Skip to main content

Local Government Leading: City of Philadelphia

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Nov 09, 2018

This installment of the Local Government Leading blog series highlights the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In addition to being a Better Buildings Challenge partner, Philadelphia was recently selected as a winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge. Philadelphia was selected because of its ambitious and innovative climate action plan: Greenworks:  A Vision for a Sustainable Philadelphia. The plan consists of targeted initiatives in the building and transit sectors designed to increase city-wide sustainability efforts and reduce air pollution and emissions. Initiatives included in the city’s Greenworks program include:

  • Municipal Energy Master Plan – a roadmap for Philadelphia’s built environment, which includes the following four goals to help meet the vision outlined in Greenworks: 1) reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, 2) reduce energy use 20% by 2030, 3) generate or purchase 100% of all electricity from renewable resources by 2030, and 4) maintain or reduce the city’s cost of energy;
  • Solarize Philly – a citywide program to expand the use of renewable energy through installing new solar arrays on 500 rooftops by making the process of installing solar as easy and affordable as possible, while also supporting solar training at the School District of Philadelphia and improving access to clean energy for all neighborhoods;
  • CONNECT – the city’s strategic transportation plan that will guide the city in creating a transportation system that benefits everyone and is safe, affordable, accessible, and reliable through a series a five sector-targeted goals.

Philadelphia plans to use the technical assistance valued at up to $2.5 million provided through the Climate Challenge to achieve a 28% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025 and will work to achieve the following initiatives by 2020:

  • Scale-up energy efficiency projects in residential and commercial buildings through policies, programs, job training, and other resources;
  • Facilitate an increase in the generation and use of renewable energy by leading and supporting institutional clean energy procurement programs;
  • Increase trips via bicycle, walking, and shared transit by five percent by 2025 through the implementation of the CONNECT strategic transportation plan;
  • Accelerate the transition of 6,000 municipal vehicles to electric and work with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to electrify its fleet.

Through a separate voluntary commitment to the Better Buildings Challenge, Philadelphia has also committed to 20% energy reduction across its 15 million-square-foot building portfolio by 2023. By utilizing energy savings performance contracts, the city’s Energy Efficiency Incentive Program pilot, and the Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Fund, Philadelphia has reduced its energy use by 9% compared to a 2013 baseline and is on track to achieve its 20% by 2023 goal.

Through its innovative programs and ambitious goal-setting, Philadelphia continues to demonstrate leadership on its quest to secure a healthier, more sustainable environment and economy for its citizens.

Be sure to check out our previous Local Government Leading installments featuring the City of Seattle and District of Columbia.