Green Umbrella in the News

  • April 19, 2022 4:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Spectrum News

    GreenCharge: Event Focuses on Making Cincinnati Leader in Sustainability, Climate Tech

    By Casey Weldon

    April 19 2022

    CINCINNATI – When you think of tech and startups, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t likely to be the environment or climate change. But a new event in Cincinnati focuses on just that.

    World Earth Day is Friday. To commemorate it, the organization Startup Cincy will host a mini-conference at Union Hall in Over-the-Rhine on Wednesday centered on building a local ecosystem for green leadership and innovation.

    The event, titled GreenCharge, will bring together tech entrepreneurs, business leaders, elected officials and sustainability experts for an afternoon of discussion about climate change and Cincinnati’s response to it.

    There will be three panels focused on the business aspects of going green – from startups to massive corporations. Topics include attracting talent to corporate responsibility.

    A major focus is climate tech, or technologies explicitly focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the affects of global warming. Climate tech represents “$2.5 trillion opportunity” for greater Cincinnati, according to Pete Blackshaw, CEO of the startup accelerator Cintrifuse.

    The event starts at 3:30 p.m.

    “We’ve assembled a stellar panel of speakers to debate the leadership and talent requirements for winning in this space,” Blackshaw said. “We’ll also go deep on important questions around the convergence of sustainability and equity.”

    Greater Cincinnati tops national scorecards in green rankings, and corporate leaders recently pledged to host first-ever “zero waste” World Cup, Blackshaw said. He praised City Hall for recent environmental efforts, including committing to have an entirely electric fleet, including public safety vehicles, by 2035.

    “Startups like 80 Acres Farms are reshaping the global landscape of sustainable, healthy food, and our Mayor (Aftab Pureval) and City Council literally rode bikes together to their swearing-in ceremony,” he added.

    Pureval and City Council recently announced funding to update the Green Cincinnati Plan, the city’s guidebook for creating environmentally conscious policies. The city updates the plan every five years.

    A key player in the Green Cincinnati Plan process is Green Umbrella, a nonprofit that brings together a regional cohort of governments, corporations and nonprofits to tackle environmental and sustainability issues.

    They’ll help host the GreenCharge event along with Cintrifuse, FlyWheel Social Accelerator and Alloy Development Co., formerly known as HCDC.

    Ryan Mooney-Bullock, executive director of Green Umbrella, described the event as an opportunity to hear from employers like MadTree Brewing and Ingage Partners about how they’ve created a “highly engaged workforce through a variety of ESG and employee engagement strategies.”

    ESG stands for environmental, social and governance, and it’s used to describe company goals beyond profits and revenue.

    Mooney-Bullock will moderate a panel on attracting and keeping talent through “green goals” and employee engagement.

    “When a company takes action to improve its sustainability—whether that is by decreasing energy or water use, improving fuel efficiency or decreasing waste to landfill—they are most often also decreasing costs because they are using less of a resource,” she said.

    The benefits aren’t just financial, Mooney-Bullock said. Seeing their employer committed to a positive impact on the planet can be “hugely motivating for employees,” she added. She cited a 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey that showed 62% of millennials wanted to work for a company that makes a positive impact and 84% considered it their duty to make a positive impact through their lifestyle.

    A study published in Harvard Business Review (“The Comprehensive Business Case for Sustainability”) showed a company’s engagement in sustainability creates a culture that employees want to be in.

    “Turnover is extremely expensive for companies,” Mooney-Bullock said, so investing in sustainable practices can both attract and keep top talent.

    One company that’s seen those benefits firsthand is MadTree Brewing Company. MadTree's co-founder, Kenny McNutt, will wrap up the day with an on-stage interview about the brewery's environmental efforts.

    Sustainability and innovation are core elements of MadTree’s business model, according to Rhiannon Hoeweler, the Cincinnati-based brewery’s director of strategic impact. They believe in that mission so much that the company’s name and logo feature a tree.

    “We couldn’t be more excited to share why sustainability and impact are important to the core of our business and also reflect on how it’s beginning to pay dividends in our recruiting and staffing efforts,” Hoeweler said.

    MadTree is striving for B Corporation (or B-Corp) status, which is a certification of for-profit companies related to their social and environmental performance.

    The brewery posts an annual impact report on their website. The most recent year on file is 2020. During that year, they planted 2,193 trees and recycled 36,400 plastic handles.

