2019 Groundbreaker Awards - See Photos Below!

Wed, 9/25/2019 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Comcast Technology Center, 1800 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Submit a nomination for 2020!

Green Building United provides an open call for nominations every year for the Groundbreaker Awards.  Check back in late Summer / early Fall 2020 and submit a nomination to recognize built projects and/or community leadership in sustainability and green building!

2019 Event Overview

The Groundbreaker Awards recognizes and celebrates green building leadership, innovation, and impact in greater Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, and Delaware. 

Green Building United will highlight both built projects and community leadership moving our region towards a sustainable, healthy, and resilient built environment. Projects can be new construction or renovations; commercial or residential; exteriors, interiors, and/or sites, but must have been completed within the past three years and be located within our region. Community leadership in the past has included individuals, community partnerships, organizations, and unique community projects (i.e. The PHFA Project, The Rail Park). 

Miss the event? Check out the recap!

Event Details


Comcast Technology Center, 1800 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

About Comcast Technology Center

The newly opened 60-story, 1,121-foot Comcast Technology Center is the latest addition to their vertical campus, joining the Comcast Center, their global headquarters, 2 Logan, 3 Logan and Centre Square, in the heart of Philadelphia.  The Comcast Center is LEED Gold certified, and the Comcast Technology Center is on track to achieve LEED Platinum certification—the U.S. Green Building Council's highest sustainability designation.


Date and Time:

Wed, 09/25/2019 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Join industry leaders and advocates to celebrate green building leadership, innovation, and impact in the greater Philadelphia region!

Tickets are SOLD OUT.
Walk- Ins will not be permitted by venue.

Member-discounted pricing available. 
(Want to become a member? Join here!)

Green Building United Members: $125

Non-Members: $200 (Want to become a member? Join here!)

Please know that sponsorship and ticket sales help to support the year round work and mission of Green Building United!  We greatly appreciate your support!

What to Expect:

The Groundbreaker Awards includes an open bar, passed hors d'oeurves, dinner and dessert.  The evening is for celebration and networking, and is not a formal sit-down dinner.  Attire is business casual, business or cocktail.

Doors open at 6:00 pm.  Registered guests must bring a government issued photo ID for entrance.  Guests will be admitted through the building turnstiles on the second floor lobby starting at 6:00 pm.

A 40 - 45 minute Awards Ceremony will begin at 7:30pm to recognize Groundbreaker Award recipients.  Presentation boards will be on display for all community leadership awardees and project finalists.

There will be a self-serve coat check available for your convenience, but we advise that you keep any valuables with you at the event, as Green Building United is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Travel Logistics and Parking:

The Comcast Technology Center is at 1800 Arch Street in downtown Philadelphia and easily accessible by foot from many downtown office buildings. 

If traveling by public transit, It is accessible underground or above ground from Suburban Station.

If traveling by car, there are many nearby parking garages with evening rates.


Hors d'Oeuvres - 

  • Black Bean, Cheddar, and Jalapeno Empanadas with Tomatillo Dip (Veg)
  • Paella Croquettes with Spanish Romesco Sauce (V)
  • Charred Corn, Poblano, and Manchego Empanadas (Veg)
  • Watermelon, Feta Crema, Aged Balsamic, and Micro Basil (Veg, GF)
  • Sofrito Salsa and Tostones with Plantain Chips (V, GF)


Main Entrees and Salads -

  • Loaded Chicken, Cheese, and Avocado Quesadillas
  • Loaded Avocado Quesadillas (V)
  • Vegetable Paella (V, GF)
  • Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing (V, GF)
  • Taco Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinagrette (Veg/V)
  • Tropical Spanish Fruit Salad with Papayas, Mango, Pineapple, Strawberries, Orange, and Lemon (V, GF)


Desserts - 

  • Chocolate Panna Cotta with Spiced Pepita Brittle (Veg, GF)
  • Spanish Rice Pudding Mousse (V)
  • Lemon Magdelenas (V)


V- Vegan 
Veg- Vegetarian
GF- Gluten Free

Thank you to our Sponsors

2019 Host Committee

Adam Cutler
Fern Gookin
Patrick Gray 
Alex Grella
Kim Ilardi
Aishu Katta-Adiseshaiah
Christa Kraftician
Anne Larsson
Elizabeth Larsson 
Patricia Marts
Daniel Marut
Scott Mazo 
Michael Pavelsky
Lizanne Pepin
Madeline Schuh 
Ryan Spies
Dr. Dan J. Tisak
Jonathan Weiss  

