WPEA Winner Feature: Green Building Alliance – Pittsburgh 2030 District

In the weeks leading up to the Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council will feature each of this year’s five awardees, along with a local group receiving special recognition. The Connoquenessing Watershed Alliance, Crawford County Riparian Restoration Program, Green Building Alliance, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, and Edward Schroth will be honored as this year’s award recipients, while the Garden Club of Allegheny County will be presented with special recognition at the May 26 ceremony at Pittsburgh’s Westin Hotel and Convention Center. The Green Building Alliance – 2030 District is featured in this week’s installment.

Green Building Alliance
Pittsburgh 2030 District

Based in Pittsburgh, Green Building Alliance (GBA) is a nonprofit organization that inspires the creation of healthy, high-performing places.

In Pittsburgh, 47 percent of greenhouse gas emissions originate from commercial buildings and 30 percent of the energy used by the average commercial building is wasted.

GBA created the Pittsburgh 2030 District, a nationally recognized and locally-driven, voluntary community of buildings working in collaboration towards inspirational, but measurable performance goals. Existing buildings participating in the Pittsburgh 2030 District are committed to 50 percent reductions in energy use, water consumption, and transportation-related emissions by 2030.


The Pittsburgh 2030 District aims to create a stronger downtown by helping property owners work collaboratively together and with a set of stated common goals to improve indoor air quality, reduce resources used, increase asset value, and create solid returns on investment. Through this program, Pittsburgh’s existing buildings are able to voluntarily join the green building conversation in a way that recognizes past efforts to create efficient properties while striving towards the future with ongoing peer-to-peer education that is driving the region’s economic competitiveness today, in the year 2030, and beyond.

Energy demand reduction targets for new construction and major renovations are more aggressive, with a goal of carbon neutrality by 2030. District partners make a simple pledge – commit to the goals of The 2030 Challenge and work together with other Pittsburgh 2030 District property, community, and resource partners to reach those targets.

In just three years, GBA launched and has fostered Pittsburgh’s District to be the largest 2030 District in the world to date. Through December 2014, the Pittsburgh 2030 District included 436 buildings with over 65.5 million square feet of real estate in Downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland–all actively working towards 50 percent reductions in energy consumption, water use, and transportation emissions by the year 2030, with new construction reaching carbon neutrality by 2030. As a testament to the ongoing growth of the District, at the end of 2015 the total square footage increased to 67.6 million square feet.

For 2015, 380 properties (87 percent of those participating) saved 503,295,273 kBtu’s, or the equivalent energy use of 5,562 homes. Additionally, 96 downtown buildings (representing 80 percent of downtown’s square footage) achieved a 10 percent reduction in water use, putting Downtown Pittsburgh at its 2015 goal, representing almost 53 million gallons of water—or 362 homes’ annual water usage.