    Inside the MadTree taproom, customers can toss a buck to go to nonprofits they partner with via 1% for the Planet.

    All spent grain from the brewing process gets fed to cows at a farm about 29 miles away from MadTree's Oakley facility.

    The brewery is also part of Cincinnati’s 2030 District, a collection of property owners, developers and commercial tenants who’ve committed to reduce their carbon footprint by 50% by the year 2030. They’ll do so by finding innovative ways to cut down on energy use, water consumption and transportation emissions.

    The District recently added a member and now up to 44 partners. As a group, the District currently includes 319 buildings and 28.1 million square feet of space that aim to reach that goal.

    “Sustainability and impact have always been part of the MadTree story, and we now have a position and programming in place that allow us to amplify our voice in the community around the work,” Hoeweler said.

    Access the article from its source here.

  • March 22, 2022 4:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Movers & Makers Cincinnati

    By Katie Fiorelli

    March 22, 2022

    Wade Johnston has brought a vision of a connected, vibrant, cutting-edge Cincinnati closer to reality this past year as the director of Tri-State Trails.

    “We want to put Cincinnati on the map and think the trails will do that,” Johnston said.

    Wasson Way Wasson Way

    For the past seven years, Johnston has led Tri-State Trails, organized in 2012 by Green Umbrella, Greater Cincinnati’s 20-year-old member-, individual- and foundation-supported environmental sustainability alliance. The trails organization is an alliance of community advocates whose mission is to connect people and places with a regional trail and bikeway network that enhances vibrancy and equity.

    Rethinking the organization

    Johnston and his organization kicked off 2022 by reorganizing the way it operates and meets, with momentum from successfully raising $10 million from private sources to leverage $44 million in public funding for the high-profile project called the CROWN – Cincinnati Riding Or Walking Network. 

    CROWN is a vision for a 100-mile transportation network made up of multi-use trails and on-road bike lanes. It will result in Cincinnati’s first-ever urban trail loop by connecting several key regional trails that are currently noncontiguous – Ohio River Trail, Little Miami Scenic Trail, Wasson Way, and Murray Path. By constructing key connectors between these trails, the CROWN will complete the eastern 24-mile portion of a 34-mile loop.

    Johnston studied urban planning at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, where biking around the city became a passion. 

    Wade Johnston of Tri-State TrailsWade Johnston of Tri-State Trails

    “When you’re young and impressionable, it’s easy to envision how your life can be hyper local, how a bike can change the way you think about transportation and proximity to goods and services,” Johnston said.

    While the CROWN – which attracted funding from P&G, Kroger Health, United Dairy Farmers and 450 businesses, foundations and individuals – is the highest profile project, Johnston’s organization is bringing together a far wider consortium of public and private organizations, spanning both sides of the Ohio River and reaching north into Butler and Warren counties.

    Private funding will prove vital, as construction projects are feeling the squeeze of the supply-chain crisis, with Johnston reporting 20% to 30% increases in the cost of materials and labor. Still, silver linings remain.

    Huge increase in usage

    “During the pandemic, so many people turned to parks, trails, and outdoor spaces as a place of refuge for mental and physical health,” Johnston said. “Trail use increased dramatically. We documented 14 million miles traveled on the trail system in 2019; in 2020, we documented 22.7 million miles.”

    2022 will mark the sixth year of Tri-State Trails monitoring trail usage across the region. Using data as a membership perk, the organization plans to launch a membership model to help keep expansion going.

    Beyond donating to the CROWN, local businesses are embracing it, launching new ventures to capitalize on increased foot (and bike) traffic. In 2021, Busken Bakery launched a walk-up window near Edwards and Madison as a convenient way to grab a coffee or donut while traveling the Wasson Way Trail. Listermann Brewing Co. opened the Listermann Trail House at the western point of Wasson Way’s current trail, where walkers, bikers and joggers can drop in for pizza and beer.

    More to come

    In terms of additional trailside amenities, Johnston encourages patience.

    “We are laser focused on the asphalt for now,” he said, “but are looking forward to enhancing the trail with public art, landscaping and lighting. We will do that by building support for more public funding.”

    The CROWN team is currently designing signage and wayfinding systems for the whole network that will link up all the trails, and are considering the Roebling Bridge as a potential spot to officially “launch” the trail.

