For the most part, the green design movement has been grass roots-based. Only recently have municipalities begun to jump on the bandwagon to get involved. That’s why it was so exciting when Pittsburgh 2030 District announced its goal to have 100% of its downtown property owners commit to reducing water usage, and energy and transportation emissions by 50%.

graphic of the existing and future buildings in Pitssburgh

Existing and future buildings in Pittsburgh    Image: Pittsburgh 2030

To date, there are more than 28-million square feet of property in Pittsburgh’s downtown committed to this lofty goal. This is half of the square footage of the target area, and it has been less than a year since the Pittsburgh 2030 District announced the goal. This event has been spearheaded by the Green Building Alliance (GBA) and is a completely voluntary program.


Image: Pittsburgh 2030 District

The building and business owners who have joined the campaign sign a commitment pledge. This pledge commits them to sharing information and data about their annual water, energy, and transportation emissions. It also provides opportunities to partner and collaborate with community experts, and other businesses, committed to helping them achieve their goal.

In order to set the baseline and/or bench marks to measure their success, the GBA and Pittsburgh 2030 District use the 2003 Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) for energy. They are working with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission for water and transportation baselines.

As an architectural firm who specializes in green design, Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Interiors hopes more cities will join Pittsburgh’s lead.