Public-private partnership launches Stamford 2030 District

Sixth city as model district for urban sustainability in the U.S., first in New England

October 9, 2014

Laura McMillan, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, 203-787-0646 x137
Lisa Mercurio, The Business Council of Fairfield County, 203-705-0683

Stamford, Conn.—Stamford is joining the ranks of leading-edge cities across the country as it launches the Stamford 2030 District, an initiative of 23 property owners and community and professional partners working toward the goal of cleaner and greener commercial and other large-scale buildings.

Megan Saunder, executive director of Stamford 2030 (second from left) is joined by Don Strait, president of CFE (third from left) and other founding partners at the launch. Photo credit Laura McMillan.
Megan Saunder, executive director of Stamford 2030 (second from left) is joined by Don Strait, president of CFE (third from left) and other founding partners at the launch. Photo credit Laura McMillan.

“Stamford is already a business leader in Connecticut. The Stamford 2030 District will make the city a sustainability leader nationwide,” said Megan Saunders, executive director of the Stamford 2030 District. “As just the sixth 2030 District in the nation, we’re in the vanguard of a movement of private sector pioneers coming together to reduce energy use, water use, and transportation emissions. And we’re going to take it a step further: The Stamford 2030 District and our partners will work to increase our community’s and local economy’s resilience to storms and sea-level rise.”

Not surprisingly, the built environment—commercial and municipal office buildings as well as multi-family housing—is a large consumer of natural resources and generator of emissions.

“This initiative will further strengthen Stamford’s commitment to combat the effects of climate change,” said David Martin, Mayor of the City of Stamford.

2030 Districts, initiated by the non-profit research organization Architecture 2030, are unique private/public partnerships bringing property owners and managers to meet the energy and resource reduction targets of the 2030 Challenge for Planning, while providing a business model for urban sustainability. Through collaboration, leveraged financing, and shared resources, they benchmark, develop, and implement creative strategies, best practices, and verification methods for measuring progress towards a common goal.

“As one of Stamford’s largest commercial property owners, it is imperative that we continue to demonstrate our on-going and total commitment to sustainability,” said Jay Black, Director of Sustainability, Reckson – a division of SL Green and founding member of Stamford 2030 District. “The 2030 Districts’ initiative aligns with Reckson’s core goals that drive our robust environmental program to improve efficiency, reduce consumption, and provide healthier work environments.”

Currently the cities of Seattle, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Denver and Los Angeles have established 2030 Districts. Stamford is the first city in New England to establish a 2030 District.

“On behalf of Architecture 2030 and the 2030 Districts Network, we applaud the drive and initiative of Stamford’s partners as they strive to collectively and voluntarily meet the challenges confronting our urban landscapes,” said Edward Mazria, Founder & CEO of Architecture 2030.

Why Stamford?
The Connecticut Fund for the Environment and The Business Council of Fairfield County began working with key corporate leaders and experts in energy efficient architectural design in early 2013, to explore the potential of a 2030 District in Stamford. It immediately became apparent that, with many older buildings, in an expensive energy market, facing climate change, sea-level rise and more severe weather events, property owners faced a choice. They could reinvest in the city’s commercial and multi-family housing stock and continue to reap the benefits of a great geographic location or they could simply try to maintain a status quo, in effect, accepting inevitable declines in value.

“CFE has known for a long time that our environment and our economy are inextricably entwined,” said Don Strait, president of Connecticut Fund for the Environment. “Our cities are most vibrant and our quality of life is highest when we have healthy air, clean water, low-emissions transportation options, and business leaders who are invested in the well-being of the community.”

“Our companies are national and global leaders in sustainable and environmental practices within their businesses and they want their impact in Stamford to reflect that philosophy,” commented Christopher Bruhl, president & CEO, The Business Council of Fairfield County. “Our building owners understand the importance of protecting and enhancing assets. The two groups make natural partners in this venture.”

Through support provided by The Kresge Foundation, The John Merck Fund, The Vervane Foundation, and CEFIA, the Stamford 2030 District has gone from design to launch in seven months, establishing a Stamford presence, hiring an executive director and building a network of founding members.

Founding members led by building owners and community partners
We are pleased to announce the 23 founding members of the Stamford 2030 District are a network of 12 property owners and managers (The Ashforth Company, Aquarion Water Company, CBRE, Charter Oak Communities, City of Stamford, Ferguson Library System, First County Bank, JLL, New Neighborhoods Inc., Reckson – a Division of SL Green, Jonathan Rose Companies and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation); eight community partners (The Business Council of Fairfield County, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Connecticut’s Green Bank/CEFIA, the Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Downtown Special Services District, the Interfaith Council of Southwestern Connecticut, SoundWaters, Inc. and Sustainable America); and three professional partners (Connecticut Light & Power, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and Steven Winter Associates, Inc.).

“For 25 years Jonathan Rose Companies has been focused on the environmentally responsible development and re-positioning of real estate within transit-oriented, forward-thinking, diverse cities. Such cities, more than ever, are attracting financial investment and retaining strong talent” commented founding member Caroline Vary, Director of Jonathan Rose Companies’ Connecticut Office. “We look forward to building upon the expertise of our peer markets and expanding efforts in Stamford to create high performing, low-environmental impact real estate that bolsters Stamford’s upward trajectory of attracting and retaining investment and talent.”

The Stamford 2030 District, with the support of our founding members, will be able to apply the national standards of the 2030 Districts, utilize the most up-to-date technology, and work with our utilities to meet measurable standards of decreasing the effects of climate change.

“The Connecticut Green Bank is excited by the potential of this initiative for Stamford,” said Jessica Bailey, Director, Commercial and Industrial Programs, CGB. “Building owners throughout the state have made great strides in upgrading systems and technology in their buildings. The commitment being made here will put Stamford on par with the nation’s cutting-edge cities.”

# # #

The Business Council of Fairfield County
The Business Council of Fairfield County is a member-driven organization, providing a wide range of services to Fairfield County based firms, including legislative advocacy, economic development initiatives, networking programs, leadership training and more.

Connecticut Fund for the Environment
Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound work to protect and improve the land, air, and water of Connecticut and Long Island Sound. The organization uses legal and scientific expertise and brings people together to achieve results that benefit our environment for current and future generations. CFE/Save the Sound lobbies in Hartford to affect environmental policy, defends environmental protections in the courts, and directs on-the-ground projects that repair damaged habitats, reduce burdens on infrastructure, and create local jobs.

2030 Districts Network
2030 Districts, an initiative of Architecture 2030, are designated urban areas committed to meeting the energy, water, and transportation emissions reduction targets of the 2030 Challenge for Planning. Led by the private sector, 2030 Districts represent over 140 million square feet of commercial buildings in downtown business districts working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a district scale, realizing the benefits of multiple building owners, operators, and occupants working together to share resources, leverage financing, and implement collective strategies.

Architecture 2030
Architecture 2030 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research organization with the mission of rapidly transforming the built environment from the major contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to a central part of the solution to the climate and energy crises. Architecture 2030 pursues two primary objectives:
• the dramatic reduction in global fossil fuel consumption and GHG emissions of the built environment by changing the way cities, communities, infrastructure, and buildings, are planned, designed, and constructed 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.

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