Greenworks Philadelphia wins National Honor

By Diane Mastrull INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

A year ago, Philadelphia launched a sustainability plan aimed not only at improving environmental stewardship and energy efficiency, but also at converting the old industrial city into a clean-technology hub. The ambitious initiative known as Greenworks Philadelphia picked up what city officials are considering a substantial credibility boost Thursday night. Philadelphia was named winner of the third annual Siemens Sustainable Community Award in the large-community category. The plan edged out sustainability efforts by a more modern city – Dallas – in a national contest organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The other finalist was Atlanta. Grand Rapids, Mich., and Newton, Iowa, took the top prize for midsize and small communities, respectively. Green initiatives are more commonly thought of as a West Coast passion, said Katherine Gajewski, director of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability. “I would really like Philadelphia to start to redefine this green thing a little bit,” she said. “It’s not about just making new stuff and building stuff; it’s also about investing in your existing assets.” The award was presented by the chamber’s Business Civic Leadership Center and Siemens Corp., an electronics and electrical-engineering company, in Houston during the National Conference on Corporate Community Investment. As winner in the large-community category, Philadelphia becomes host city next year for the conference, attended by 300 representatives of some of the largest U.S. corporations. “I’m hoping Mayor Nutter will show people how Philadelphia has changed and is embracing change,” said Stephen Jordan, executive director of the Business Civic Leadership Center, the corporate citizenship affiliate of the U.S. Chamber. The award is intended to highlight successful public-private partnerships and showcase national models for sustainable development. Jordan said Greenworks seemed to “have been designed with award criteria in mind” in that it calls for participation from a range of companies as well as neighborhoods, and demonstrates “real concern with balancing the environmental interest with economic and social interest.” The judges also were impressed by Greenworks’ 15 measurable targets and more than 150 specific steps identified to reach them by 2015, Jordan said. It is a program that considers sustainability through five lenses: energy, environment, equity, economy, and engagement. Goals include: lowering city government energy consumption 30 percent; diverting 70 percent of solid waste from landfills; and providing park and recreation resources within 10 minutes of 75 percent of residents. Nutter will release a report on progress toward each goal May 26, Gajewski said. On Thursday, she identified a few achievements, including the city’s having secured $14.1 million in stimulus funds from the U.S. Department of Energy in September to help finance, among other things, replacement of 85,000 traffic signals with LED (light-emitting diodes) lights, establishment of a loan fund for owners of commercial and industrial properties to make energy-efficient improvements, and development of a 250-kilowatt solar project at the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant. Last month, the city also was awarded a $25 million grant from the U.S. Energy Department to fund residential and commercial building retrofits in Philadelphia, as well as in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties. Now, an economic recovery is needed so that family-supporting green jobs can be created, Gajewski said. “Can we make Philadelphia the clean-tech hub in the Northeast?” she asked. “If we work hard enough, we think there’s a real opportunity.” Read more: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/breaking/business_breaking/20100513_Greenworks_Philadelphia_wins_national_honor.html#ixzz0oz57FkSB Play fantasy sports and win cash prizes instantly. Philly.com’s Instant Fantasy Sports Games

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