Philadelphia 2030 District: A Vision for Urban Sustainability

BY Burns Mechanical IN Energy, Philadelphia Benchmarking

Written By Dan Kerr (President, Burns Mechanical, Inc.)


Keeping an eye on becoming a sustainable model for cities of the future, the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC) has taken the lead role to initiate an emerging 2030 District for the City of Philadelphia. Targeting building energy use, water conservation, and transportation issues, the goal of the district is to dramatically reduce carbon emissions by the year 2030. Buildings comprise 60% of carbon emissions in Philadelphia and 30% of the energy used in an average building is wasted.

Scheduled to officially launch in October 2017, the district is targeting more than 117 million square feet of existing building stock. With property owners already committing about 8.5 million square feet to the district goals, the Philadelphia 2030 District is already the fourth largest such initiative in the nation. An exploratory committee is presently garnering additional support.

Through its robust energy benchmarking database on all buildings larger than 50,000 square feet, Philadelphia is extremely well-positioned to achieve its goals in the race to 2030. Those signing up to participate will be committing to reduce their site energy use by 50% below median properties (2003 CBECS database) by 2030, with intermediate goals of 20% by 2020 and 35% by 2025.

With a seat at the table on the exploratory committee, Burns will be keeping a close watch on 2030 district developments. While the district goals might seem aggressive, they should be achievable given strong collaboration among the public and private partners. For more information see this link to the DVGBC website ( and stay tuned as we provide updates.