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 benchmarkinghelp@phila.gov.

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 keh211@engr.psu.edu.

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 www.phillyecocamp.org.

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.

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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:

 

About Last Winter . . .

As most Philadelphians noticed, the weather the past few months was a bit outside the norm.  This winter brought nearly 68 inches of snow to Philadelphia, cementing its place in history as the second snowiest on record.  It also had the highest heating degrees days (a measurement designed to reflect the demand for energy needed to heat a building) in the past decade.  Now that we’ve had our last cold streak for the season (at least we hope), we thought it would be worthwhile to take a look back at a few of the major winter weather events.  Sustainability and resiliency are intrinsically related and here at MOS, we were left thinking how the initiatives Philadelphia is pursuing as part of Greenworks can help to lessen the impact of extreme winter weather.

The Polar Vortex

During the peak of the polar vortex in early January, the regional electricity grid was experiencing one of its most challenging times, as heating demands stressed the regional electricity grid.  The local grid operators, PJM, recorded their all-time winter peak use at 141,312 MW on the evening of January 7th.  During that time energy prices were 6 times the monthly average for natural gas and 3 times the monthly average for electricity.  Individuals and organizations that purchase directly from Pennsylvania’s real-time energy markets saw a sharp increase in energy costs.  For the City of Philadelphia, long-term energy management purchasing strategies and energy efficiency investments helped the City avoid the largest increases in its monthly utility bills.

Cold

The Winter of 2013-14 hammered our city with extreme snowfalls–and extreme cold (Source: CNN.com).

The Ice Storm

In February, a cold streak of ice and snow followed by heavy winds resulted in record-breaking electricity outages throughout the region.  The events left millions without power, caused the closing of schools and workplaces, and severely disrupted day to day life.  One of the best defenses against storms is smart grid technology, which allows utilities to find outage areas and deploy remote or on-site solutions to restore service quickly.  Over the past several years PECO has been deploying its advanced meter infrastructure throughout Philadelphia, with plans to complete smart meter installation for residential customers by the end of 2014.  While smart grid technology will never replace the service crews that pull a tree limb off of downed lines, they will enhance resilience in our electricity grid.

 

There’s no forecast for what type of weather future winters in Philadelphia will bring. However, investments in energy efficiency, infrastructure and strong energy management practices will help all Philadelphians better manage winter events.  We’re still crunching the numbers to see just how the winter affected the City’s energy bills, but we’re confident that the investments we’re making today will help reduce our cost burden—and our environmental impact—in the years to come.

MAYOR NUTTER, CITY OFFICIALS OPEN PHILADELPHIA JUVENILE JUSTICE SERVICES CENTER

Philadelphia, December 20, 2012 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter was joined by City officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center (PJJSC) in West Philadelphia.  The PJJSC is a secure, short-term residential detention facility for youth ages 13-20 with social and educational programs which aim to steer children accused or found guilty of crimes away from further illegal conduct.

“The new Juvenile Justice Services Center represents years of planning and collaboration,” said Mayor Nutter.  “The building reflects Philadelphia’s commitment to addressing the needs of our citizens: the security needs of our residents and the social-service needs of at-risk youth as they develop into productive, contributing citizens.”

Located at the corner of 48th Street and Haverford Avenue, the PJJSC is easily accessible by public transportation or car.  The $110,000 million, City-funded Center has more than 160,000 square feet and beds for more than 150 residents.

“The goal of the Center is to help young people who are involved in the juvenile justice system make better decisions and improve the trajectory of their lives,” said DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose.  “This new facility embodies our belief that given the right support, children have an immense capacity for change.”

The PJJSC features 10 classrooms, a gymnasium, a health clinic, outdoor recreation spaces and a garden for residents.  Visitation space includes a play area where volunteers can baby-sit young children and rooms where youth can meet with their families, lawyers, social-service providers and probation officers.  Family Court courtrooms, Judges’ chambers and conference rooms are also on site.

The Honorable Kevin Dougherty, Administrative Judge of Family Court said, “Philadelphia is working hard to improve outcomes for youth involved with the justice system and the courts.  The design of this new facility allows for enhanced programming to better meet the needs of young people we are serving to maximize opportunities for their transformation.”

The PJJSC is a model site for several city-wide initiatives.  It is the largest City project built to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, and it was a pilot site for a city-wide effort to employ more women and minority contractors in public projects.  Site-specific artwork was commissioned for inclusion in the PJJSC as part of the City’s ‘Percent for Art’ program.  Two Philadelphia-based painters were chosen to decorate the lobby, the community room and the second-floor waiting area.  A documentary by Greenhouse Media featuring the artists’ creative process will be displayed in the building.

