Cheers to More than 10 Years of Green Building Celebration!

By Leah Wirgau

Posted October 1, 2018

Last week we hosted another annual green building celebration – and it was a blast!

We gathered for the 2018 Groundbreaker Awards at the beautiful National Museum of American Jewish History overlooking Independence Mall and enjoyed live music, a delectable array of food, and open bar complete with wine sommeliers. More than 250 people packed the room for lively conversation as we gathered together to recognize green building and sustainability leadership in the region. Thanks to everyone who joined us, and to our partners, members, and sponsors for making what we do possible!


Over the years we have had the privilege of honoring many projects, individuals, and organizations spanning our 10-county footprint, all examples of groundbreaking leadership. The people and projects demonstrate our shared commitment to improving health, saving money, and reducing environmental and climate impact. We are proud and inspired to witness, time and again, how finalists and awardees propel dialogue and action in our region and beyond. 

During the program, a common theme emerged among the winners...

“It was all about building the best possible project we could build, after 17 years of waiting to do something really special.”

– Jeffrey M. Brown, Brown Hill Development, LLC., speaking about Bridge


“As you can imagine, it took a long time […] 8 years.”

– Fredda Lippes, City of Philadelphia, speaking about Barry Playground


“The last two winners have something similar with our project; our project took 17 years to happen.”

– Tim McDonald, Onion Flats, speaking about The Battery 


...None of these projects came together quickly, and they all required vision and a deep commitment over many years. 

As noted by Fredda Lippes during her acceptance speech, Theodore Roosevelt once said,“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”  

We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations to this year’s winners, whose work embodies Green Building United’s vision of a sustainable, healthy, built environment for all.


2018 Groundbreaker Awardees  

rail park

The Rail Park

Groundbreaking Feature: Transformed a blighted section of the former Reading Railroad Viaduct into an elevated park with walking paths, landscaping, lighting, swinging benches, and expansive city views.

barry playground 2018 groundbreaker awards

Barry Playground 

Groundbreaking Feature: Located in the heart of South Philadelphia’s Girard Park neighborhood, transformed a small bunker-like building at the eastern edge of the site into a high-performance public amenity, attaining the City of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation's first LEED Gold building. 

the battery 2018 groundbreaker awards

The Battery

Groundbreaking Feature: Designed as a scalable and replicable prototype of dense, urban multifamily housing that responds to two pressing local and global issues: (1) The need for attainable housing with rents below gentrified market values, and (2) the need for buildings to zero-out their impact on global warming.

bridge groundbreaker awards

*Awards were designed and created by RAIR Philly.


Groundbreaking Feature: One of Philadelphia's first high-rise LEED Gold residential buildings, designed for modern living in Old City Philadelphia. This facility represents community engagement, sensitive architecture to its community, and the inclusion of a diverse population through low-income units.

Legacy Partners

Platinum Partners

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