City Joins Federal Program To Lower Energy Bills In Low-Income Communities

DOE1

The City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) have jointly signed on to a federal program aimed at lowering energy bills in low-income communities through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

The City and PEA will take part in the Clean Energy for Low Income Communities Accelerator, a program of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).  By signing on to the Accelerator, the City and the PEA are committing to working with DOE to identify barriers to clean energy projects, to demonstrating successful approaches to increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy access, and to sharing resources and other information with partners.

“It’s clear that investing in energy efficiency is a smart way to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By working with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Philadelphia Energy Authority to target low-income households for clean energy projects, Philadelphia can also help to reduce the burden of high energy bills and create local jobs,” said Christine Knapp, Director of the Office of Sustainability.

Through Greenworks, the City’s sustainability framework, the Office of Sustainability leads a variety of energy management programs, such as the retrofit of the City’s four largest downtown buildings which is saving $1.4 million annually.

The Accelerator is an off-shoot of DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative which Philadelphia has participated in since 2011. Through that partnership, the City has worked with businesses and non-profit organizations to implement programs that reduce energy consumption in buildings, which are Philadelphia’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Philadelphia Energy Authority recently announced the launch of the Philadelphia Energy Campaign, which includes a focus on helping low-income residents reduce energy consumption through energy retrofits that can also help spur job creation.

City’s New Police Training Center Earns LEED Silver Certification

Police

The City of Philadelphia’s new Police Training Center in Northeast Philadelphia has earned a LEED Silver (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Projects pursuing LEED certification earn points across several areas that address sustainability issues.

The 78,000 sq.ft. building at 2838 Woodhaven Road was an $18 million renovation completed by the Department of Public Property. The state-of-the-art facility centralizes some of the police force’s key units, including the Training and Education Services Bureau, Advance Training Unit, and the Standards and Accountability Bureau.

Philly Prisons Receive EPA Award For Composting

Prisons

Last week, the Philadelphia Prisons System was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its innovative food recovery program. The City was among more than 800 governments, businesses, and organizations nationwide that participated in the 2015 EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge.

The Philadelphia Prisons System composts 1.35 tons of food waste each day, saving $31,000 annually in landfill fees. Along with the composting, the Prison System’s food recovery program provides inmates with hands-on job training in horticulture and urban gardening onsite at the Orchard Program located on property behind Philadelphia Industrial Correction Center on State Street.

“The Philadelphia Prison System sets a tremendous example on using innovation to reduce food waste,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin. “Businesses and communities across America are taking positive steps to address the food waste challenge, and they’re saving money, helping the environment, and feeding hungry people in the process.”

The City was among more than 800 governments, businesses and organizations nationwide that participated in the 2015 EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge.

Earth Month: We Want To Hear From YOU!

philadelphia-skyline-background-image2-1800vp

Spring is finally here, and that means Earth Day is right around the corner, along with all the activities that seem to span the whole month of April. In coordination with Earth Month celebrations, the Office of Sustainability will be kicking off a series of public engagement opportunities designed to solicit your feedback on the next generation of Greenworks. We want to hear from issue experts, students, businesses, faith institutions, and residents from all communities to help us set new goals and initiatives to meet them.

You can make your voice heard in any of the following ways:

  • Join the Office of Sustainability for a Twitter chat on Earth Day, April 22nd from noon to 1pm. Send your questions or comments to us @GreenworksPhila using #AskPhilly
  • Attend a neighborhood discussion:
    • April 20, 6:30 p.m. Columbus Square Park, 12th and Reed Streets 19147
    • April 25, 6:30 p.m. Overbrook Environmental Education Center, 6134 Lancaster Ave. 19151
    • April 27, 6:30 p.m. Bartram’s Garden, 5400 Lindbergh Blvd. 19143
    • May 4, 6:30 p.m. with Germantown United CDC at the Flying Horse Center, 5534-46 Pulaksi Ave. 19144
    • May 18, 6:00 p.m.  with New Kensington CDC at the future Kensington Community Food Co-Op at 2666 Coral St. 19125

Please RSVP or indicate your interest in attending one of the soon to be scheduled sessions.

We look forward to hearing from you during this exciting time. Happy Earth Month!

City’s Demand Response Program: Rolling Up Our Sleeves for Revenue

clemente-park-playground-spring-garden-600

The temperatures in the high 70s this week are a reminder that summer will be here before you know it. And with warmer weather comes the constant hum of air conditioning. Have you ever come home from work on a sweltering July day and turned up your AC or fans just to cool down?

Well, you’re not alone. And for our regional electricity grid, all those residents switching on their air conditioning means high demand for energy during the hottest part of the afternoon. To help offset this demand, large property owners including the City of Philadelphia participate in a load management program.

Here’s how it works: When the grid is stressed by high demand, building operators in City-owned facilities reduce the energy consumed in those buildings. By turning up our thermostats a few degrees and cycling certain building equipment off and on, the City helps to avoid brown-outs, blackouts, and can prevent equipment damage.

Even better, participating in this program generates revenue. Over the past five years, the City has earned nearly $2 million dollars through our regional grid operator PJM’s emergency demand response program. Through its other load management programs, the City has avoided millions more in energy costs. Not bad for a few hours’ work.

With recent legal clarity around a few of the more critical programs, the City is now looking toward the future of load management, and is seeking a new vendor to help coordinate this program.

Volunteers Set Zero Waste Record at Philadelphia Marathon

11_waste watchersIf you’ve experienced the Philadelphia Marathon in the past few years, either as a participant or spectator, you probably think first of the crowds: one of the largest marathons in the country, the Philadelphia Marathon draws nearly 100,000 people each year. But with all those people comes a lot of waste: thousands of pounds of water bottles, banana peels, and energy bar wrappers.

For the past four years, the Philadelphia Marathon has worked with Waste Watchers, a partnership between the Office of Sustainability and the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service, to divert much of that waste away from the landfill. At the beginning and end of the Marathon and at water stops along the way, hundreds of Waste Watchers volunteers help event-goers sort their trash, recycling, and compost into the right containers.

The result? Each year, Waste Watchers helps the Marathon divert more than nine tons of waste from the landfill. Had it been thrown away, this waste would have contributed to ground pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, it is re-purposed into recycled goods and soil amendments.

In 2015 Waste Watchers helped the Marathon reach 90 percent waste diversion, a new record and the widely-accepted definition of “zero waste.” It’s an amazing achievement, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment of Philadelphians to sustainability and volunteer service.