While some cities are requiring mandatory energy benchmarking from large commercial buildings, a program in which building owners voluntarily join together to participate in energy reduction is catching on in a few cities.
Architecture 2030, which originally instigated a “building district” in Seattle to reduce energy and water usage, has recently inspired Cleveland and Pittsburgh to create Architecture 2030 Districts.
Through the 2030 Districts, building owners and other partners agree to: carbon-neutrality for new buildings; a 50 percent reduction in energy and water use for existing buildings; and a 50 percent reduction in vehicle miles traveled, all by 2030.
Seattle’s central business district was the first 2030 District, and it is led by businesses and building owners, rather than a government mandate, according to an article on The Kresge Foundation site.
The Seattle 2030 District’s membership includes property owners, building managers, city officials, public utilities and professional organizations, and the district is on track to hit its first benchmark – 10 percent reductions by 2015, as reported by Kresge.
Rather than requiring each individual building to meet all the Architecture 2030 District’s goals, each building contributes what it can. “So the secured bike storage in one building’s parking ramp helps move the district toward its transportation goals, while the lighting retrofit in an office tower contributes to the carbon reduction goal, and the satellite-controlled irrigation system in the outdoor garden plazas of another property contribute to the goal of saving water,” according to Kresge.
In February, the Pittsburgh 2030 District announced four more partners: Heinz Field, US Steel Tower, properties of Point Park University and the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.
In Boston, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and The Building Owners and Managers Association commissioned a report that concluded mandatory energy monitoring and benchmarking are not worth the cost. Both groups oppose an initiative by Boston’s mayor to require mandatory benchmarking.