    Wasson WayWasson Way

    While Cincinnatians have largely shown support for the CROWN, some questions have been raised about safety on the trail. Johnston is well-aware of the concerns.

    “One of our largest goals is to find funding to construct lighting along the trails,” said Johnston. “However, in general, trails have been proven to reduce crime. With more people walking and biking in an area, it discourages people from conducting illicit activities in the space. Keep in mind, parts of what will become the CROWN were derelict rail corridors that no one is monitoring. By building a trail, we are making it an attractive public place.”

    How you can help

    Tri-State Trails is organizing a number of ways for people to get involved:

    Active Transportation Coalition, a semiannual open gathering of citizens interested in transportation issues. The first meeting was March 23.

    Regional Trail & Bikeway Committee, a quarterly meeting of professionals and practitioners.

    13th annual “Breakfast on the Bridge,” May 20.

    “Ales for Trails,” benefiting the CROWN, July 1.

    Tri-State Trails Trail Summit, Oct. 26.

    The organization has narrowed its governing body from a 20-member executive committee, in place since the organization’s formation, to a leadership council consisting of Matt Butler and Jody Robinson, Devou Good Foundation; Frances Mennone, Frost Brown Todd; Sean McGrory, Wasson Way and CROWN; Ryan Mooney-Bullock, Green Umbrella; Todd Palmeter, Great Parks of Hamilton County; and Tanner Yess, Groundwork Ohio River Valley.

    Johnston’s enthusiasm for the project, and its potential to help transform Cincinnati’s image into that of a modern, top-tier city, radiates throughout his work.

    “More people are choosing to ride or walk to work,” he said. “We’re getting cars off the road, reducing air emissions, and helping people live healthier lives. When it comes to attraction and retention of talent, they are looking for the types of amenities the CROWN offers. For the first time in 60 years, the last census registered population growth. We want to be on the list of ‘Great Cities for Active Living,’ and that’s within reach, becoming a reality in our lifetime.”

  • February 16, 2022 4:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    By Tana Weingartner

    February 16, 2022

    topical trail mapCourtesy/Great Parks: The trail will extend from the West Fork Mill Creek Greenway Trail through Glenwood Gardens, connecting into the Harbor Loop Trail in Winton Woods.

    Great Parks of Hamilton County reports it has the final piece of funding for a plan to connect several trail systems. The park district says it's been awarded a $6 million federal grant to complete the Glenwood Gardens to Winton Woods Trail.

    The federal transportation funds are distributed by the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program.

    The planned trail extension is 3.6 miles, reaching from the West Fork Mill Creek Greenway Trail through Glenwood Gardens to the Harbor Loop Trail in Winton Woods.

    Work is slated to begin in 2025 on this section of the trail. All together, the multi-use trail will connect 9 miles, passing through Forest Park, Greenhills, Woodlawn, Springfield Township and a wooded area of the Glenview Golf Course.

    "This grant further highlights Great Parks' leadership in regional trail development which was the public's top priority in the development of the Great Parks Comprehensive Master Plan," writes Todd Palmeter, CEO of Great Parks in a release. "The Master Plan also calls for building more partnerships with trail-building entities and increasing the level of service for trails, both keys to this project."

    The first phase of the project — building a bus stop, crosswalk and sidewalk near Glenwood Gardens at the existing end of the West Fork Mill Creek Greenway Trail — is slated to begin in 2023.

    "This path builds on a broader vision to link major greenspaces in the Mill Creek Valley with a regional trail network," writes Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails, in the release. "Over time, we hope to connect this corridor to Cincinnati's CROWN trail network to the south, the Great Miami River Trail to the north, and Sharon Woods to the east."

  • February 16, 2022 4:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    By Lucy May

    February 16, 2022

    Clifton Ave Bike LaneA rider on the Clifton Avenue protected bike lane.

    Cycling in Cincinnati could get a whole lot easier and safer in the next few years.

    The city of Cincinnati is looking to expand the city's current network of bike lanes to provide better access for cyclists, starting with Downtown and Over-the-Rhine and working out to the rest of the city in stages. Next up is the West Side.

    And bike path effort CROWN recently announced it has received another $10 million toward its ambition of connecting Cincinnati's 52 neighborhoods via a network of trails and other bike infrastructure.

    What is next for biking in Cincinnati? And what still needs to be done? Joining Cincinnati Edition to talk about that are city of Cincinnati Department of Transportation and Engineering Director John Brazina; Tristate Trails Executive Director Wade Johnston; and Queen City Bike Board Member and avid bicycle commuter Kathy Cunningham.

