The Burlington 2030 District is a private/public partnership working to reduce building energy consumption, water use and transportation emissions 50% by 2030. The Burlington District is unique in that it seeks to achieve these goals for the entire city. Burlington is the 17th city to join a national network of 2030 Districts including Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Austin, Pittsburg, Ithaca and Cleveland.
In April 2017, local non-profit Vermont Green Building Network (VGBN) became the non-profit sponsor organization of the newly established Burlington 2030 District to further that vision. VGBN envisions a world where citizens, organizations and institutions are empowered with the knowledge, planning and design tools that pave the way to a sustainable, energy efficient and carbon neutral future.
With the Architecture 2030 Challenge for Planning providing the Burlington 2030 District's performance goals, we seek to develop realistic, measurable, and innovative strategies to assist district property owners, managers, and tenants in meeting aggressive goals that reduce environmental impacts of facility construction and operations.
The Burlington 2030 District works to achieve the 2030 Challenge targets at a district scale. While individual buildings will have specific opportunities for energy reductions, a district approach will provide the opportunity for district-wide heat recovery, distributed generation, and other district energy efficiencies that can reduce the demand for resources. This type of collaborative action is a strategic undertaking to help the City of Burlington meet and support the priorities of the City's Climate Action Plan, as well as the State of Vermont's Comprehensive Energy Plan. The project also ensures that there is a replicable, straightforward path for other cities to follow as they aim to increase the efficiency of their building stock, including water and energy use.
The City of Burlington has a large stock of inefficient buildings that need to be upgraded for optimal use and to increase resilience in the face of climate change. By establishing the economic case for the necessary reductions, the District helps property owners increase asset value, reduce operating costs, and create a healthier community. The Burlington 2030 District undertakes several activities to advance our goals including:
- Recruitment of property owners and service providers to commit to reductions;
- Assisting property owners and managers in benchmarking energy use and setting reduction targets;
- Developing Property Energy Plans (PEP): A summary of findings prepared and shared with property owner/manager, Burlington Electric Department (BED) and Vermont Gas (VGS)
- A strong steering committee to guide the initiative of property owners, institutions, the City of Burlington, service providers and utilities;
- Committees focused on developing strategies to achieve energy, water and transportation goals
The urban built environment is responsible for much of the world's fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, with buildings accounting for over 40% of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States per year. The City of Burlington, with a cold climate and older building stock, is no exception. By reducing Burlington's energy and water usage, and transportation emissions, we lessen the State's ecological footprint. By encouraging local property owners to voluntarily participate and commit to the Burlington 2030 District goals and targets, this initiative supports a holistic approach to sustainable community development bolstering Burlington's climate resilience and leadership.