Why wait until the deadline to meet a goal when you can do it ahead of time? Last February, Pittsburgh's 2030 District announced that it was halfway toward its signatory goal eight months ahead of schedule. Now, the 2030 District is ahead of its 2015 energy use reduction goals, according to the inaugural progress report on the region released by Green Building Alliance (GBA), the organization spearheading the district's development and progress.

The 2030 District aims to have 100 percent of downtown Pittsburgh property owners commit to reducing their water and energy use and transportation emissions by 50 percent by 2030. Currently almost 40 property owners representing 109 buildings and 35 million square feet of real estate are participating in the district.

As milestones along the path to the 2030 target, the district's leaders set goals to reduce the energy and water use of existing buildings and infrastructure, along with current transportation carbon dioxide emissions, by at least 10 percent each below the national average by 2015. From there, the reduction targets increase in stringency to reach the ultimate 50 percent reduction goal. Under the program, new buildings, major renovations, and infrastructure must have an immediate reduction of 50 percent below the national average energy use, and 50 percent reductions below the district's average water use and transportation emissions. These reductions also increase in stringency as time passes.

How are they faring? First-year data shows that the aggregated site energy use index (EUI) for the 2030 District (total energy consumption reported divided by the total square footage of reporting properties) is 11.6 percent below the established baseline (set as EUI data from the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey of 2003). The GBA reports that the reduction, which passes the 2015 goal by 1.6 percent, is the equivalent of removing 7,748 homes from the electric grid. The GBA also works with district participants to determine specific baselines taking into account building use, operational characteristics such as hours of operation, and Pittsburgh's climate.

While the District is faring well in energy use reductions, however, water use reductions aren't complete. District baselines are only available for office buildings over 50,000 square feet in size, and currently 72 percent of reporting properties are consuming water above the established baseline. Four properties are operating at or below the 2015 reduction goals, according to the report. The District is also still in the process of establishing a transportation emissions baseline, and GBA expects this to be completed by June, according to the report.

Click here to access the full report.