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June 2010
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CityLink Seattle

Seattle 2030 District

Seattle Municipal TowerMotivated by the recently passed Seattle Energy Disclosure Ordinance, downtown property owners and managers are sharing utility data to create a Seattle 2030 District. Usually considered proprietary data, property owners are working together in order to develop a baseline of district-wide energy use and strive collectively to meet the 2030 Challenge. The Seattle 2030 District intends to go beyond just the data gathering and reporting required by the ordinance. The committee has begun to aggregate and analyze data to define current baselines and energy, water and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction targets. Concurrently the committee is exploring best practices for energy efficiency improvements as well as incentive and financing plans to implement improvements.

Inspired by the Chicago Central Area Decarbonization Plan, local architect Brian Geller a sustainability specialist with ZGF Architects in Seattle, convened development professionals and City of Seattle staff interested in large-scale energy efficiency. The initial vision, to meet the goals of the 2030 Challenge, has been embraced by the City through its adoption by the US Conference of Mayors. The committee has adopted additional goals to create a sustainable, low-energy downtown that could build on and expand many efforts already underway.

What began as an ad-hoc group now includes six major property owners and managers in the downtown core and surrounding business neighborhoods, two City utilities, Cascadia Green Building Council and the active participation of Charlie Cunniff from the Office of Sustainability and Environment and Peter Dobrovolny from DPD’s City Green Building. Vincent Martinez, local representative of the non-profit advocacy organization Architecture 2030, has helped the group align benchmarking, goals and strategies with their program, the 2030 Challenge for Planning, which includes reduction goals for water use and transportation vehicle miles traveled as well as the aggressive carbon reduction and energy efficiency goals of the original 2030 Challenge.

Specific Seattle 2030 District goals are:

  • For operating energy of existing buildings, a 10 percent reduction by 2015, incrementally increased to a 50 percent reduction by 2030
  • For operating energy of new and renovated buildings, an immediate 60 percent reduction, incrementally increased to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030
  • For greenhouse gas emissions of auto and freight, and water consumption in existing buildings, a 10 percent reduction by 2015, incrementally increased to a 50 percent reduction by 2030
  • For greenhouse gas emissions of auto and freight, and water consumption in new and renovated buildings, an immediate 50 percent reduction

Taking cues from some very efficient European cities, the Seattle 2030 District Committee will also explore opportunities that might exist beyond individual building strategies through incorporation of district heating and cooling and distributed generation.

The central and southern neighborhoods in the Seattle 2030 District overlap with some of the neighborhoods in the recently awarded WEB (Weatherize Every Building) Initiative “Retrofit Ramp Up Grant,” funded through the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. The committee plans to work closely with City agencies administering the grant to maximize energy conservation opportunities. Both the WEB Initiative and the Seattle 2030 District will serve as models to meet the City Council 2010 priority of carbon neutrality.

 For more information or to attend the next Seattle 2030 District Committee meeting, contact:

Peter Dobrovolny
(206) 615-1094