City of Philadelphia Receives $25M Recovery Grant for Energy Efficiency

On April 21, the City of Philadelphia, along with its partners in the Metropolitan Caucus and a coalition of public, private, and non-profit partners, received a $25 million “Retrofit Ramp-Up” grant from the US Department of Energy.

The grant, building on successful existing programs including the City of Philadelphia’s Greenworks Loan Fund and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Keystone HELP program, will fund residential and commercial building energy efficiency retrofits throughout the greater Philadelphia region.  Funds will be distributed on a competitive basis with preference given to projects that maximize job creation and energy savings.

Only 25 grants were awarded to communities nationwide. “This was a very competitive process, with more than $3.5 billion in applications for $450 million in available funds. We are honored to have been chosen. The real strength of our application was the partnerships; there are many in the region who have been working toward this moment for years, and it’s terrific to see all that preparation and good work recognized,” said Katherine Gajewski, Director of Sustainability.

The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, the Reinvestment Fund, the Energy Coordinating Agency, AFC First Financial, the Keystone HELP Program, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania will partner to execute the program.

Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Alan
Greenberger pointed out that, “We’re truly creating new economic opportunity here, by growing a new industry. We look forward to seeing the region’s builders, suppliers, and designers making energy efficiency a foundation for their growth. That means new businesses and new jobs.”

City Unveils Green Philly, Grow Philly Tree Campaign
Green Philly Grow Philly Planting April 24 2010
On April 24, Mayor Nutter, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis, and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society President-elect Drew Becher kicked-off the first phase of Philadelphia’s comprehensive tree-planting campaign in the city’s Francisville neighborhood.

“This kick-off event with Francisville exemplifies the new tree planting model which leverages community partnerships to increase the number of trees planted,” said Mayor Nutter. “With the help of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, corporate partners, local non-profit organizations, and other institutions, I have no doubt that Philadelphia will become the greenest big city in America.”

Greenworks sets a goal of planting 300,000 new trees in the city by 2015. The increased tree canopy will bring a multitude of benefits: decreased air pollution, reduced stormwater runoff, energy savings, increased property values, and an overall improvement of quality of life in the City.

The newly-merged Department of Parks and Recreation, led by Commissioner DiBerardinis, will organize and implement a tree-planting campaign to advance this tree work and promote a premiere Parks and Recreation system, which is safe, clean, ready to use, and green. As part of the new tree planting model, the University of Pennsylvania has signed on as one of the first institutional partners.  The Parks and Recreation Department will announce details of other exciting institutional and corporate partnerships prior to the fall launch.

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