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SCROB: Pennsylvania’s First Green Building

Jeffrey Syken

The beginnings of the environmental movement can be traced back to the publication of a book in the early 1960s entitled: “Silent Spring.” In it, author Rachel Carson – a prominent biologist, outlined the devastating effects the widespread use of chemical agents was having on the natural environment. Though she was mocked and derided by powerful commercial forces, the message got through to the public-at-large (and important members of the Kennedy Administration). Perhaps the most conscious-raising event occurred in 1968, when an Apollo capsule orbiting the moon took the famous photograph entitled: “Earthrise.” The most widely viewed photograph of all time, it depicted the earth rising, with the surface of the moon in the foreground. For the first time, human beings saw their home from the perspective of the heavens – a fragile, beautiful blue marble in the vastness of space. It seemed to awaken in many the sense that the earth is a living, rather than a dead thing. Officially, the environmental movement started on Earth Day, 1970. During the 1970s and '80s, the natural environment was the focus of attention by environmentalists. By the early 1990s, environmental groups started to focus on the built environment. So in 1996, given this growing awareness, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania determined to change the way it built state facilities - for the benefit of the environment, state budget and building occupants. Thus, in May 1998, the South Central Regional Office Building (SCROB) of the PA DEP opened for business, becoming Pennsylvania’s first “Green” building. Others would follow and learn/improve upon the example it set.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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