White clouds on a bright blue summer sky, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Horia Varlan’s photostream

Mayor joins national, state and local leaders to discuss city support for sustainable industry

PITTSBURGH, PA (July 31, 2014) – A roundtable discussion today at Mayor William Peduto’s office will underscore Pittsburgh’s leading role in the growing Clean Technology industry, and include presentations by national, state and local leaders.

Clean technology is where business solutions intersect with environmental challenges. Among other things it is the study of how energy systems can be created that provide reduced or no carbon impact, or how building materials can improve efficiency and costs while reducing pollutants or supply chain impacts.

Mayor Peduto’s roundtable will discuss best practices in clean tech and seek additional ways city government can support its growth.

“Pittsburgh is becoming a clean energy and sustainable manufacturing hub. There is a great opportunity here for the city to grow and develop more sustainable practices, procurement and manufacturing that will be known the world over,” Mayor Peduto said.

Participants and their subject areas include: Phipps Conservatory Executive Director Richard Piacentini, on green buildings and materials; Stan Caldwell, associate director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic 21 Initiative, on connecting university talent to the local community; Kim Kipin-McDonald, head of Sustainability North America for Bayer Material Science, on corporate manufacturing and sustainability; WindStax founder Ron Gdovic, on local clean tech manufacturing; and Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Deb Gross, on neighborhoods and clean tech companies.

EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin and State Senator Matt Smith will be in attendance and providing remarks on federal and state initiatives. The roundtable is the latest one on innovative Pittsburgh businesses hosted in conjunction with Business Forward and the White House Business Council.

“Business leaders are already working to become more sustainable because they’ve found it reduces costs over the long haul.” said Jim Doyle, president of Business Forward. “At today’s roundtable, the mayor will hear from some of the best experts about how companies and states can work together to reduce energy usage. Regions where business leaders and policymakers work closely together, like Pittsburgh, will have a competitive advantage.”

“The future demands we work together to turn the challenges of limited resources, pollution, and a changing climate into the basis for a strong, sustainable economy,” said Garvin. “With these environmental challenges comes tremendous opportunities for private sector innovation.”

“Sustainable development and manufacturing and clean tech have a vital role to play in the ongoing revitalization of the Pittsburgh region and in jump-starting the economy of the entire Commonwealth. We need to invest in forward-thinking, sustainability-focused technologies to continue growing our regional economy, which is why I’ve introduced proposals to encourage the continued development of this industry in Pennsylvania,” said Senator Smith.

“In the midst of a region where alternative energy is considered natural gas instead of coal, Pittsburgh can make a choice,” Gdovic said. “We can choose to be remembered as a seething cauldron of entrepreneurship a century ago and there is comfort there. Or we can embrace and nurture businesses that will lead us into an inevitable future of renewable energy.”

“Bayer MaterialScience is in the business of providing materials and solutions that promote sustainability and energy efficiency, said Kipin-McDonald, of Bayer Material Science. “ As Pittsburgh is home to our North American headquarters, we are committed to our role in Clean Tech partnerships. We’re convinced that collaborative efforts toward technology development and overall efficiency will yield major advances for the city.”

The roundtable comes as Pittsburgh is hosting one of four hearings nationally on proposed EPA regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Pittsburgh is poised to become a leader in new energy production, and the Mayor studied such methods first-hand while attending a German sustainability conference in May.

“Our collective challenge with climate change will require collaboration and cooperation. That is why I led the charge to create the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan in 2007,” the Mayor said. “Since then we’ve made strides but the world changes, the climate is changing , and we must adapt to continue to progress.”

Following a June session on the Maker movement, today’s event will be the second of four roundtables the Mayor is hosting this summer highlighting innovative organizations in the city of Pittsburgh. On Aug. 6 he will hold another on co-working and accelerator spaces. On Aug. 13 he will hold a roundtable on startups.

Due to space constraints the 2 p.m. session is not open to the public, but will be broadcast live on the City Cable Channel (Comcast 13/Verizon 44). Staff will be live-tweeting from the event at @PghIP.