Introducing the Pittsburgh 2030 District Energy Baseline

In order to measure the Pittsburgh 2030 District’s success in reaching its 50% reduction goals, baselines must first be determined for each reduction category. The reduction goals are measured against a national baseline for energy and against District baselines for water and transportation.

As properties commit to and work towards 2030 goals, the individual baselines against which they are measured become very important. The Pittsburgh 2030 District Energy Baseline document offers details about the District’s energy baseline for individual buildings – as well as the implications for aggregate District energy use and reductions.


In accordance with The 2030 Challenge, the energy performance baseline for 2030 Districts nationwide is determined individually for each building using national median building energy consumption values based on 2003 Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) data. Produced by the Energy Information Association (EIA), a sub-agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, CBECS is a national survey of a representative set of commercial buildings across the U.S. that includes their energy costs, consumption, and energy-specific characteristics. CBECS data has been analyzed to determine national and regional medians of whole building site energy use intensity (EUI), which is a building’s annual energy use divided by its gross square footage (measured in kBTU/ft^2/yr). Generally, a lower EUI indicates better building energy performance, but EUIs vary widely by building use.

The Pittsburgh 2030 District has compiled estimated national median energy baselines for building use types in Downtown Pittsburgh, which are provided below.  These energy baselines assume default values for all building-specific characteristics (e.g., operating hours, occupancy, etc.). As the “Energy Baseline” columns shown below indicate, the median site EUI for certain building use types is dependent on building square footage (use types with formulas), while other use types have static EUI estimates regardless of square footage.

Due to the fact that they are based on default assumptions, the values below should only be used as baseline estimates in evaluating how a building may or may not be achieving 2030 Challenge goals.

Want to learn more?  Guidance on determining building-specific baselines is in the full Pittsburgh 2030 District Energy Baseline explanation.

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