Albuquerque Carbon Neutral Commitment Through 2030 District Gains Ground

Courtesy Construction Reporter News.

By Tami Brunk

February 17, 2015

From Seattle to Pittsburg, cities across the U.S. are transitioning to carbon neutral using the bold new “2030 District” template initiated by visionary New Mexican architect Ed Mazria and his team at Architecture 2030. Albuquerque is moving forward rapidly to join their ranks as an established District.

“A 2030 District is a collaborative network of property partners, professional partners and public partners aiming by 2030 for 50% reduction of energy, water, and transportation consumption in existing buildings and net zero energy for new properties,” says 2030 District Exploratory Committee Chair Laurie Tarbell.

Tarbell led the charge to garner Albuquerque’s current designation as an Emerging District last fall. This February astonishing progress has been made toward full District designation with the enrollment of UNM as a key partner and with the Foundation for Living nonprofit taking leadership of the initiative.

Nonprofit Vice President Mike Cecchini will spearhead the project as Executive Director of the Albuquerque 2030 District. The Foundation for Living was formerly known as the Foundation for Building and its founder and President is longtime Vice President of the New Mexico Home Builders Association, Jim Folkman.

Mazria is thrilled to see his home state of New Mexico finally getting serious about adoption of his firm’s 2030 District model.

‘We’re excited to see the progress that Albuquerque is making towards becoming the first fully established 2030 District in New Mexico – Architecture 2030’s home state. The 2030 District approach of private-sector led groups working towards high-performance building districts is a proven model that leads to a range of benefits for our downtown urban areas.”

Once it is fully established, Albuquerque will join the ranks of Los Angeles, Dallas, Cleveland, Denver, Stamford and San Francisco as a full-fledged district. Other up-and-coming “emerging districts” at the same stage as Albuquerque include Portland, Detroit, and New York City.

Cecchini sees Albuquerque’s full establishment as a 2030 District as a great boon to the regional construction industry.

“Although the construction industry has struggled in the recent years, we believe this initiative will help stimulate the refurbishing of a somewhat obsolete inventory of existing buildings in the downtown corridor.”

“The downtown submarket has some of the highest vacancy rates in the city,” Cecchini continues, “and we believe the 2030 District initiative will help resolve that.  With all of the new projects that have started or are in the development stages in the Innovation District, the 2030 District is a perfect fit.”

Over the past year, Tarbell’s Exploratory Committee has connected with 20 Downtown building owners ready to commit their properties to the project. Though formal boundaries have not yet been established, the focal area for the emerging district is shaped by the two urban centers of Downtown and UNM and their connectivity along the Central Avenue corridor.

The second big breakthrough for the District came this Monday, February 16. This was the date the University of New Mexico announced its decision to come aboard as the District’s largest partner thus far, with President Frank committing the Main and North campuses to the District. This will add an impressive 9.7 million square feet of existing building to the initiative.

“We have many years of practice when it comes to reducing the University’s environmental impact, and we have implemented many design standards that can easily be translated to business owners in Albuquerque with regard to conserving energy,” said Jeff Zumwalt, director of UNM’s Physical Plant Department.

Tarbell, the visionary who has built momentum for the District sees its realization as an enormous step for Albuquerque in reaching its full potential as one of the “great cities,” across the nation.

“Establishing an Albuquerque 2030 District is a way to get our city on the map with other great cities that are committing to the future, and willing to take actions to make the city a better place to live.”

(Original article can be found at http://constructionreporternews.com/2015/02/17/albuquerque-carbon-neutral-commitment-through-2030-district-gains-ground/)