With a new year and a new decade upon us, the popular trend is to create new resolutions and goals. Being an active member of the Burlington (Vermont) 2030 District Engineering Team has me thinking about the District’s and the City of Burlington’s goals and progress for energy, water, and transportation emission reductions. This post outlines what the Burlington 2030 District goals are, how these compare to the City of Burlington goals, and the services our team provides to property owners to help reach these goals.
Burlington is one of twenty-two districts in the United States that has committed to the 2030 District Network and mission. As the countdown to 2030 continues (now only TEN years away!), the amount of work needed to meet these aggressive goals will require time and effort by all. Burlington has committed eight million square feet and new members continue to join the effort.
District and City Goals
The Burlington 2030 District is a “private/public partnership working to reduce building energyconsumption, water use and transportation emissions 50% by 2030” with specific goals outlined in Figure 1. These reductions are being measured against baselines established for each building type using the 2003 regional averages.
In 2018, the City of Burlington established a goal to reach net zero energy by 2030, a more aggressive goal than that set by the Burlington 2030 District. As stated in the City of Burlington Net Zero Energy Roadmap, “the City’s Net Zero Energy by 2030 (NZE by 2030) goal is defined as reducing and eventually eliminating fossil fuel use from the heating and ground transportation sectors”. This roadmap was released in September 2019, outlining how this goal can be met with the support of Burlington’s electric utility, Burlington Electric department (BED). According to the roadmap, the City of Burlington Net Zero goal is the “most ambitious goal established by any community in the United States to date”.
The Burlington 2030 District is sponsored by the non-profit Vermont Green Building Network (VGBN). Cx Associates is part of the Engineering Team for the District, working closely with VGBN, the Energy Services Team at BED and Vermont Gas Systems (VGS). The primary focus of our District to date has been building energy reduction, but we plan to do more with water and transportation this year.
Member Benefits and Resources
It’s daunting to think about how our community can meet these aggressive goals! Which is why the Burlington 2030 District provides resources for their members – to help building owners receive the support they need to make their buildings better and work towards the goals the District and City have developed.
One of the main resources is the Property Energy Plan (PEP), which is developed by the District Engineering Team for member-owned buildings. Using energy benchmarking, this plan outlines how the building is performing compared to the goals set by the District. It also provides strengths and opportunities using the building information received through the owner survey. When this PEP is completed, we highly encourage the building owner to set up a site visit with BED and VGS to review the plan and develop next steps for future projects that could be incentivized. In order to make this PEP as useful as possible, BED and VGS also provide input using their experience with similar building types as well as their past knowledge of the specific building.
One of the original members took action with their building after their PEP was created and completed several mechanical system optimization projects. As a result, their building has seen a verified 10% reduction in electric usage, is using 16% less energy overall since the original benchmark, and is now eligible for an Energy Star Certification!
To encourage our members to continue tracking their energy consumption after completion of their PEP and to benchmark additional buildings, the 2030 District and BED provide training sessions on the Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM) tool. BED also now provides an automatic upload service to ESPM, making it even easier for their customers to utilize this powerful tool.
In order to continue to make progress with our goals, we need more commercial property owners to commit to these ambitious and imperative reduction goals. If you’re a property owner in Burlington and are interested in becoming a member of the Burlington 2030 District to help meet the District’s and City’s goals (or just want to learn more) please check out the website for more information.
I am excited to see what 2020 brings and continue to appreciate being a part of this fantastic team!