Pittsburgh, Pa. — Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is pleased to announce that Mayor William Peduto has declared Dec. 7 Richard V. Piacentini Day in the City of Pittsburgh. Recognizing the impressive service of the public garden’s executive director of 20 years, this proclamation honors Piacentini for his role in enriching the community; bolstering quality of life in the region through world-class horticultural display, education, research and sustainability programs; and building one of Earth’s greenest structures, the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL), using local talent and materials.
Helping to sustain, celebrate and advance the many initiatives of one of Pittsburgh’s most beloved cultural treasures since his tenure began in 1994, Piacentini has not only made great strides to revitalize Phipps but also taken the lead on its transformation into a global model of sustainability with the building of the first LEED®-certified visitor center in a public garden, the first LEED-certified greenhouses, and the Tropical Forest Conservatory, the most energy-efficient structure of its kind when it opened in 2006. Phipps’ latest accomplishment resulting from his leadership is the CSL, a net-zero energy and net-zero water facility that has been designed to meet the Living Building Challenge™. Already a recipient of Net Zero Energy Building Certification under the Challenge, LEED Platinum and Four Stars Sustainable Sites Initiative™ certification, it has also become the first institution worldwide to achieve WELL Platinum Pilot Certification — the highest rating awarded by the International WELL Building Institute.
“From the moment I first laid eyes on Phipps two decades ago, I knew it was the place for me. I immediately fell in love with Pittsburgh, too, and have since been proud to call the city home as I raise my family here and continue to do all that I can to advance the region through my service to one of its most renowned historical landmarks,” says Richard V. Piacentini. “I am deeply humbled by and grateful for this honor and would like to thank Mayor William Peduto as well as the Phipps board, staff and volunteers without whose talent and dedication it would never be possible to accomplish all that we do at the Conservatory to promote the well-being of our community and the planet as a whole.”
Founded by philanthropist Henry W. Phipps to serve as “a source of instruction as well as pleasure to the people,” Phipps Conservatory first opened its doors to the public on Dec. 7, 1893, becoming the nation’s first teaching conservatory and the largest, finest glasshouse of its time. Today, Piacentini’s vision not only carries on this tradition of excellence but also makes increasingly greater impacts related to issues of environmental sustainability and healthy living, earning the Conservatory more than 50 awards in recent years for its outstanding programs and forward momentum in creating change. To learn more about the organization’s groundbreaking initiatives, visit phipps.conservatory.org.