Philadelphia 2030 District launches to cut energy use, transportation emissions

Philadelphia 2030 District launches to cut energy use, transportation emissions

Buildings in the Philadelphia 2030 District will aim to reduce energy and water use and transportation emissions in half by 2030. Illustration courtesy of

In Philadelphia’s latest move to combat climate change, the city plans to launch the Philadelphia 2030 District.

The voluntary private initiative spearheaded by the Delaware Valley Green Building Council brings together property owners, managers, utility companies and community organizations who want to stem the effects of global warming, reports Curbed Philadelphia. The goal is to reduce their energy and water use and transportation emissions by 50 percent by the year 2030. 

“This impacts everyone because unless we can get a handle on carbon emissions, and seriously reduce them, climate change is going to have an impact on the whole city and the world,” said Alex Dews, executive director of the DVGBC. 

The district is currently limited to University City and Center City, where there is a large concentration of buildings that tend to be the biggest energy consumers in the city, although Dews says there are plans to expand the area down the road. The average commercial building in Philly wastes 30 percent of its energy, while 60 percent of carbon emissions are produced by the building sector.

“The reason we’re focused on the largest buildings is because they’re by far the largest energy users,” Dews said, “and small changes in large buildings yield really big results.”

Some organizations including SEPTA and Drexel, as well as the city of Philadelphia, have already signed onto the 2030 commitment. Developer Brandywine Realty Trust also committed to the pledge early on; a number of its new buildings, including the FMC Tower and Cira Centre fall within the district and include not just commercial developments, but also residential properties. 

Each year, the DVGBC will release an annual progress report to see if companies and organizations are meeting their pledged goals. 

Philly is among 18 cities in the country to commit to this national initiative known as Architecture 2030, with 15 million square feet committed to the pledge. Dews hopes that number expands now that the program has officially launched; there is a total of 120 million square feet of properties within the district that could commit to the pledge, he says. 


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