Cleveland 2030 District, a nonprofit organization that works to reduce environmental impacts of building construction and operations, is seeing great success from last year’s efforts. The District recently released its 2017 Progress Report highlighting how participating organizations have reduced energy consumption by 20%, water use by 18% and commuter transportation emissions by 16% from baseline measurements. This reduction equates to the District saving the equivalent of the annual energy usage of 5,613 single-family homes, the annual emissions of 482 cars, and enough water to fill 148 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Cleveland 2030 District is comprised of public, private and nonprofit organizations located in downtown Cleveland and University Circle who have committed to reducing their environmental footprint in support of the 2030 Challenge for Planning. The Challenge is ambitious but attainable: a 50% reduction in energy use and water consumption, as well as a 50% cut to CO2 emissions from commuter transportation by 2030.
Cleveland was the second city to join the North American network in 2011. By 2014, Cleveland 2030 District member organizations totaled 24 million square feet with a 21% participation rate within its boundaries. At the end of 2017, membership grew to include nearly 57 million square feet with a 51% participation rate. Part of the benefit to member businesses is that meeting these rigorous environmental standards improves operational efficiency and lowers costs.
“Commercial buildings use almost 50% of the energy consumed in the U.S.,” says Cleveland 2030 District Executive Director, Cindy Cicigoi. “It's critically important to engage this sector when addressing the impacts of climate change. Cleveland 2030 District is proud of the progress made thus far to create a healthier and more resilient city.”
Cleveland is in dire need of sustainability leaders to pave the way for a healthier future. The American Lung Association ranks Cleveland tenth out of 187 metropolitan areas for the worst air quality in the U.S. The effects of air pollution have a staggering impact on life expectancy, as exposure to poor air quality can lead to reduced lung function, breathing problems, lung cancer and/or cardiovascular disease. According to the American Public Health Association, communities of color, young children, the elderly and the poor are disproportionately at risk of disease and death due to environmental health issues.
“There is an intrinsic link between the environment and human health, and the people who are in the business of reducing energy are improving the health of the population in Northeast Ohio,” says Jon Utech, senior director of the Office for a Healthy Environment at the Cleveland Clinic. “The Cleveland Clinic partnered with Cleveland 2030 District to enhance the triple bottom line that positively impacts environmental, economic and human health.”
Looking to the future, climate change will continue to exacerbate current health challenges facing Cleveland residents. By reducing Cleveland's environmental footprint, Cleveland 2030 District aims to create a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable city, one building at a time.
About Cleveland 2030 District
The Cleveland 2030 District is apart of the 2030 Districts Network, a movement to reduce building energy use, water consumption and transportation emissions by 50%. Cleveland was the second of now 20 districts across the U.S. to join the movement to create high-performance building districts. The Cleveland 2030 District’s mission is to create a more economically and environmentally resilient city. The District works to dramatically reduce the environmental impacts of building construction that directly impact human health and climate change.