It's full steam ahead for San Antonio 2030 District organizers after this evening's successful district launch party.
Founder and Principal of Area Real Estate LLC. David Adelman became the fifth building owner and/or property manager to commit as a participant in the district, joining Zurich International Properties, Lake/Flato Architects, The Brooklynite and the San Antonio River Authority.
Five entities are required to start an official 2030 District, a data collection and collaboration project launched by New Mexico-based Architecture 2030. District boundaries established in Seattle, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Denver stay within a relatively circular pattern and do not include single-family homes.
But local organizers have decided to go with a linear boundary surrounding the center city section of the San Antonio River and is formulating a plan to include stand-alone homes as well.
"I guess we just like to break the rules here," said Heather Holdridge, Lake/Flato Architects' sustainability manager and lead organizer of the local 2030 District. The launch was also the first public event held at the new American Institute of Architects' San Antonio chapter office in Southtown.
Architecture 2030 is a nonprofit that challenges cities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from building operations via energy-saving design and planning tactics.
Founder and Architect Edward Mazria's research in the early 2000s found that while transportation and other industries shoulder a lot of the GHG guilt, the bigger villain is buildings: more than 70% of electricity in the U.S. is used to operate buildings and the building sector consumes nearly half of all energy produced.
[Read More: Architects: ‘No One Else Can Solve Climate Change’]
Area Real Estate's commitment means the participation of several downtown buildings within the district's boundaries including residential and commercial properties like the former Taco Land property and 1221 Broadway.
Commitment can mean different things, depending on how involved the property manager/owner wants to be, Holdridge explained to curious attendees. At minimum it's simple data sharing (electricity bills, statistical information) but there will be opportunities to participate in forums, strategy sessions, and technical/internal committees.
"We'll officially be a district once a governing structure is established," said Holdridge. Plans to find a nonprofit to take the project under its wing have already paid off – three entities (Build San Antonio Green, AIA San Antonio and the regional South-Central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resources) have already volunteered to do so.
"It's still developing and evolving as we go along," Holdridge said of the still-flexible nature of the district – even the specific boundaries are negotiable at this point. "If you have property just outside the boundary and want to be a part of it, let us know and we'll redraw the lines."
The District will be highly collaborative as the nature of sustainability projects stretches across many industries and stakeholders. Effecting climate change is the ultimate goal, but that mission falls in line with many organization/department's purview, including SA2020, Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG), the Office of Sustainability and more.
"The goals of the 2030 District effort is reducing the amount of energy and water ..That's certainly in line with air quality issues," AACOG Natural Resources Director Peter Bella said while mingling among the crowd of about 100 attendees throughout the night. AACOG is the agency tasked with addressing air quality issues in the region. "I have to whole heartedly support their goals."
Beyond the numerical similarities, the San Antonio 2030 District also has many overlapping interests with SA2020; environmental sustainability, downtown development, healthy neighborhoods, etc.
"SA2020 has set performance goals and this is a strategy to get there," Holdridge said. "The (2030) District is now in their toolkit – a mechanism that helps achieve those goals."
The local AIA office was filled with a sea of diverse backgrounds – architects, real estate agents, students, waitresses, professors, and downtown residents – and more rooms in the center city will follow suit as San Antonio's newest sustainability district plants roots in a building near you.
For more information on how to become a district sponsor, participating property manager/owner or how to get involved in any capacity, visit the San Antonio 2030 District's Facebook page or contact Heather Holdridge at email@example.com.
Download the Property Owner/Manager Commitment Letter here.