Carnegie Mellon University

This project consisted of the sensitive renovation of a century-old neo-classical former diocesan home into 21st-century office space for the university. The building contained asbestos, mold and lead paint, and this effort kept a stately building intact, bolstering a key neighborhood asset. Due to CMU’s control of the properties on either side, the buildings will eventually have district energy for heating and cooling.  The project achieved a high LEED Gold level certification.

4721 Exterior View

 Sustainable Sites

  • Highly reflective roof surfaces reduce the heat island effect, while green infrastructure on the site helps reduce water pollution.
  • Oakland’s reliable mass transit makes the project’s carbon footprint for transportation especially low, and this building also provides bicycle parking and a shower for bike commuters.
  • This existing building was rehabilitated into a healthy facility after thorough asbestos abatement. Reusing the existing building reduces emissions associated with manufacturing and transporting new materials, while revitalizing the urban infill site. 
  • It is a historically significant building, and CMU was determined to preserve it as part of the neighborhood.
4721 open floorplan

Energy & Atmosphere

  • Overall, the building uses 32% less energy than a conventional building of similar size and use (calculated by energy cost).
  • All energy use is offset by the purchase renewable energy credits across the University.
  • The building systems went through an enhanced commissioning process to ensure optimal performance from the building mechanical and ventilation systems.
4721 break room

Water Efficiency

  • Low-flow fixtures help the building use over 30% less potable water than a conventional  building of similar size and use.
  • Water efficient landscaping around the site has eliminated the need for irrigation.
4721 conference room


  • Care was taken to reuse as much of the building core and shell as possible.
  • Over 80% of construction waste was diverted from landfills and salvaged for reuse or recycling.
  • The project uses FSC Certified sustainable wood for more than half of the wood-based construction material and 25% recycled content overall for other construction materials.
4721 Interior workspace

Healthy Interiors

  • A healthy environment is maintained through the use of low VOC materials and finishes.
  • The building in operation utilizes a green cleaning program and integrated pest management.
  • A building flush out was performed upon prior to building occupancy.

Team Members

Campus Design and Facility Development worked in conjunction with the following organizations to complete the project: 

Mascaro Construction Corporation, Pittsburgh, PA - Construction Manager
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Pittsburgh, PA - Design Architect
Buro Happold, Pittsburgh, PA - MEP, Structural, and Fire Protection Engineer
Atlantic Engineering Services, Pittsburgh, PA – Structural Engineer
Langan, Canonsburg, PA - Civil Engineer