Announcing the Energy Reduction Race, Year Two Benchmarking Results, and Better Buildings Challenge

Today, Mayor Michael Nutter made three major announcements related to the City of Philadelphia’s commitment to reducing citywide energy usage (which accounts for over 60% of greenhouse gas emissions in Philly):

1) The City is launching the Energy Reduction Race, a one-year challenge to Philadelphia’s largest commercial buildings to reduce their energy 5% by September 2015. To learn more about the Race, visit

2) Results for the second year of Philadelphia’s citywide energy benchmarking program are now available on the City’s benchmarking site, Overall, Philadelphia’s buildings continue to outperform their peers nationwide, but there are still considerable opportunities for savings.

3) The City of Philadelphia, along with its partners at the Philadelphia Housing Authority and School District of Philadelphia, are excited to join the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, a ten-year commitment to reducing energy in municipally-owned & managed buildings 20% over the next ten years. Visit for more details on the Better Buildings Challenge.

If you have questions about these announcements or are interested in learning more, please contact


Findings from Philadelphia’s Energy Benchmarking Outreach

Last month, Resources Media published an evaluation of the outreach and support work done by Seattle in support of its citywide energy benchmarking policy. Seattle’s Help Desk, staffed primarily by a non-profit partner of the city, provided timely and robust assistance to building owners and operators, helping Seattle achieve one of the highest benchmarking compliance rates in the country.

Philadelphia has taken a different approach to assisting building owners during the first two years of implementing benchmarking and disclosure. While both Seattle and Philadelphia’s programs achieved compliance rates of over 90% in 2014, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (MOS) has handled nearly all benchmarking assistance and outreach internally, providing a direct link between city policymakers and those most impacted by the new law.


As a result, MOS now has two years of data on nearly 3,000 instances of contact between its staff and building owners and operators in the city (for a program that covers nearly 2,000 buildings). As shown in the chart below, users needed support most in the months prior to benchmarking deadlines (November 2013 and June 2014) and following the receipt of notices of violation for non-compliance (January and July 2014).

The chart also illustrates the extent to which MOS worked to make email the primary mode of communication with building owners. Overall, 71% of assistance was provided via email. This allowed MOS to better track the history of building owners’ issues with benchmarking, improving the quality of its support and reducing required staff time.

By managing assistance in-house, MOS was also able to communicate directly the benefits of energy benchmarking to building owners and operators. In many instances, staff were able to learn more about the hurdles facing these buildings when considering investment in energy-efficient projects and direct them to available incentive and loan programs.

If you have questions about Philadelphia’s benchmarking program, contact us at

MOS on the Road: Events for the Week of June 16

As we prepare for the release of the 2014 Greenworks Progress Report and the June 30th energy benchmarking deadline, MOS will be participating in several events around the city:

Benchmarking office hours: Non-residential buildings over 50,000 square feet must report their 2013 energy and water usage by June 30, 2014. If you need assistance in completing this process, we’re here to help. Open office hours will be held in the One Parkway Building (1515 Arch Street) on the 18th Floor, Room 18-026 this Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. All office hours sessions run from 2PM to 5PM. Please RSVP at

Investing In Your Facility @ CBEI: The Consortium for Building Energy Innovation will be holding an event to discuss benchmarking and investment, including an update on CBEI’s work on building retuning, on Wednesday at 9AM. More information is available here or by contacting Kat Hinkel at

Philly EcoCamp: A series of events promoting sustainability and environment through technology, EcoCamp will be hosting workshops on Friday, including a discussion on building energy data led by Alon Abramson at Penn Institute for Urban Research and MOS staffers Adam Agalloco and Rich Freeh. Learn more and register at

State of the City: An Urban Sustainability Forum: MOS is thrilled to be partnering with USF to release the 2014 Greenworks Progress Report Thursday evening at the Academy of Natural Sciences. This is a free event, but registration is requested.

Waste-Watchers Get 2013 Marathon Results

It took a bit longer to tally than the runners’ times, but today brings great news from our friends at SCA:

According to the report, of the 29.3 tons of waste generated at the 2013 Marathon, approximately 85.7 percent, or 25.1 tons was diverted from landfill.   This indicates an increase over the 2012 Marathon, where 24.7 tons of waste was diverted.  The City’s projections for the 2013 Marathon were an 85 percent diversion rate.