2019 Awardees and Finalists

We are pleased to announce the Community Leadership Awardees as well as Project Finalists. Project winners will be announced the night of the event!! 

erin loch 2019 groundbreaker awardee 01

Community Leadership Awardee: Erin Loch

Upper Dublin High School, 800 Loch Alsh Avenue, Fort Washington, PA 19034

Erin is an environmental science teacher at Upper Dublin High School who has crafted an initiative to teach students about sustainable design through the lens of the Living Building Challenge in a project based learning model in collaboration with real-world professionals from the Green Building United community. Courageous, innovative, and agile, she has created a replicable learning model which has impacted all who have touched the initiative. Her students have fallen in love learning and nature and have been inspired to a call to action for sustainability. The volunteers who have witnessed the transformation of the children are inspired themselves to move beyond their own work to continue to educate others. The educators and administrators who have observed the class and the results are seeking ways to expand the initiative and participate themselves. Parents are grateful for the spark of learning and purpose being ignited in their children.

united by blue flagship store 2019 groundbreaker awards finalist 01 01

Community Leadership Awardee: United By Blue

205 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

United By Blue's Flagship is a physical manifestation of their brand. Their commitment to the environment and sustainability is not only seen in their buildout, but in everything that the company does. For 10 years, United By Blue has been making products with sustainable fabric and manufacturers with a focus on their mission: For every product purchased, United By Blue removes 1 pound of trash from our world's oceans and waterways. The company organizes and hosts beach and waterway cleanups across Philadelphia and the rest of the country on an ongoing basis to the tune of: 48 states cleaned, 1.7mm pounds of trash removed, and over 13,000 volunteers engaged.

1800 arch street 2019 groundbreaker awards finalist 01 01
italian market passive house 2019 groundbreaker awards finalist 01

Project Awardee: 1800 Arch Street

1800 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Also known as the Comcast Technology Center, 1800 Arch Street is a 60-story, 1,121-foot high vertically integrated mixed-use development located in the heart of Center City Philadelphia. The project encompasses over 1.3 million rentable square feet of open plan offices, a 219-room Four Seasons Hotel together with four public restaurants, and associated ballroom and meeting facilities, broadcast studios, and other uses. Situated virtually atop the regions mass transit system, 1800 Arch is a transit-oriented development housing over 4,000 technology workers, yet contains parking for only 55 vehicles.   

The project has been designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification for Core & Shell, as well as interiors. It also incorporates a state-of-the-art chilled beam mechanical system, automated solar oriented shading, as well as passive shading devices incorporated into the building facade. 

Project Awardee: Italian Market Passive House

827 Carpenter Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Philadelphia’s first PHIUS+ Certified Zero Energy Ready Passive House is a unique hybrid home built atop a warehouse in the Italian Market. The approach combines creative design, building science expertise, construction skills, and dogged faithfulness to the sustainability goals. The "loose-fit" design includes future adaptability - a possible return to mercantile use at street-level, a future aging-in-place elevator, infrastructure to support solar panels, green roof, and roof decks with space to grow carbon. 

The sculptural sunshade’s tree pattern inspired by the owner’s honeymoon memories animates the façade and the interior with shadow play. It shades the double height space in summer and admits free heat during the winter. The sunshade is not merely attractive and interesting; it creatively combines inspiration with building science, like the building. It is a visible reminder how we can live in a low-carbon future today. 

parkside edge at centennial commons 2019 groundbreaker awards finalist 01 01 01

Project Awardee: Parkside Edge at Centennial Commons 

Parkside Avenue between Belmont Avenue and 41st Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Parkside Edge is the first phase of a transformative park and community involvement project, which creates new neighborhood parklets and green stormwater infrastructure, beautifies the edge of Parkside Avenue in Philadelphia, and creates new (and safer) pedestrian and community connections into West Fairmount Park. Ultimately, it goes beyond the typical park project - to revitalize Fairmount Park and create a new national model for civic common spaces, one fully engaged with the community. 