More than 15 City departments, agencies and programs are affiliated with the PJJSC, and major tenants of the facility will include the Department of Human Services, the Juvenile Justice Division, Family Court, the School District of Philadelphia, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender Association, and the Department of Public Property Facilities Division.

Mayor Nutter, Philadelphia Water Department Celebrate New Biogas Cogeneration Facility

November 22, 2013– Mayor Michael A. Nutter, EPA Region III Administrator Shawn M. Garvin, Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Howard Neukrug, Ameresco, Inc., Bank of America and other federal, state and local officials cut the ribbon and toured the new Biogas Cogeneration Facility at the Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant.

“This new facility is another step in furthering the City’s sustainability goals in our Greenworks plan,” said Mayor Nutter. “We are becoming more energy efficient and reducing our use of non-renewable energy sources. We will continue to find innovative ways to use green power because it’s beneficial for the environment and our budget.”

The Biogas Cogeneration Project was designed to generate 5.6 MW of power for on-site use. As a natural byproduct of sewage treatment, biogas can be refined and utilized as fuel for generators and equipment. Carbon emissions are expected to be reduced by nearly 22,000 tons per year, which equates to the removal of 4,833 cars off the road or the planting of 5,390 acres of pine forest. On an annual basis, the project will produce about 85% of all the electrical energy used for plant operations.

“This project is an example of PWD’s commitment to develop waste recovery programs at all of our facilities as part of our pledge to be a sustainable and cost-conscious utility,” said Water Commissioner Neukrug. “Recovering the hidden fuel in our wastewater treatment processes helps to diversify our energy portfolio, while improving the environment through innovative, green technology. The Northeast Biogas Cogeneration Facility demonstrates PWD’s national leadership in transforming the traditional wastewater plant into the resource recovery facility of the future.”

Ameresco, Inc., which engineered, constructed and will oversee the facility, has developed an Economic Opportunity Plan that will bring green jobs to the city. The public-private partnership between the City of Philadelphia and Ameresco, Inc. qualified the project to obtain a grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Energy Services business unit of Bank of America Merrill Lynch agreed to provide the financing for the project.

About the Philadelphia Water Department
The Philadelphia Water Department serves the Greater Philadelphia region by providing integrated water, wastewater, and stormwater services. The utility’s primary mission is to plan for, operate, and maintain both the infrastructure and the organization necessary to purvey high quality drinking water, to provide an adequate and reliable water supply for all household, commercial, and community needs, and to sustain and enhance the region’s watersheds and quality of life by managing wastewater and stormwater effectively.

About Ameresco, Inc.
Founded in 2000, Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC) is a leading independent provider of comprehensive services, energy efficiency, infrastructure upgrades, and renewable energy solutions for facilities throughout North America. Ameresco’s services include upgrades to a facility’s energy infrastructure and the development, construction and operation of renewable energy plants. Ameresco has successfully completed energy saving, environmentally responsible projects with federal, state and local governments, healthcare and educational institutions, housing authorities, and commercial and industrial customers. With its corporate headquarters in Framingham, MA, Ameresco provides local expertise through its 59 offices in 34 states and five Canadian provinces. Ameresco has more than 850 employees. For more information, visit http://www.ameresco.com

Mayor Nutter Releases Greenworks Philadelphia 2013 Progress Report

Philadelphia, June 21, 2013 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability released the Greenworks Philadelphia 2013 Progress Report, which outlines work toward the plan’s goal for Philadelphia to be the greenest city in America by 2015. Greenworks, released in 2009, outlines 15 measureable targets and 166 initiatives in five topic areas: energy, environment, equity, economy, and engagement. Through the hard work and dedication of many City leaders and agencies, work on 95% of the 166 initiatives is either complete or underway. This year’s progress report highlights trends on Greenworks implementation for many of the plan’s measurable targets.

“I want to thank the many City agencies and community partners who have worked tirelessly towards our Greenworks goal to make Philadelphia America’s greenest city,” said Mayor Nutter. “Together we have positioned Philadelphia as a leader in urban sustainability. We are seeing positive results from our work already, and this is also a smart long-term strategy for improving the city’s competitiveness and resiliency.”

Four years into the six-year implementation timeline, two-thirds of the targets show trends toward meeting established goals. Philadelphia is exceeding expectations on some targets, such as reducing the amount that residents drive vehicles. Target 12 is to reduce vehicle miles traveled by 10 percent to 5.36 billion by 2015. According to the most recent data, in 2011 there were 5.34 billion vehicle miles traveled in Philadelphia. There has been more than a 10 percent reduction in the vehicle miles traveled since Greenworks launched in 2008.

