Philly Prisons Receive EPA Award For Composting

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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.

On Earth Day, City Announces Energy Reduction Race Winners

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The City of Philadelphia today announced the winners of the year-long Energy Reduction Race, a citywide competition to save energy in nearly forty of Philadelphia’s largest buildings.

Twelve buildings met the Race’s ambitious five percent reduction target, and overall winners were selected in three categories. The winning buildings are the Iroko Pharmacaeutics Building at 150 Rouse Boulevard (at The Navy Yard), Two Logan Square, and the Comcast Center at 1701 JFK Boulevard.

The Energy Reduction Race was organized by the Office of Sustainability in partnership with the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC) and City Energy Project (CEP), a philanthropically-funded initiative to improve energy performance in buildings across ten U.S. cities, including Philadelphia.

The winning buildings each received $5,000 stipends – contributed by DVGBC and CEP – toward further energy efficiency work in their buildings. All participants in the Race received free one-day building operator training. More details on the competition are available at www.phillybuildingbenchmarking.com.

Laura A. Masapollo with Brandywine Realty Trust, the property manager for Two Logan Square, said of the Energy Reduction Race: “It’s a real win-win when you can use measures to reduce consumption and save resources and still effectively and efficiently deliver required services to your tenants.”

Liberty Property Trust, winner in two categories, sees the Race as just the beginning: “We will continue to focus on energy efficiency in all of our buildings – it is a core part of Liberty’s commitment to deliver sustainable, high-performing buildings for our tenants,” said Billy Grayson, Director of Sustainability for Liberty.

The Energy Reduction Race builds on the success of Philadelphia’ s commercial energy benchmarking and disclosure program, which helps building owners understand their energy usage and compare their properties’ performance to their peers around the City of Philadelphia and nationwide. The Office of Sustainability has also released a new report on the benchmarking program, which is available at www.phila.gov/benchmarking.  “Through the benchmarking program, our office has helped building owners recognize opportunities for energy savings and connect those owners to utility programs that make those upgrades more affordable,“ said Christine Knapp, Director of Sustainability for the City of Philadelphia. “Benchmarking also provides us with building-level data we can use to help us plan the next set of sustainability goals for Philadelphia.”

The energy benchmarking program and Energy Reduction Race both contribute the Office of Sustainability’s goals to help building owners improve facility performance to lower energy usage, reduce carbon footprints, and save money. The initiatives are part of Greenworks Philadelphia, the city’s comprehensive sustainability plan. The Office of Sustainability will be releasing an updated Greenworks framework later in 2016.

Earth Month: We Want To Hear From YOU!

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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!

Contract Opportunity: Energy Master Plan

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The Office of Sustainability is working to develop a comprehensive energy master plan to increase energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, and energy resiliency in municipal buildings and the built environment throughout Philadelphia. When complete, the document will serve as a business plan for the City’s energy work.  The plan should include strategies for all categories of buildings and facilities in the built environment, energy procurement, energy management, financing, resiliency, and sustainability including the social, economic and environmental co-benefits to the City of energy systems change.

Interested parties can review the RFP for opportunity number 21160331144055 on the City’s econtracts website.

 

Join Us For An Earth Day Twitter Chat #AskPhilly

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As part of Earth month, the Office of Sustainability and our Director Christine Knapp will be hosting a Twitter chat on Earth Day, April 22nd from noon to 1pm.

Feel free to send your questions or comments to us @GreenworksPhila using #AskPhilly.

If you can’t make it, don’t worry. You can also share your feedback by completing this survey or in person at one of several neighborhood discussions.

We hope to hear from you!

Two April Opportunities You Don’t Want To Miss

philly-spring-cleanup-16-billboard-home-phase-2Spring has sprung! And with the change of season comes more time enjoying the outdoors and all that Philadelphia has to offer. Here are two great opportunities to get outside and improve your community.

  • The 9th Annual Philly Spring Cleanup is set for Saturday, April 9th from 9 am to 2 pm. It is a great way for you, your family, your friends, and your neighbors to get involved and do your part to keep our City looking its best. Dedication like yours, along with the can-do attitude of thousands of volunteers all over the city is exactly what we need to keep our City clean and green. You can sign up to volunteer or submit a project on the Philly Spring Cleanup website.
  • Philadelphia Parks & Recreation is offering a free six week course on park forest management. You’ll learn how to protect our forests, train to be a citizen scientist, and expand your knowledge of our urban ecosystem. The courses will take place at Pennypack Environmental Education Center at 8600 Verree Road. The six classes will be held on April 6, April 13, April 20, April 27 and May 4, and May 14. For more information and application instructions, contact Director of Urban Forestry & Ecosystem Management Joan Blaustein at 215-683-0215 or via email. The deadline to sign up is April 1, so don’t wait!

City’s Quadplex Project: A Model For Future Energy Efficiency Investments

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In Mayor Kenney’s budget address on March 3, he outlined plans to invest in community infrastructure and city-owned buildings, including investments in energy efficiency. With the potential for more energy efficiency projects on the horizon, we wanted to share more about the Quadplex Guaranteed Energy Savings Project (GESA), which could serve as a model for future investments.

The project, enabled by the Pennsylvania Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA), uses the savings from increased building energy efficiency to pay for retrofits and other upgrades. Energy savings realized through a GESA project are allocated to project repayment, and the remaining savings can be used for other municipal programs.

City Hall, the Municipal Services Building, One Parkway Building, and the Criminal Justice Center — collectively referred to as the Quadplex — are among the City’s largest energy users and were selected based on their energy savings potential.

In late 2009, the City selected the energy service company Noresco to complete an energy audit, develop energy conservation measures (ECMs), and to manage implementation. The City chose high payback energy conservation measures that produced a project with positive cash flow, strong environmental benefits, and improvements to tenant spaces. This work resulted in facilities that are easier to operate and more comfortable for workers and visitors.

Many of the upgrades are invisible to building users. These include improvements to boilers, steam pipe insulation, and HVAC drives and filters. In addition, the City has adopted new building control systems. These systems include web-based software that allows city staff to remotely monitor and manage HVAC systems in real time. Increased capacity to control HVAC is particularly important because building heating and cooling account for between 50-60% of Quadplex building energy use.

Some of the Quadplex upgrades are more visible to building users, such as the installation of low-flow water fixtures. Visitors to City Hall who look up while in main building entrance vestibules can now see new LED lighting.

The results of the Quadplex GESA Project thus far are overwhelmingly positive. The City saved approximately $2 million in utility costs during the construction phase and received over a $1 million in rebates for the project.  Going forward, the City expects an annual cost savings of about $1.45 million. All bonds used to fund the project will be completely paid for in 15 years.

For more information on the Quadplex project, you can check out our Quadplex case study.