Towering Efforts to Save Energy & Water, Building Disclosure is Taking Shape, and Making Every Trip Count

More than 70 Pittsburgh 2030 District Partners braved the snowy weather to gather high atop the city’s skyline to contemplate topics of critical importance to the economic vitality and future of Pittsburgh. Held at the U.S. Steel Tower and hosted by UPMC, the January 19th Partner Meeting was packed with updates – and the promise of a follow-up roof tour when the wind is less turbulent!

What We Learned

  • Gary Sechler, Engineering Manager for Winthrop Management, the property manager of the U.S. Steel Tower, explained projects that have helped the building reduce its energy and water consumption, even as occupancy increased. One key investment is the modernization of its 60-elevator fleet, which has reduced the operating energy by five times.
  • Winthrop Management works with tenants like UPMC to incorporate energy- and water-saving techniques in their leased space. This relationship has helped to create 23 LEED-certified floors in the building and retrofitting of numerous fixtures and appliances!
  • Grant Ervin, Chief Resiliency Officer for the City of Pittsburgh, provided information about proposed building energy disclosure legislation slated in the coming year. The legislation will require energy benchmarking and public disclosure of energy used in buildings over 50,000 square feet. Energy benchmarking is critical to understanding your building portfolio, enables you to identify when things go wrong, and helps you make strategic decisions for improvement. Pittsburgh 2030 District Property Partners use Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager to trend their energy and water usage.

Want to learn more about using Portfolio Manager? Register now to attend our Portfolio Manager Training on February 17, 2016 from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. at the Green Building Alliance office.

  • Results are in from the Make My Trip Count commuter survey, which was conducted in September and October 2015 by Green Building Alliance and a dozen transportation partners. The survey asked commuters to describe their commute: where do they travel to and from? Which modes do they use, and how many modes?  Extracted from 20,710 responses, the results reveal that less than half of respondents drive to work alone, and that many commuters use multiple modes.
    The survey inquired about individual use of car, bus, bike, light rail, walking or other modes of transportation to get to work. Incline, anyone?
  • Key results are:
    • More than 1/2 of respondents do not drive alone to work each day.
    • 34% reported that they use at least two modes of transportation per week.
    • 1/4 of commuters who responded take public transportation.
    • Nearly 10% bike, walk, or telecommute.
    • The majority of respondents were women between 25 and 34 years old.
    • Most respondents self-identified as working in education, healthcare, and finance.

The Pittsburgh 2030 District’s goal is to have 100% property participation in the District’s Downtown and Oakland boundaries. Join us. Visit our FAQs for more program information and our contact page with questions – or contact me directly.

Each month, the Pittsburgh 2030 District holds a Partner Meeting convening Property Partners, Community and Resource Partners, sponsors and other stakeholders to discuss the latest relevant happenings and information for the city. Meetings are held in a different location within the District’s two boundaries, Downtown and Oakland, giving building owners and facility managers the opportunity to share their successes and challenges, and additional speakers present industry information and updates on a variety of critical topics. It’s a closed door, monthly forum where partners learn from each other with peer-to-peer dialogue and plan collaboratively for a sustainable and efficient future.

Interested in learning more? Contact me at