See the full press release at SCA’s website. The next Waste-Watchers volunteer opportunity will be at the Philly Cycling Classic on June 1st. If you’re interested in helping Philadelphia meet its waste diversion targets at this event, RSVP at this link.

Update on Council Legislation to Make Office of Sustainability Permanent

I am pleased to report that the legislation Councilwoman Reynolds Brown and Councilman Kenney co-sponsored to make the Office of Sustainability permanent within Philadelphia city government was positively voted out of the Committee on Law and Government earlier this week. Philadelphia has made tremendous sustainability progress over the past five years, but we have much more work to do. This measure would be a great step toward keeping the great work happening all across Philadelphia going strong.

As a next step, the legislation will have its first reading in City Council today and will then be poised for a second reading and final passage on Thursday, May 8th. Because the legislation proposes a change to the City Charter, a 2/3 majority (11 votes) will be required for passage. If it is passed by Council, the initiative would then go before voters on the November ballot. Quite a journey!

We need your help to spread the word that this is happening. If you can, please activate your networks between now and next Thursday to reach out to City Council. We want to generate as manyemails and calls to members as we can. Folks should be directed to contact their district representative along with at-large members to tell them they support Bill No. 130878 and Resolution No. 130884, which seek to make the Office of Sustainability permanent. It’s always great to talk to a member directly if they are available. But otherwise, messages with staff are just fine.

Below please find contact information for members and links to the legislation.

Thank you in advance for your help. Let me know if you have any questions or f there is anything that I can do to assist you in your outreach efforts.


Katherine Gajewski, Director of Sustainability


The District Council Member Map can be found here.

Darrell Clarke

Council President, District 5 215-686-2070
Mark Squilla

District 1 215-686-3458
Kenyatta Johnson

District 2 215-686-3412
Jannie Blackwell

District 3 215-686-3418
Curtis Jones, Jr.

District 4 215-686-3416
Bobby Henon

District 6 215-686-3444
Maria Quiñones-Sanchez

District 7 215-686-3448
Cindy Bass

District 8 215-686-3424
Marian Tasco

District 9 215-686-3454
Brian O’Neill

District 10

Brian.O’ 215-686-3422
Wilson Goode, Jr.

Member At-Large 215-686-3414
William Greenlee

Member At-Large 215-686-3446
Dennis O’Brien

Member At-Large

Dennis.O’ 215-686-3440
James Kenney

Member At-Large 215-686-3450
Blondell Reynolds Brown

Member At-Large 215-686-3438
David Oh

Member At-Large 215-686-3452


Resolution No. 130884: Proposing an amendment to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to provide for the creation of an Office of Sustainability, to provide for the powers and duties of such Office, and to otherwise provide for incorporation of the Office into the City government; and providing for the submission of the amendment to the electors of Philadelphia.

Sponsors: Councilmember Reynolds Brown, Councilmember Blackwell, Councilmember Goode, Councilmember Jones, Councilmember Henon, Councilmember Oh, Councilmember Quiñones Sánchez, Councilmember Johnson, Councilmember Kenney

Bill No. 130878: Providing for the submission to the qualified electors of the City of Philadelphia of an amendment to The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter establishing and defining the responsibilities of the Office of Sustainability; fixing the date of a special election for such purpose; prescribing the form of ballot questions to be voted on; and authorizing the appropriate officers to publish notice and to make arrangements for the special election.

Sponsors: Councilmember Reynolds Brown, Councilmember Kenney

This Earth Day Help Make the Philadelphia Office of Sustainability Permanent

Last fall Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and Councilman Jim Kenney proposed a Charter change to create a permanent Office of Sustainability. This proposal is a testament to the great sustainability work happening all across Philadelphia and to support from residents and businesses of our shared goals. As outlined in the 2013 Greenworks Progress Report, Philadelphia has made tremendous sustainability progress over the past five years, but we have much more work to do. The Charter change would be an important step toward keeping the momentum going strong!

