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PITTSBURGH, PA (September 3, 2019) Legislation being introduced today by Mayor William Peduto’s administration would require all new or renovated City government buildings to be net-zero, meaning they are so efficient that they produce as much energy as they consume.
Buildings are the largest end-users of energy in the world, and Pittsburgh and other cities seeking to fight the earth’s climate change crisis are seeking new ways – such as net-zero energy efficiency – to significantly address the challenge.
The City of Pittsburgh’s Climate Action Plan 3.0 aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050. It also seeks to reduce energy and water use by 50 percent by 2030. To meet those goals, the City must address buildings, which currently account for 80 percent of the City’s carbon emissions and a significant portion of the City’s energy use and spending.
“Pittsburgh is taking real steps to meet its energy goals, and moving to net-zero construction will be one of the most meaningful and impactful actions we’ve ever taken. It is not only the right move for the planet, but for the city’s budget too,” Mayor Peduto said.
The proposed ordinance – being introduced to Pittsburgh City Council today – would cover all construction of new buildings on City owned property, and all major renovations of existing buildings on City owned property.
It defines net-zero energy buildings as those that are “designed and constructed to be highly efficient and to produce enough energy through renewable resources to offset its energy consumption on an annual basis. A net-zero energy building could also be defined as a net-zero energy ready building that includes on-site or local renewable energy.”
The ordinance includes exemptions for renovations of buildings that are being decommissioned or sold within five years; emergency renovations; short-term buildings (such as trailers); or other exemptions requested by the Mayor and City Council.
A public hearing will be scheduled on the bill.
In a related effort, the Planning Department’s Sustainability and Resilience Division last month released the first annual energy benchmarking report for municipal buildings owned and operated by the City. It followed adoption of an energy and water benchmarking and transparency ordinance requiring all non-residential buildings over 50,000 square feet to share their energy and water consumption data with the City by June 1, 2018 and yearly thereafter.
Last month’s report will be followed by the online publication of the compliance status of buildings for 2017 and 2018, as well as an overview report of energy use of the public and private building stock followed by the publication of data on by the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center.