Two initiatives launched on Friday, both signaling a deeper commitment to a much larger goal of realizing something that has not been accomplished to date. The Orion spacecraft marked NASA’s start in what the agency hopes will be a new era of human exploration in outer space. At the same time, San Francisco 2030 District officially launched as an organization centered around lofty goals of dramatically reducing energy and water consumption as well as reducing greenhouse emissions by 50 percent by the year 2030 in the the city of San Francisco.[contextly_sidebar id=”QA0Ve6eKMBNXOUCjyWZUNAZVLbrd1GU4″]San Francisco 2030 District is part of a national collaborative that today counts 8 cities (Seattle, where the movement originated, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Denver, Stamford, Dallas and San Francisco). The districts today are an extension of an earlier initiative called Architecture 2030, which was founded by architect Edward Mazria. Mazria founded the movement around a mission of transforming the built environment as a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions into a solution to the climate and energy crises. The mission is carried out through the creation of an organization inside the downtown core of the central business district whose members commit to the water, energy and emission reduction goals. Not only are these goals targeting better environmental practices, but they also make sound business sense, since they help cut energy costs and overall operational expense for the building owners/managers.
The hope is that as the number of districts grows, so will collaboration between them. “We’re joining a network of other cities out there. We will be able to leverage all of the best practices, knowledge and expertise not only locally, but we’ll also bring the best ideas from around the country to achieve these goals,” said Stan Lew of the San Francisco-based RMW architecture & interiors who serves as the district’s Director.
The organization pursues two primary objectives: the dramatic reduction in global fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of the built environment and the regional development of an adaptive, resilient built environment that can manage the impacts of climate change, preserve natural resources and access low-cost, renewable energy resources.
The organization is not focusing on policy change and political will to make the transformation, although municipal participation is welcome and encouraged. Debbie Raphael, director at San Francisco Department of the Environment, who spoke at the launch event said, “It’s driven by the private sector who share the same value as us and don’t want to wait for us to solve the problems.”
The city and county of San Francisco, as well as the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission have joined Bentall Kennedy, Cushman & Wakefield, JLL, Kilroy Realty and Shorenstein as the founding owner/operator partners of the San Francisco 2030 District.
“What we have to do is accelerate change,” said Raphael, and the district gives the city and its partners a platform to do that.
In San Francisco, the founding partners have committed over 9 million square feet inside the central business district of San Francisco, in a geography roughly bounded by Washington Street to the north, Van Ness Avenue to the west, 7th and King Street to the South and around the Embarcadero. There are other organizations that are participating in the district, such as Woods Bagot, Gensler, NBBJ and Bayer, to name a few.
“We have twenty-three stakeholders and twenty three participating buildings,” said Lew. JLL’s 1 Front Street (755,000 square feet), Shorenstein’s 50 California Street (688,000 square feet) and Kilroy Realty’s 350 Mission Street (450,000 square feet) are just some of the buildings that are part of the program, but so is City Hall and 25 Van Ness Avenue, which are part of the city’s real estate portfolio.
“It’s really dynamic, the environment that we’re in, as we try to build momentum for the 2030 district, and we’re getting calls and interest from parties across the real estate sector,” Lew added as he explained the already-outdated charts showing a smaller group of buildings as part of the program’s launch.
The hard part starts now Lew said. Over the next few months the district will be focused on a series of goals to further its agenda, including hiring a full-time director. The interest in their activity has been increasing throughout the commercial real estate industry, and undoubtedly more companies will join the initiative in the near term.