High-performance buildings have proven track records of simultaneously increasing business and property profitability, enhancing asset values, reducing environmental impacts, and improving occupant health. In addition to the Pittsburgh 2030 District energy and water analysis and demand reduction, efforts are being made to complete the baseline for transportation emissions as well as develop a metric for indoor air quality. The following information is a progress update as of April 2014.
GBA’s 2030 District team works with each participating property to establish a specific energy use index (EUI) baseline, taking into account current use types, operational characteristics (operation hours, occupancy, etc.), and Pittsburgh’s climate region. In the initial reporting period, 84 properties (85% of those participating) shared their energy performance data and 73 were aggregated to provide a snapshot of District progress towards the energy reduction goal. First-year reports indicate progress made towards the energy reduction goals by reporting Property Partners in 2013. The aggregated site EUI for the District is calculated as the total energy consumption reported (2,169,468,407 kBtu), divided by the total square footage of reporting properties (30,759,323 sq. ft.). This results in an aggregated site EUI of 70.5, which represents a 11.6% reduction from the baseline, putting the District ahead of 2015 reduction goals. At 286,508,179 kBtu avoided, this demand reduction is equivalent to removing 7,748 homes (assuming 36,977.38 kBtu/home) from the electric grid.
GBA worked with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to establish a district water baseline from historic water consumption in Downtown Pittsburgh. District baselines are currently available only for office buildings (defined as all properties over 50,000 sq. ft. with office as a primary use). Current performance in the office sector indicates that significantly greater emphasis will need to be placed on water performance, as the majority (72%) of reporting properties are well above the District baseline. Best practices in water management, however, are readily available, as four reporting properties are already at or below their 2015 reduction goals. The average water use intensity (WUI) for currently reporting office properties is 14.8.
GBA is working with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) to establish a transportation emission baseline related to Downtown Pittsburgh and North Shore commuting patterns. SPC utilizes a “Regional Travel Demand Model” to provide travel simulations from its 10-county service area to estimate baseline travel patterns and apply a CO2 emission factor based on mode of travel. That transportation baseline work is expected to be complete by June 2014.
At this time, GBA is also working with the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation at the University of Pittsburgh to develop and pilot an indoor air quality metric. This collaboration will enter its next phase later this spring when between eight and 10 current 2030 District Property Partners will begin a pilot testing project for indoor air quality.