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Environment & Energy

Duquesne University and UPMC Mercy Join the Pittsburgh 2030 District: Downtown

The effort to reduce the carbon footprint of older Pittsburgh buildings is expanding beyond downtown to the area called “the Bluff” which houses Duquesne University and UPMC Mercy.

The Pittsburgh 2030 District: Downtown has a goal of a 50 percent energy, water and transportation emissions reduction by 2030. This better connects downtown to Oakland – though there are no plans to expand into the area between.

“The buildings in the Bluff are very similar to buildings that were already participating in the program in downtown,” said Sean Luther, senior 2030 district director at the Green Building Alliance. “Then those large collection of buildings are very similar to the collection of buildings in Oakland. Once you move out of the Bluff and further into Uptown it gets very residential.”

The initiative doesn’t mandate changes, but it makes recommendations. Participants then share best practices with one another.

“We’re generating a peer set for UPMC Mercy with the hospital facilities in Oakland, and for Duquesne with our great university partners, Carlow, Pitt and CMU in Oakland,” said Luther. “They’ll all be working together to identify how we can drive the building sector forward toward these really aggressive building performance goals.”

In 2013, the initiative resulted in a 12 percent reduction below energy baselines, in 2014 Oakland was added and numbers for 2014 will be available in the spring.

“All told, in downtown we have just under 40 million square feet of space,” said Luther. “We have a very large section of Oakland committed as well. Between the two districts we’re actually the largest 2030 district of the eight programs functioning in the country right now.”