The five-acre site is part of Philadelphia’s Centennial Commons district, the historic site of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. Around it are attractions such as the popular children’s Please Touch Museum, the Japanese House and landscape gardens, and a few blocks away the Philadelphia Zoo. Yet, the site was the “hole in the donut”, an underutilized void and barrier to the park. The site is no longer a void, and as a result more transformations are on the way. 

two liberty place 2019 groundbreaker awards finalist 01 01 01

Project Finalist: 2 Liberty Place Chilled Water Plant

50 South 16th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Two Liberty Place Chilled Water Plant Project entailed the complete redesign and reconstruction of a 4000-ton thermal plant serving a 58-story building, including multi-tenant office, residential condominiums, and restaurant. This project entailed the demolition and removal of two existing 1000-ton chillers and all the cooling towers. Four new YORK hi-efficiency centrifugal chillers and 12 new cooling towers were transported to the 38th floor via the building freight elevators and assembled on site. Additionally, a plate and frame heat exchanger for water-side economizing and a chiller optimization program were installed.

The design/build project was performed on a fast-track schedule and chilled water delivery to the tenants and residents was never interrupted. The project result is a significant (47 percent) energy reduction during the first 10 months of operation.

anthony wayne iii 2019 groundbreaker awards finalist 01 01 01

Project Finalist: Anthony Wayne Senior Housing Phase III

1701 South 28th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145 

Anthony Wayne Senior Housing III will be among the first Passive House certified affordable senior housing facilities in Philadelphia. It is also an exemplary demonstration of public‐private cooperation between Elon Development, the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.

Anthony Wayne Senior Housing III is part of a three‐phased transformative project for its neighborhood and surrounding area in Philadelphia. Features include R‐10 under full slab, continuous exterior insulation, and high density batts in 2x6 stud cavities, spray foam in band joists, R42‐roof, and INTUS triple glazed windows. The project will be certified ENERGY STAR, EGC 2015, and PHIUS+ 2015. 

lafayette college risc 2019 groundbreaker awards finalist 01 01

Project Finalist: Lafayette College Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center

746 High Street, Easton, PA  18042

In Fall 2019, Lafayette College will open its largest capital project in history: the 103,000-square-foot, five-story Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center, which embodies Lafayette’s commitment to sustainability and innovation. Biology, Computer Science, Environmental Science & Studies, and The Dyer Center (a co-curricular program promoting student creativity through innovation and entrepreneurship) will move into teaching and research laboratories, greenhouse spaces, flexible classrooms, and large collaborative spaces to enhance interdisciplinary inspiration. Targeting LEED Platinum certification, Rockwell will require substantially less energy than similar academic buildings as the energy consumption benchmark for the building is 49 percent below that of peer science buildings. Sustainable features include filtered green hoods in laboratories, heat recovery enthalpy wheel, air quality monitoring, high efficiency chillers, natural ventilation, and an efficient envelope.

stemmler hall 2019 groundbreaker awards finalist 01 01 01 01

Project FInalist: Stemmler Hall

3450 Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Stemmler hall, a massive 230,000-square-foot building in the heart of Penn’s medical campus, has provided a space for inspiring research to take place and for students to learn since it was built in 1978. As time progressed and needs changed, the useful life of the building’s major mechanical systems and infrastructure declined beyond reasonable repair nearly 35 years after it was built.

The University, employing the latest technological advances, decided to repurpose and upgrade the building's infrastructure and mechanical components. The completely renovation has yielded a state of the art flexible research building, complete with lab space, classrooms and administrative offices. Serving a wide variety of the medical campus' needs, Stemmler Hall has risen to be one of the most energy efficient research buildings on the Penn’s campus. With sustainability in mind, this renovation is in-line with Penn’s vision and goals as outlined in their sustainability plan 3.0.

strawberry mansion apartments 2019 groundbreaker awards finalist 01 01 01

Project Finalist: Strawberry Mansion Apartments

3235 West Berks Street, Philadelphia, PA 19121

The Strawberry Mansion Apartments complement the ongoing revitalization of the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood in North Philadelphia. The goals and objectives for the development include, but are not limited to, To: develop sustainable housing; maintain a supply of affordable housing in a gentrifying neighborhood through public/private investment; and improve safety in the community. 

The development is a certified LEED for Homes “Smart Site Selection Site” for residential infill. The site has flow-through planters and retention basins for storm water management. Strawberry Mansion Apartments are designed with sustainability and low energy usage in mind, with Energy Star rated appliances and mechanical equipment, and compact fluorescent bulbs throughout. The units are built to Energy Star 3.0 standards and Enterprise Green Communities 2015 criteria for new construction. 

Interested in last year's event?  

View information about the 2018 Groundbreaker Awards awardees and finalists and our program.  See photos from last year's event!

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