & Exhibition Authority

Applications will be accepted and reviewed through?September 18?and applicants?will be notified of their acceptance into the program by October 2 at the latest. When you apply for the program, please hold the dates listed above so you will be available if you are selected. We try to keep this cohort to an intimate size and may have limited openings per profession (to ensure a multidisciplinary group). ??

If you are interested in participating in the Sustainability Leadership Lab, please complete an application below by September 18.