• 2016 SA Tomorrow Sustainability Awards

    The City of San Antonio’s Office of Sustainability is excited to announce the 2nd Annual SA Tomorrow Sustainability Awards, an event showcasing breakthroughs and innovations addressing the three pillars of sustainability – social, economic and environmental. Previously known as the Green Building Awards, the SA Tomorrow Sustainability Awards spotlight the City of San Antonio’s SA Tomorrow initiative.

    The SA Tomorrow Sustainability Awards will honor individuals, programs, projects and building structures that promote sustainability through engagement with the people who use it and the environment that surrounds it. The awards feature categories for new commercial and residential construction and retrofit projects. The City of San Antonio has expanded the timeframe of eligible projects and structures initiated or constructed between Jan. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2015.

    Nominations are now open! 

    To Apply, please choose a nomination category from the list below, download and fill out the form, and submit it no later than August 26th, 2016. Directions for how to submit and any additional information you will need are provided on the forms.

    SA Tomorrow is a three-plan approach to guide San Antonio toward smart, sustainable growth with efforts to preserve our resources and quality of life. The initiative aims to address issues of importance to the entire community including air and water quality, energy efficiency, transportation, jobs and housing through the following plans: the Comprehensive Plan, the Sustainability Plan and the Multimodal Transportation Plan.

    For more information on the SA Tomorrow Sustainability Awards, contact Douglas Melnick, Office of Sustainability at (210) 207-1721 or by email at douglas.melnick@sanantonio.gov.


    Organizational Practitioner Nomination

    Individual Practitioner Nomination

    Project Nomination

    Bill Sinkin Solar Technology Nomination

    Sustainable Programs Nomination

  • SA Next 2016

  • District-Scale Sustainability

    Welcome to the BSAG Influencers Blog Series! This is a new series of articles from friends and colleagues from our community discussing topics relating to sustainability and green building in San Antonio. We hope that this series will help provide some perspective and insight into what’s happening on the Green Front right here at home. The articles are meant as conversational in nature and therefore do not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opinions of Build San Antonio Green or it’s staff.
    With that said, Please enjoy our very first article in this series by Heather Holdridge!

    I have worked with energy and sustainability issues for building projects for the past eight years and have been intrigued by the interconnection between these individual buildings and other elements of the built environment (neighboring buildings, utilities, people, transportation, etc.).  The highest potential for energy and water savings occurs at this interconnection, yet building professionals typically do not get the opportunity to work on projects beyond the individual building scale.  When Architecture 2030 launched “2030 Districts” a few years ago, I took notice, as it seemed like a great model for San Antonio to apply in a unique way.

    Over the past few months, a group of local architects, activists, and properties owners have formed a San Antonio 2030 District Exploratory Committee.  San Antonio will be the first 2030 District to have a boundary that is linear; The boundary will follow the San Antonio River through downtown, stretching from Brackenridge Park in the north to Roosevelt Avenue in the south, and will cover most of downtown between I-10 and I-35.  Within these borders are many of the large downtown offices and hotels, the development at Pearl, UTSA’s downtown campus, and over 5 million square feet of city-owned properties. The San Antonio 2030 District will also be the first 2030 District to incorporate land use goals into its targets, and the first to allow residential properties to participate.

    The first 2030 District was formed in Seattle in 2011, when a group of architects was inspired by tapping into the incredible potential to decrease energy consumption of existing buildings.  133 buildings totally 28 million square feet have joined, which accounts for 37% of the square footage within the district boundary.  So far, the Seattle 2030 District has reduced its energy consumption by 21%, its water usage by 7%, and its transportation carbon emissions by 22%.

    A 2030 District is a defined area in a city where member building owners are committed to the goal of reducing consumption of energy, water, and transportation emissions by 50% by year 2030.  2030 District members are encouraged to share their utility bills as well as proven strategies for improved building performance.  As building owners begin to see improvement in their energy performance and a decrease in their utility bills, more buildings in the District will be encouraged to join.


    The motivation behind sharing utility data is that people tend to have a fatalistic view of paying bills.  That is, many of us receive a bill and pay it without giving much thought to the numbers.  Once District members share consumption data, individual buildings can compare their own energy use against similar buildings in the immediate area and many will implement strategies to realize potential savings.  At the same time, buildings that use less energy can disclose their best practices.  Without this ability to compare, buildings might consume 2 or 3 times more than similar, nearby buildings and never know about the potential savings.

    This district-scale approach to sustainability requires collaboration, leveraged financing, and shared resources through unique public/private partnerships.  Property owners and managers can come together with local governments, businesses, and community stakeholders to create a business model for urban sustainability.  Together, they can develop and implement creative strategies, best practices, and verification methods for measuring progress towards a common performance goal.


