Philadelphia, January 29, 2014 – Mayor Michael Nutter today announced that Philadelphia has been selected to join The City Energy Project (CEP), a national, 10-city effort to significantly boost energy efficiency in large commercial buildings. Philadelphia’s participation in CEP is expected to lower energy bills by as much as $77 million and may cut climate-change pollution equal to what is generated by 23,000 homes, annually.
“The City Energy Project is an innovative approach to tackling commercial building efficiency in cities across the country. Improving energy performance in Philadelphia’s buildings is not just good for the environment, it puts money back in the pockets of building owners, operators, and tenants – and ultimately back into the local economy,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. The City of Philadelphia closely tracks energy use in city government buildings and released a report on municipal building energy benchmarking today that can be found at www.phila.gov/benchmarking.
Philadelphia will be participating in the new City Energy Project, an initiative from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation, that is designed to create healthier, more prosperous American cities by targeting their largest source of energy use and climate pollution: buildings. The following cities will be joining Philadelphia as CEP’s first participants: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, and Salt Lake City.
Funded by a partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation, the City Energy Project will assist the 10 selected cities in developing customized programs and policies aimed at boosting energy efficiency in large commercial buildings.
Buildings are responsible for 62 percent of Philadelphia’s carbon emissions, more than either the transportation or industrial sectors. As much as 30 percent of the energy these buildings use, however, is wasted.
Fortunately, the technology and best practices that can make buildings vastly more efficient are already in place. Working together, cities can make significant progress in reducing their contribution to climate change. And in the process, they can give their local economies a boost.
“City skylines have long been symbols of aspiration and innovation—this project takes that to a new level,” said Laurie Kerr, Director of the City Energy Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “These mayors are showing there is the political will to put people to work to build a healthier, more prosperous future for America’s cities. In the face of a changing climate and increasingly extreme weather, these city leaders know they cannot wait for the state or federal government to make them more resilient and sustainable – they are taking action now.”
Cliff Majersik, Executive Director of the Institute for Market Transformation, said, “We have the skills and technology to make buildings more efficient, but we need a coordinated effort by major cities and the private sector to make it happen. The City Energy Project will give city leaders and the real estate industry the support they need to make buildings better, improving the lives of millions of city residents.”
Projected Economic & Environmental Benefits
Boosting building efficiency reduces pollution, improves air quality, reduces the demand for new power plants, and makes cities more resilient to energy-related crises.
Together, the 10 participating cities are estimated to be able to reduce carbon emissions by a total of 5 million to 7 million tons annually. That is equivalent to taking 1 million to 1.5 million passenger vehicles off the road per year, the amount of electricity used by roughly 700,000 to nearly 1 million American homes annually, or taking 3-4 power plants offline.
The CEP is projected to save Philadelphia ratepayers as much as $77 million annually on their energy bills, and a total of nearly $1 billion annually across all 10 cities (at current prices).
How it Works
Through this new project, the cities will develop their own locally tailored plans to advance energy efficiency and reduce waste in their large buildings, which can represent roughly 50% of their citywide square footage. These plans, which will include multiple integrated strategies, can make more progress in each city than any one program or policy could alone.
The City Energy Project will offer their energy expertise to help guide the cities through the planning, designing and implementation processes. The energy efficiency solutions that CEP will help the cities develop are flexible to each city’s unique situation, supporting the following goals:
• Promote efficient building operations: Strong building energy performance can be achieved through efficient operations and maintenance, and the training of facilities personnel.
• Encourage private investment: Common-sense solutions to financial and legal barriers to energy efficiency should be adopted to increase private investment in building energy improvements.
• City leadership: Cities should lead by example and reduce taxpayer-funded energy consumption in municipal buildings, and encourage the private sector to match their actions.
• Promote transparency: Building energy performance information should be transparent and accessible to enable market demand and competition for energy-efficient buildings.