    Listen to the interview here.

  • February 10, 2022 4:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Institute for Sustainable Communities

    By Krystal-Rose Agu

    February 10, 2022

    A community near downtown Cincinnati, Ohio in June 2020. Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash.

    In a region where climbing summer temperatures and floods are on the rise, Green Umbrella steps in as Greater Cincinnati’s core sustainability alliance.

    With partnership from the Institute for Sustainable Communities and other equity-based climate groups, the organization gears up to launch its Regional Climate Collaborative in June to center equity and climate preparedness in government planning processes.

    Green Umbrella pulls in like-minded groups and individuals from 10 counties across Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Its Regional Climate Collaborative will function as a subset of the organization to coordinate climate solutions across jurisdictions, educate elected officials on equitable best practices and build local government capacity to take action.

    “The collaborative will provide resources and engagement opportunities for communities to advance equitable climate action strategies across Greater Cincinnati,” said Savannah Sullivan, climate policy lead at Green Umbrella. “We are excited to work with local governments and community partners to get the program up and running.”

    The Institute for Sustainable Communities is no stranger to working with the organization.

    “Sustainability and equity go hand in hand,” said Sonia Joshi, associate director of U.S. programs at the Institute for Sustainable Communities. “Green Umbrella shares this focus as it creates solutions for and within its communities.”

    In 2021, Green Umbrella partnered with the Institute for Sustainable Communities’ Regional Collaborations for Equitable Climate Solutions pilot program to learn community-focused best practices through three days of workshops. Green Umbrella invited five additional leaders to join the workshops, including Groundwork Ohio River Valley, Hamilton County Public Health, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio and the Village of Silverton, Ohio.

    The takeaway from those workshops: Elevate local voices.

    “You can do a lot of climate work and still perpetuate issues that make communities most vulnerable,” said Daniel Dickerman, program officer at the Institute for Sustainable Communities who led some of those workshops.

    For example, solar power is a renewable energy source that can mitigate the use of fossil fuels. However, those with the most wealth are often the ones who can afford to upgrade to solar energy. This leaves the task of covering the remaining electric grid to those with lower incomes, increasing their energy costs, Dickerman said.

    Alliances like Green Umbrella’s Regional Climate Collaborative ensures those who bear the brunt of climate change are at the front of the decision-making and solution-generating table, he said.

    The Institute for Sustainable Communities and Green Umbrella will continue to work together as part of the Institute’s newest initiative, the Urban Equity Compact, set to launch later this year. The compact will provide coaching, training and technical assistance to teams working on community-centered climate issues.

  • February 01, 2022 3:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: UC News

    By Angela Koenig

    February 1, 2022

    In a new report, Cincinnati leaders and residents can now see how each of the city’s 56 neighborhoods fare regarding climate factors.

    Professor Carlie Trott, in UC’s Department of Psychology, authored the report and sees it as the foundation of a broad range of decision-making and action to provide redress to the inequities it details.

    “We can think about 200,000 trees and we’re going to give 'X' amount to every neighborhood. But an equity perspective actually kind of takes a step back, looks at the realities in different neighborhoods and things about, where do we need to direct resources to prevent future climate harms?" she says, citing disparities in tree cover as one example.

    The report, hosted on the Office of Environment and Sustainability (OES) website, is a collaboration between the city, the University of Cincinnati, residents and community partners — including Green Umbrella, billed as the regional sustainability alliance of Greater Cincinnati, and nonprofit Groundwork Ohio River Valley.

    Listen to the WVXU interview with Dr. Trott

    Read more about the report

  • January 19, 2022 3:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: UC Engaging Science

    By Meg Corcoran

    January 19, 2022

    PEWs Faculty Affiliate Carlie Trott has collaborated with community partners to conduct research into the vulnerability of Cincinnati’s communities to climate change.

    The newly released Cincinnati Climate Equity Indicators Report was produced in collaboration with the Cincinnati Office of Environment and SustainabilityGreen Umbrella Regional Sustainability AllianceGroundwork Ohio River ValleyUniversity of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Climate Equity Steering Committee Members. This report includes details on the climate crisis, specifically the role climate risk factors play in the Cincinnati community.