City Council’s Committee on Law and Government will hold a hearing considering Resolution No. 130884 and Bill No. 130878 on Monday, April 28, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 400 of City Hall.

If you’d like to voice your opinion, you can:


2013 FPAC Year in Review

TFPAC_logohe Food Policy Advisory Council of Philadelphia (FPAC) is a Mayor-appointed body that facilitates the development of responsible policies that improve access for Philadelphia residents to culturally appropriate, nutritionally sound, and affordable food that is grown locally through environmentally sustainable practices. Thanks to the hard work and sustained collaborative effort between FPAC appointed members, supporters, and staff, the FPAC had a productive 2013 and is looking forward to maintaining that momentum in 2014.

Below is an overview of the FPAC’s accomplishments last year. If you would like to get involved in any of the sub-committees, please email

Questions about FPAC’s 2013 or plans for the coming year? Join FPAC Coordinator Hannah Chatterjee for a live Twitter Q&A on Friday, April 4th from noon to 1PM @GreenworksPhila (use #phillyfpac).

  • General FPAC

The Council established 2 new sub-committees to tackle issues thus far unaddressed by the FPAC, Local Food Procurement and Zero Waste, and also reconvened the Anti-Hunger sub-committee. Appointed members adopted 5 articles for the FPAC by-laws (review them here). The Council appointed 14 new members, and secured a full-time FPAC Coordinator.

Appointed members adopted a standing meeting time and location for the 2014 general FPAC meetings, taking place on the first Wednesday of every other month starting in February, from 3pm to 5pm on the 18th floor of the One Parkway Building (1515 Arch St), Room 18-022.

  • Anti-Hunger Sub-committee

The Anti-Hunger sub-committee reconvened in October 2013 with 6 core members.

Sub-committee members hosted the first FPAC town hall in November 2013 – a focus group with restaurant industry workers surveying participants about their habits and practices around healthy food, food access, and the internet.

Surprisingly, the town hall results showed that 72% of the participants are online more than 5 hours a day, and that many of the participants had no idea where to go for information about food resources such as SNAP and food pantries. The sub-committee will use the information gathered at the town hall to inform the food resources toolkit that the members are currently developing in order to mitigate the effects of the November 2013 SNAP budget cuts.

  • Communications and Outreach Sub-committee

Sub-committee members drafted the Media and Communications Guidelines outlining the FPAC’s internal and external communications strategy (adopted June 2013). The FPAC is committed to interacting more with the Philadelphia community, and will be sending members out to speak and table at community events, for which the sub-committee developed FPAC outreach materials. If you know of a community-based organization whose members might like to hear more about the FPAC, please get in touch with chair Hannah Chatterjee.

  • Governance and Membership Sub-committee

Sub-committee members drafted the following 4 articles for the by-laws:

Interim Member Nomination, Application, and Appointment Process Article, standardizing the nomination process for future FPAC members through the member nomination form (approved January 2013); Duties of Appointed Members, Co-chairs and Coordinator Article, detailing the responsibilities of each position on the FPAC (approved April 2013); Attendance Policy for Appointed Members (approved April 2013); Resignation Policy (approved April 2013). The sub-committee is currently working on a Conflict of Interest Policy for the FPAC.

  •  Local Food Procurement Sub-committee

The Local Food Procurement Sub-committee was established in May 2013. Sub-committee members have begun a conversation about and are currently planning the next steps for a project that will adapt the city’s procurement policies to encourage the purchase of local food. The sub-committee is looking to start a pilot program with a City agency in 2014.

  •  Vacant Land Sub-committee

With full support from the FPAC, the Land Bank Bill was passed in December 2013.

As the new bill gets rolled out, the sub-committee along with several partners will conduct a vacant land inventory project that will provide critical data and information on the usability of vacant lots for urban agriculture and gardens.

  • Zero Waste Sub-committee

The Zero Waste Sub-committee was established in October 2013. Members are working on a white paper to determine how the City can support waste minimization, composting, and recycling in Philadelphia in order to achieve “zero waste.” The sub-committee has started by assembling information about problems related to food waste, and plans to encourage more commercial food composting and recycling to build on the policies and infrastructure that are already in place.