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Environment & Energy

Oakland Joins Energy Reduction Efforts

Two years after the Green Building Alliance launched its 2030 District initiative in downtown Pittsburgh, the program is expanding its efforts into Oakland.

The 2030 District is a building-by-building effort to improve energy and water consumption and transportation emission in a geographical area. It’s a voluntary initiative focused on the existing building sector. There isn’t a checklist that each building undergoes; it's non-prescriptive. They work with individual building owners to identify what improvements to their buildings will have the maximum benefit.

In downtown, 60 percent of the total square footage is participating, and in Oakland, it will be 80 percent.

Sean Luther, director of the project, said most of the changes they’ve seen so far involve lighting systems. Changes in lighting technology have been evolving rapidly and changes incur a quick payback and have a major impact on energy operations.

In the next couple years they hope to pivot toward water efficiency. Even though water is an abundant resource in Pittsburgh, that may not always be the case.

They use a tool from the Environmental Protection Agency called Portfolio Manager that allows participants to anonymously submit their data.

“We’re able to document an almost 12 percent reduction in downtown Pittsburgh against the aggregated energy baseline. Which is the equivalent to almost eight thousand homes being taken off the grid,” said Luther.

2030 districts are in other cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver and Cleveland.