    Here’s how the Cincinnati Office of Environment and Sustainability website summarizes the report:

    “The climate crisis acts like a risk multiplier, exploiting vulnerabilities and making existing problems worse. This report highlights key climate risks, and the geographic, social, and economic factors that should be considered in assessing vulnerability. This analysis will help the City and community partners develop strategies to build a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient future.”

    Read the full Climate Equity Indicators Report here.

  • January 15, 2022 10:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: Spectrum News

    By Casey Weldon

    CINCINNATI — After raising $10 million in private funding, Cincinnati is one step – or a very short bike ride – closer to the completion of the first phase of a 34-mile urban trail loop around the region.

    What You Need To Know

    • P&G, Kroger Health and UDF eached donated $1 million to help construct a 34-mile urban trail

    • CROWN aims to safely connect 54 greater Cincinnati neighborhoods via a multi-purpose trail

    • The initial goal is to link the Wasson Way, Little Miami Scenic and Ohio River trails and Murray Path

    • The effort is led by the organization Tri-State Trails

    Procter & Gamble (P&G) joined Kroger Health and UDF as major contributors to the capital campaign put forth by CROWN, which stands for the Cincinnati Riding Or Walking Network. It’s a grassroot effort led by the organization Tri-State Trails.

    The three corporations have each committed $1 million to the project as has the Marge and Charles J. Schott Foundation. 

    Tri-State Trails dubbed those major donors the “CROWN Jewel” partners as their financial contributions will go a long way toward helping to complete the project. The initial goal is to link the Wasson Way, Little Miami Scenic and Ohio River trails and Murray Path, a multi-purpose between Settle Road to Plainville Road along the old trolley line on greater Cincinnati's east side.

    In total, more than 450 businesses, foundations and individuals have contributed funds to the project so far, per Tri-State Trails.

    “Improving physical connections in our neighborhoods is foundational to improving the health, wealth, and future success of our region,” said Damon Jones, Chief Communications Officer for P&G. “An important part of P&G’s efforts to be a force for good and a force for growth is improving the quality-of-life where we live and work and doing so equitably. The CROWN helps deliver on that mission as it connects disparate communities across Cincinnati with a focus on equitable access to the many health, recreation, and transportation options the region has to offer.”

    The proposed CROWN multi-purpose path. (provided: CROWN)

    The proposed CROWN multi-purpose path. (provided: CROWN)

    The initial phase of the project will leverage $44 million in public funding and the $10 million in private donations to bring the vision for Cincinnati’s first-ever urban trail loop to fruition by connecting the several key regional trails that are currently noncontiguous. By constructing key connectors between these trails, Tri-State Trails said they will be able to complete the eastern 24-mile portion of the planned CROWN loop.

    Once complete, the CROWN will link to 54 communities around Cincinnati. Project partners said that will give them better connectivity to major destinations, like employment centers, universities, business districts, parks and attractions.

    In a release, project partners said the multi-use trail will also provide a safe transportation option for discovering the “best the region has to offer.”

    “Not only do trails offer a safe recreation and transportation opportunity for families in nearby neighborhoods, they also enhance the quality of life by creating stronger and more connected communities,” said Jan Portman, co-chair of the CROWN Campaign Cabinet. “We believe the CROWN will be a ribbon of positive energy surrounding our Queen City.”

    In December 2021, the city of Cincinnati opened the most recent phase of Wasson Way, routing through Ault Park in Hyde Park over a former rail trestle and connecting to the Murray Path at Old Red Bank Road. 

    The current trail corridor spans 5.6 miles from Xavier University to Mariemont, Ohio. Over the next two years, Wasson Way will extend another 2 miles westward through Xavier’s campus, connecting to the Avondale neighborhood and linking to the Uptown Innovation Corridor at MLK Jr. Drive, which is not far from the University of Cincinnati campus.

    Cincinnati City Council member Mark Jeffreys, a former P&G employee, tweeted that the news is “fantastic” for the region. A known bicycle advocate, Jeffreys has already spoken frequently about the city’s need to expand the local bike infrastructure, including expanding the protected bike lane on Central Parkway.

    Jeffreys joined Tri-State Trails, other cycling advocates and Mayor Aftab Pureval on a bike ride to Washington Park ahead of the inauguration ceremony for him and Cincinnati’s other newly elected leaders on Jan. 4.

    “This is fantastic news! Thank you Procter & Gamble for your continued support in the community. Now, we also need to build out the spokes to the CROWN - protected lanes that connect neighborhoods to it, jobs, shopping & recreation,” tweeted Jeffreys.

