To further torture a hackneyed phrase, “It takes a village ... to create a sustainable community.” How else to harness all the elements needed to accomplish the goals outlined in the 2030 Challenge on a broad basis if not in cooperation? No single developer, utility, or planning department could do it alone. Enter Seattle: In February of 2011, the city launched an ambitious project, a high-performance building district encompassing 83 square miles and nearly 600,000 people. The Seattle 2030 District was designed to achieve dramatic reductions in energy use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and water use by radically changing how buildings and projects are operated, maintained, planned, designed, and constructed. And perhaps more ambitious, how people think.

For an introduction to the Seattle 2030 District, check out this lively and informative six-minute video produced by the Seattle 2030 District Planning Committee:

Following 18 months of discussions started in 2009 and a little start-up funding from the EPA, more than 60 founding community members, including building owners and operators, architects, engineers, and neighborhood stakeholders, formed a nonprofit organization to coordinate and promote this broad spectrum effort. The Seattle 2030 District Planning Committee set ambitious goals for the District, including 60% reduction in energy use in new buildings by 2015 and carbon neutrality by 2030, as well as a 50% reduction in energy use in existing buildings by 2030. Along the way, the District also hopes to achieve a 10% reduction in energy use in all buildings by 2015 and a 10% reduction in vehicle miles traveled within the District by 2015.

To keep track of progress, the District partnered with clean-tech software firm Lucid to provide District members with complimentary building performance dashboards. Lucid also worked with to create a 2030 District Dashboard, unveiled this month, which aggregates performance-data from individual building dashboards to track the overall progress of the District over time. FrontRunner, a Seattle software company and member of the 2030 District, provided VehicleRunner transportation footprint data-gathering software now incorporated into the 2030 Building Dashboard. The District Dashboard is available online at