Data on Target 4, to purchase or generate 20 percent of electricity used in Philadelphia from alternative energy sources, shows an increase in alternative energy use for the fourth straight year and a sixfold increase since 2008.

Other highlights of current progress include:

  • A reduction of municipal energy use by 7 percent;
  • Alternative energy use increase from 2.5 to 14 percent;
  • Nearly 90,000 trees planted since 2008;
  • City Council passage of energy benchmarking and disclosure legislation; and
  • 11.6 new miles of trails completed since 2011.

“We are thankful for such strong support from our partners, both in City government and throughout Philadelphia, and we are proud to have one of the most robust sustainability-based reporting processes of any city in the country,” said Katherine Gajewski, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “In just four years, Greenworks has proven that we can make impressive and measurable progress on goals across a number of areas. Through regular reporting, we continue to gain insight that helps us to better understand trends as well as to identify challenges and opportunities. Sharing data and lessons learned during implementation has opened our process up to allow for a valuable exchange of information and ideas.”

The full Greenworks Philadelphia 2013 Progress Report can be found at http://www.phila.gov/green.

PLANNING COMMISSION ANNOUNCES PUBLIC PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITY WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY

Philadelphia, January 25, 2013 – As part of the ongoingPhiladelphia2035 comprehensive planning process, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC) is piloting a web-based computer game in an effort to engage with more Philadelphians about the projects and policies shaping the city. On January 28, the PCPC will launchPHL2035: The Game!, an interactive website that takes players through questions and scenarios regarding the University/Southwest Planning District, an area which includes the neighborhoods of Kingsessing, Cedar Park, Walnut Hill, Spruce Hill, Powelton Village, Saunders Park, West Powelton, West Shore, and University City.

 

The game takes the planning process online.  It informs individuals of current trends in the city’s development, while asking them to think about future improvements, weighing in on proposed projects and making choices about local priorities. Players can use pre-loaded maps, charts and other materials as clues to answer factual questions. There are also opportunities for open-ended comment and discussion about issues ranging from zoning changes and bike lanes to housing policy.

 

“My Administration is committed to planning for Philadelphia’s future with the input of its citizens. PHL2035: The Game! allows the City to use technology to directly engage residents on the issues that matter in their individual community,” Mayor Michael A. Nutter said.

 

Players earn video coins for correct answers, which can then be used as votes in support of local causes such as cleanups or tree plantings. The three most popular causes will receive $500 donations at the game’s conclusion with the money being supplied by an award from the Knight Foundation. The prizes are a way to connect the longer-term focus of the game to incremental progress happening now.

 

Planners hope that the game will attract participants who are often unable to attend community meetings, including seniors, school-age children, and those whose work schedules conflict with evening events. The goal is to attract more than 1,000 individuals during the game’s three-week run, which ends February 18.

 

“We are always looking for ways to engage in meaningful discussions with the public to produce plans that balance local interests with economic realities,” said Gary Jastrzab, Executive Director of the PCPC. “PHL2035: The Game! is an opportunity to foster an in-depth discussion not only between our staff and the public, but between Philadelphians from different neighborhoods and backgrounds. We expect to share and generate a lot of valuable data, and achieve a better understanding of neighborhood priorities in the process.”

 

PHL2035: The Game! is a local application of an existing online platform called Community PlanIt, which has been deployed to enrich planning processes in Massachusetts and Michigan to date.  Community PlanIt is a project of the Engagement Game Lab and is funded by the Knight Foundation. The Philadelphia game is a partnership between the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the Engagement Game Lab.

The partnership came about through Philadelphia’s recently-formed Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, whose co-directors made the introduction between the game developers and the PCPC. “We’re looking forward to seeing the game in action in a city as diverse and dynamic as Philadelphia,” says Dr. Eric Gordon, director of Engagement Game Lab.  “This is a new way to participate in civic life and long-term planning, and we think it is a great addition to their other outreach efforts.”

 

The game is another piece in an array of education and outreach efforts undertaken by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission in recent years, including the Citizens Planning Institute; an agency blog;Facebook and Twitter accounts; and a text-message-based feedback tool called Textizen, which will be making a return in conjunction with PHL2035: The Game!

 

PHL2035: The Game! will be available until February 18 from any computer or smart phone, including KEYSPOTs, the city’s network of free public computing centers. To sign up for the game and learn more, visit www.phila2035.org andhttp://www.communityplanit.org/PHL2035/.