    Thirteen building owners and property managers (Alamo Architects, Alternivest, AREA Real Estate, Cleary Zimmermann Engineers, MWM and Associates, OCO Architects, Overland Partners, USAA Real Estate Company and Peloton Commercial Real Estate for One Riverwalk Place, San Antonio Housing Authority, San Antonio River Authority, Zurich International Properties, Lake|Flato Architects, and The Brooklynite) have signed on so far, and San Antonio could become the sixth official 2030 District in the nation once we formalize an agreement for 501c3 partnership. 

    For the San Antonio 2030 District, property owners/managers will not be required to achieve the goals of the District by legislative mandates, or as individuals.  Rather, adopters will achieve the San Antonio 2030 District goals as a collective group of property owners, property managers, and developers because full participation in the District brings collaboration, shared resources, and financing options that will make high-performance buildings the most profitable building type in San Antonio.  There are no fees for San Antonio 2030 District membership at this time.

    Adopters support the goals of the San Antonio 2030 District, which are to meet the following performance goals on a district-wide scale:

    Existing buildings and infrastructure operations:

    • Energy use: A minimum 10% reduction below the national average by 2015, with incremental targets, reaching a 50% reduction by 2030
    • Water use: A minimum 10% reduction below the national average by 2015, with incremental targets, reaching a 50% reduction by 2030
    • CO2­e of auto and freight: A minimum 10% reduction below the current District average by 2015 with incremental targets, reaching a 50% reduction by 2030
    • Land Use: A minimum of 10% retrofits to include low-impact development best management practices by 2015, with an incremental target of reaching 50% of retrofits by 2030

    New buildings, major renovations, and new infrastructure:

    • Energy use: An immediate 60% reduction below the national average, with incremental targets, reaching carbon neutral by 2030
    • Water use: An immediate 50% reduction below the current national average
    • CO2e of auto and freight: An immediate 50% reduction below the current District average
    • Land use: A minimum of 10% of plats to include low-impact development best management practices by 2015, with an incremental target of reaching 50% of plats by 2030

    The San Antonio 2030 District also supports sustainable land use and management practices and low impact development to protect water and air quality throughout the District boundary.


    Adopter Benefits:

    The San Antonio 2030 District is in the process of developing tools which will be available to property owners, property managers, or developers who become adopters:

    • Operational cost savings: The primary direct benefit of making progress toward the District goals
    • ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager: Assistance with account setup and initial upload of utility data, and ongoing Portfolio Manager training as required
    • Initial benchmarking: Confidential analysis on building performance data in relation to District goals as well as similar building types within the District and nationwide
    • Preliminary assessment: Breakdown of cost and resulting savings of efficiency strategies to meet District goals
    • Access to and guidance for financing opportunities: Information on utility incentives, tax incentives, available financing options (such as ESCo, PACE, performance contracting, etc. as well as traditional mechanisms), and connection to professional partners in the energy retrofit finance sector
    • Founding adopters: The first ten adopters in the San Antonio 2030 District will be highlighted as founding adopters on the San Antonio 2030 District website and may use this designation for marketing purposes
    • Forum discussions: Informal and formal gatherings will be organized to provide adopters the opportunity to share information and best practices


    Adopter Contributions:

    In exchange for adopter benefits, adopters are asked to participate in the development of the District in the following ways:

    • Sharing of performance data: Confidential sharing of building energy use, water use, and transportation management plan data with the SA2030D Advisory Committee.  Aggregate data about the District will be made publicly available but no individual building will be identified.
    • Participation in Portfolio Manager: Use of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to track monthly energy use for each building
    • Lessons learned and case studies: Share insights in best practices, lessons learned, and case studies with the SA2030D Advisory Committee to help raise the level of performance across the District
    • Support for the San Antonio 2030 District Board of Directors (optional): Participation in District decision-making, evaluation of District membership criteria for property owners and stakeholders, mentorship for small/sole proprietor property owner and managers


    If you own or manage a property in or near the San Antonio 2030 District, please contact our group so we can talk about signing up for the initiative.  This is a landmark opportunity for San Antonio to take the national stage for its leadership in sustainability, as our approach will demonstrate the city’s unique culture of collaboration.

    HHoldridgeHeather Gayle Holdridge, LEED AP BD+C, EIT, Associate AIA is the Sustainability Manager at Lake|Flato Architects, a San Antonio-based design firm focused on timeless sustainable architecture that is rooted to its place.  You can follow the firm’s blog at www.lakeflatodogrun.com.  Heather is also a member of Build San Antonio Green’s Technical Advisory Group. 

    If you are interested in participating in the blog series please contact Jacob Eyer the Event & Outreach Coordinator at Jeyer@buildsagreen.org