The Pittsburgh 2030 District, a strategic initiative of Green Building Alliance, published its annual Progress Report on Tuesday, celebrating four years of rigorous reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions.
More than doubling in area and quadrupling from 81 to 491 committed properties since founding, Pittsburgh leads all 17 established 2030 Districts in committed square footage (including Seattle, San Francisco, and Toronto). Nearly 25% of all committed square footage in the 2030 Districts Network is right here in Pittsburgh.
Launched in 2012, the Pittsburgh 2030 District is an internationally recognized collaborative of property owners that spurs regional investment and bolsters the city’s green building leadership. While pushing towards 50% savings in energy, water, and CO2 emissions by 2030, the District now includes 4 Pittsburgh neighborhoods: Downtown, Oakland, Uptown, and the Northside. 2030 District Partners collaborate across sectors and size, including the 18th century Fort Pitt Block House, all three professional sports facilities, six museums, and a variety of hospitals, universities, and office towers.
Property Partners in the Pittsburgh 2030 District have reduced their aggregated energy and water consumption by 10.7% and 7.4%, respectively. Transportation emissions for the Downtown boundary, reported in the 2015 Progress Report, were 24.2% below baseline, exceeding the 2020 goal.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald notes, “The remarkable accomplishments of the participants in the Pittsburgh 2030 District allow businesses to reinvest savings and make our region more competitive and sustainable. Energy efficiency programs create thousands of jobs and Allegheny County is leading the Commonwealth in the clean energy job market.”1
Commitments to the goals of the District currently include 491 commercial buildings for a total of 78.7 million square feet. In 2016, the Pittsburgh 2030 District added 8.6 million square feet, 48 buildings, and 18 partners. The greatest addition took place in September, with Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ commitment of Point State Park along with the District’s Northside expansion at a joint announcement.
Last year brought other celebrations for the Pittsburgh 2030 District, including the milestone achievement of 100 Property Partners and two awards: the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Western Pennsylvania Environmental Award. Throughout the year many Property Partners achieved tremendous success at the building level, achieving LEED and ENERGY STAR certifications that make their facilities more economically competitive.
There have also been challenges for the District. Expansions and new commitments have an impact on aggregated results as participants benchmark their buildings, many for the first time, and begin to take steps to reduce their resource usage and their utility bills. Trade-offs also occur – a vacant building naturally uses very little or no energy, and a bustling business may use more energy as it grows.
When assessing impact, there are additional metrics to consider, including the measure of total kBtu avoided. In the 2015 report, Property Partners avoided 868 million kBtu – this number increased to 982 million kBtu avoided in 2016 – an increase in energy savings of 13%. The total energy savings since 2013 is 2.6 billion kBtu, equal to 305,610 tons of CO2, the annual energy use of 32,271 homes, or nearly 4.5 billion miles driven by car.
Peer Collaboration Drives Sustainable Innovations
As a stakeholder-driven cooperative, the Pittsburgh 2030 District advances local and national standards for sustainability. “Property owners and managers have joined together with community leaders, tenants, and service providers to amplify demand for efficient and responsible buildings,” said Angelica Ciranni, Pittsburgh 2030 District Director. “This cross-sector partnership drives innovation in building operations, continuing to shift the real estate market towards higher levels of performance.”
President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust J. Kevin McMahon further elaborates, “The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is grateful for the 2030 District’s educational platform, which provides a monthly opportunity to collaborate with our peers and industry experts. The Cultural Trust will continue to represent the shared values of resource efficiency, high-performance, and resiliency in Downtown through our 2030 District commitment.”
Aligned with regional initiatives such as p4 and One PGH, the District prompted Pittsburgh to become 1 of 23 cities mandating utilities disclosure from nonresidential properties. This 2016 benchmarking legislation creates transparency in the real estate market, compelling buildings to provide high levels of efficiency and performance. Thanks to Property Partners’ voluntary tracking, 26% of buildings required to disclose are prepared to report their consumption to the City of Pittsburgh.
“Partners in the Pittsburgh 2030 District are doing more than just improving their buildings. They are generating real estate value, increasing resiliency, and developing a more equitable and sustainable city,” says Mayor William Peduto. “The momentum they are building pushes us to imagine a better city for all, and we look to the 2030 Challenge as a benchmark for our accomplishments.”
Pittsburgh 2030 District Achievements through 2016
Energy: 10.7% reduction below baseline
- 982 million kBtu avoided, equivalent to the annual energy use of 11,874 homes
- 2.6 billion kBtu avoided since 2013, saving buildings 52.2 million dollars
WATER: 7.4% reduction below baseline
- 74.5 million gallons avoided in 2016
- 222.8 million gallons avoided since 2014, saving buildings 4.6 million dollars
TRANSPORTATION EMISSIONS: 24.2% reduction below baseline, as reported in the 2015 Progress Report
- Based on 2015 Make My Trip Countcommuter survey which gathered 20,710 responses
- Overall transit use (bus and light rail) was higher in Downtown, compared to Oakland
- Walking and bicycling modes represented a larger portion of Oakland commutes, compared to Downtown
INDOOR AIR QUALITY: In development
- Six Property Partners have participated in an IAQ Pilot
- Ongoing effort supports development of scalable, districtwide IAQ goals and strategies
The Pittsburgh 2030 District Progress Report for 2016 outlines significant, measured results for the initiative, and includes additional information on Pittsburgh’s Building Benchmarking legislation and p4 Performance Measures.
The Progress Report Reception, held at the Heinz History Center on April 25, 2017, featured remarks from Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, City of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, and Pittsburgh 2030 District Director Angelica Ciranni. The marquee event was attended by more than 200 industry stakeholders, elected officials, representatives of the city and region, building owners, facility managers, and many other guests.
1 You can learn more about this reference by the Country Executive in the Clean Jobs Pennsylvania report prepared by Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).