- A large consortium of property owners in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has banded together in an effort to slash energy use and emissions over the next 15 years, with a goal of reducing building energy use by 50%, Midwest Energy News reports.
- Grand Rapids joins 11 other cities that have developed so-called 2030 Districts, where public-private partnerships target ambitious energy reduction goals. The program was begun in Seattle several years ago and addresses energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions.
- Grand Rapids' goals include a 50% reduction in building energy use, as well as halving water use and emissions from transportation. More than 60 buildings in the downtown area have joined the group.
More than 10 million feet of real estate in downtown Grand Rapids has committed to helping reduce energy use, part of an ambitious plan in cities from the West Coast to Connecticut that targets building efficiency in both new and existing stock.
“Cities play an important role in addressing the root causes of climate change, and here in Grand Rapids we’re doing that in partnership with our private sector partners” Grand Rapids Mayor Heartwell said in a statement. He had called for forming the energy-focused district in a speech earlier this year.
The plans call for a 50% reduction in energy use for existing buildings by 2030, compared to a 2003 national benchmark of similar buildings, and a 50% reduction in water use and transportation emissions. For new buildings, as well as large-scale renovations, the compact also targets an immediate 50% reduction in building energy use, with additional goals of reaching net-zero energy use by 2030.
Cheri Holman, director of the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan, said the grassroots effort is "perfectly positioned to encourage innovation, further education and develop creative strategies that will span across every sector of the built environment."
Property involved in the initiative represents a wide range of stakeholders: the Grand Rapids Art Museum; public schools; large residential buildings; Grand Valley State University; and municipal buildings. Service partners include utilities Consumers Energy and DTE Energy.
“Building on the established leadership in Grand Rapids the District has adopted transparent, measurable and obtainable goals that will be achieved by working collaboratively to break down barriers and develop pathways that ensure a sustainable, resilient and healthy community to live, work, and play," Holman said.
In addition to Grand Rapids, other established 2030 Districts include: Albuquerque, N.M.; Cleveland, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Los Angeles, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; Stamford, Conn., and Toronto, Canada. Together, the districts represent more than 250 million square feet of committed real estate.