Point State Park is one of the city’s greenest spots -- to the eye, at least. With its grass-covered path leading to the convergence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, forming the Ohio, it’s about as close to nature as one can get in the heart of Downtown.
Now, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which oversees the park, wants it to be as green operationally as it is in appearance. The DCNR announced Tuesday it’s joining the Pittsburgh 2030 District, an initiative backed by the Pittsburgh Green Building Alliance that encourages members to cut their energy and water use in half by 2030.
Park officials have already acted to make the park more energy and water efficient, according to DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. Those steps have included installing LED lights across the park and adding landscape patterns that control storm-water runoff. But Dunn said adding the park's reach will give the 2030 District's conservation effort a more public face.
“Some of the private buildings, while they’re doing wonderful activities on energy conservation and water conservation, they don’t have the opportunity to tell the story like a state park does, frankly,” Dunn said. “Especially Point State Park with the millions of visitors that it receives.”
The GBA also announced Tuesday that, in all, 14 new property partners have opted for district membership. They include five new partners on the city's North Shore. Anna Siefken, GBA's 2030 District manager, said the North Side expansion represents the district's first incursion into the neighborhood.
"We're very excited for each and every one of them (to join)," said Siefken. "Because they can learn from the folks that have already been here. But many of them are already undertaking these projects; it's really helping them really showcase the good work they're doing."
More than two-thirds of public and private properties located in Downtown and Oakland have already joined. With the addition of new members, the 2030 District now accounts for more than 76 million square feet of Pittsburgh real estate.
District property partners are entitled to GBA's assistance in assessing current energy and water use and help devising strategies to make their buildings or properties more efficient. GBA also hosts monthly educational opportunities where owners can get information about the latest green infrastructure, as well as learn from fellow members.
“It's a noncompetitive program," Siefken said. "So, people share very openly about what they do, what's worked for them, and, honestly, what hasn't. What questions need to be asked when equipment might break? Or what things pay for themselves very quickly?”