Monday, October 30, 2023

Pittsburgh’s Green Building Alliance Receives $500,000 Federal ARISE Grant To Establish A Green Building Product Supply Chain, Manufacturing Hub In Upper Appalachian Region

On October 30, the
Appalachian Regional Commission awarded the Pittsburgh-based Green Building Alliance a $500,000 planning grant to establish an economic hub for green product manufacturing in the Upper Appalachian region and create a regional supply chain for the products, services, technologies and construction materials that comprise the green building industry. 

The initiative will prepare Upper Appalachia - western Pennsylvania, northeast Ohio and West Virginia - to meet increasing regional and national demand in both the residential and commercial sectors for the products and materials needed to construct, renovate, maintain and operate healthy, energy-efficient, resilient buildings and infrastructure. 

This project is funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission through ARC’s Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE) which drives large-scale economic transformation through multi-state collaborative projects across Appalachia, together with match funding support from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, a regional philanthropy serving West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania. 

It will be conducted in partnership with West Virginia University, including WVU Extension and Vantage Ventures; Pittsburgh-based Catalyst Connection; and the Youngstown Business Incubator and BRITE Energy Innovators in Ohio. 

“Historically, the Appalachian Region’s economy has been based on extractive industries that produced the energy, buildings, and infrastructure that built the country and strengthened economic prosperity,” says Green Building Alliance CEO Jenna Cramer. “As national and international economies shift to cleaner, low-carbon products and solutions, the Appalachian region is well-positioned to forge a strong path forward in a way that honors that legacy.

“To do so we must first develop an innovative and interconnected ecosystem that addresses the products involved in the full lifecycle of existing and new buildings—from design, construction, renovation, operations, and maintenance to deconstruction.  

“This will enable the region to lead in designing and deploying the products, technologies, and services that address residential and commercial buildings holistically, delivering improved energy and water efficiency, increasing on-site renewable energy, manufacturing local products with low embodied carbon, and connecting buildings to a cleaner grid. 

“Together these efforts will transform how we interact with our surroundings to create healthy and efficient places where people live, work, learn, and play.”

The planning project will assess and map the current regional product and supply chain ecosystem, complete a comprehensive market study analysis, and create a strong network with resources and strategies to advance this work to a full implementation phase.  

“The ARISE project led by Green Building Alliance, and supported by partners in three states, will have significant impact on the region,” says Bill Woodrum, Benedum Foundation’s senior program officer for community and economic development. “The importance of the regional product and supply chain mapping and assessment with a comprehensive market study analysis is incredibly important to the future manufacturing opportunities in this field.  Helping our region identify what the building industry opportunities are, and how we help producers scale their efforts, will lead to economic expansion, capturing leakages and the creation of new opportunities for high paying employment.” 

The project is funded through ARISE, ARC’s new initiative to drive large-scale, regional economic transformation through multi-state collaborative projects across Appalachia. 

Using funding through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, ARC launched ARISE in August of 2022 to strengthen Appalachian business and industry, and to grow and support the development of new economic opportunities across multiple states.  

A total of $227 million has been made available through ARISE to date.

“WVU Extension is proud to witness this moment in which we come together to create a better, greener future in West Virginia and beyond.  The ARISE planning grant is a positive first step to take an aspirational idea and take it to a sustainable implementation stage. Working with great partners will yield a tremendous pace-setting product that will not only serve as an example to other states across the nation, but also drive economic growth and workforce diversification for West Virginians,” said Jorge H. Atiles, Dean of WVU Extension and Engagement.

"One word encapsulates the people of the Appalachian region: Resilient.  We see it every day in our work with tenacious entrepreneurs and faculty in the region who are tackling legacy infrastructure challenges by leveraging next generation technologies, supply chain insights, materials and energy production capabilities among other inputs.  We are thrilled to partner with the Green Building Alliance and others on innovative residential and business supply chain efforts and appreciate the Appalachian Regional Commission's support for our work," said Sarah Biller, Executive Director of Vantage Ventures, an initiative of the John Chambers College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University

“Catalyst Connection is pleased to support the GBA’s efforts to plan for, and support cleaner, greener buildings and we are excited to leverage our own ARC ARISE grant award to build local supply chains for green building products and implementations,” said Petra Bracko Mitchell, President & CEO of Catalyst Connection.

"Sustainable products and processes are truly the Next Big Thing in manufacturing.  Consumers are demanding products that reflect their values - and are cost effective to adopt.  The Youngstown Business Incubator looks forward to working with Pittsburgh’s Green Building Alliance and the other partners to make this vision a reality," said Barb Ewing, CEO of The Youngstown Business Incubator.

“We look forward to supporting this initiative to strengthen our industrial cluster and incorporate emerging decarbonization technologies that will competitively position our region,” said Sara Daugherty, Chief of Staff, BRITE Energy Innovators.

Learn more about ARISE and the recent updates to the application process here.

For more information on programs, initiatives and other upcoming events, visit the Green Building Alliance website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Alliance, Like them on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter and visit their YouTube ChannelClick Here to support their work.

[Posted: October 30, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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