    Additional federal and state grant funding is being pursued to finish the Ohio River Trail from Lunken Airport to Downtown and to connect the Murray Path from Mariemont to the Little Miami Scenic Trail at Newtown Road.

    The CROWN project aims to add an additional 10 miles to its overall plan through additional fundraising and trails. Future efforts will also incorporate the Ohio River Trail WestMill Creek Greenway Trail, and Canal Bikeway.

    The nonprofit effort is led by Tri-State Trails, Wasson Way, and Ohio River Way. It is supported by a public-private partnership that includes the city of Cincinnati, Great Parks of Hamilton County and the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority.

    To learn more or donate, visit

  • January 13, 2022 3:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU 

    By Bill Rinehart

    January 13, 2022


    Solid green lines mark existing trails, while red dotted lines show the future trails planned in the CROWN Capital Campaign.

    Corporations, foundations and individuals have contributed $10 million to a shared-use trail system around Cincinnati. Tri-State Trails Director Wade Johnston says the CROWN Trail Loop will be a game-changer for the community.

    "Most obviously, people think of recreation, fitness, exercise," he says. "Having this freely accessible amenity in our community, touching neighborhoods, reconnecting neighborhoods that have been historically segregated because of the construction of the highway network."

    Johnston says the trail will give people another option for transportation, and should increase the number of people bicycling to work.

    "Right now we're really focused on getting the asphalt on the ground, but we know that that's going to encourage public art," he says. "It's going to encourage landscaping and planting trees, and it's going to encourage people to want to live near the trail, businesses to want to build things near the trail, to develop near the trail."

    Johnston says right now, Great Parks of Hamilton County is building a bridge over the Little Miami River to connect a couple of trails, and negotiations are underway to get the land to connect Lunken Airport with Downtown. He says there are also plans to build along the Mill Creek.

    "That part is not included in this portion of our campaign, but sometime in the future we hope to replicate this model and get the Mill Creek Trail finished and the Ohio River Trail connected from Lower Price Hill to Downtown," Johnson says. "And from there, we really believe this loop will be like a hub that will catalyze other trail connections - spurs that go out to other communities - more than just the loop."

    Johnson says the $10 million is a local match for federal grants. "With any of the federal or state funding that's awarded for projects, typically it's the range of 20% to 25% is required to be put up by that local jurisdiction or the applicant. And what our public-private partnership has accomplished has been the success in raising that funding that is needed so it doesn't put that burden on the city."

    The newest section of the Wasson Way Trail opened in December.

  • December 23, 2021 11:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: WVXU

    By Becca Costello

    Cincinnati 2030 District: Energy Reduction by Property.png

    Cincinnati 2030 District


    A group of more than 300 local buildings is well ahead of a goal to reduce energy consumption.

    Cincinnati's 2030 District is a partnership of businesses, developers and building managers committed to addressing climate change. Their goal was to reduce energy consumption at least 20% by 2020. A new report on data through the end of last year shows an average 30% reduction in energy use.

    "But what's notable is that the 2019 progress report already showed that the District was ahead of target," says Director Elizabeth Rojas. "So with those two data points, we can see that the District is really positioned very well to meet the goals of 50% reductions by 2030."

    Rojas says the pandemic had a significant impact on office buildings in particular, as many people worked from home in 2020.

    "With the pandemic, the early days especially, different buildings addressed the needs in different ways," she says. "Some of them ran their systems at higher capacities, and others actually shut down many of their systems because they may have been closed."

    The members are also working to reduce water consumption and transportation emissions. Rojas says the District is still finalizing the complicated metrics for measuring that data.

    Cincinnati is one of 23 2030 Districts in the U.S. Rojas says Cincinnati is one of the few to adopt a fourth focus area: healthy buildings. It's a guide to making buildings not just more energy-efficient, but also healthier for occupants.

    "This is really a unique program, not only because it looks at so many aspects of occupant health within the built environment, but also because it's addressing it at a community scale," Rojas says. "We really tailored this to focus on the community health needs that are most disconcerting in this area."

    For example, this region has one of the highest rates of particle pollution in the U.S. — and the Healthy Building Model includes strategies to improve indoor air quality.

    Rojas says other communities have reached out to learn more about the Cincinnati 2030 District's healthy buildings plan.

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