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    Breaking down the City’s Municipal Energy Master Plan

    As we announced on Wednesday, Philadelphia just announced ambitious goals towards clean energy.

    The  Philadelphia Municipal Energy Master Plan for the Built Environment includes four master goals, including reducing GHG emissions by 50%, reducing the city’s Built Environment energy use, going 100% renewable energy and reducing energy costs by 2030.

    For those who love TL;DR; we attended the press conference and reviewed the 27-page PDF, so you don’t have to. (I mean, you should. Office of Sustainability created a great document with a glossary and breaking down their process. But alas, everyone loves bullets.)

    What Buildings are included in the Philadelphia Energy Master Plan?

    There are over 600 facilities in the City buildings including recreation centers, police stations, correctional facilities, four “downtown” buildings (i.e., City Hall, Municipal Service, One Parkway & Criminal Justice Center). The plan also includes the “built” environment, meaning streetlights and parks.

    What’s not included: Water Department, Airport, City Vehicles or public transit/ SEPTA – there are different energy and sustainability plans for these entities. So these properties aren’t’ excluded, they just weren’t a part of this particular plan.

    Does mayor Kenney’s climate commitment have anything to do with this?

    Let’s recap the recent (significant) climate change news.

    In 2016, 195 countries (AKA almost all the countries in the world) agreed and signed a plan to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, limit the global average temperature rise and combat climate change. It was glorious and therefore known as the “Paris Climate Accord” or Paris agreement.

    On June 1, Trump announced that the US would pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Philly fired back by pledging commitment to the Climate Agreement. By June 21, Kenney (and many other mayors) had signed on to Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, supporting 100% renewable energy.

    September 2017: This Energy Plan helps outline how (the City’s built environment plans) to meet and exceed the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement – for city buildings – and commit to renewables (i.e., wind, solar and/or hydropower).

    So is this plan achievable?

    “We’re projected to greatly exceed the Paris Accord,” as Adam Agalloco, Energy Manager in the Energy Office states.

    philadelphia energy projections 2017

    What are first steps?

    One of the quickest opportunities to save GHG emissions is street lighting. Currently, Philly street lights use high-pressure sodium lights, but switching to LED has an enormous potential.

    Other opportunities lie on retrofitting old buildings, educating people (who operate buildings) and using technology to improve efficiency.

    By showing how city government can make sustainable switches, it can also help the rest of the city get on board. “This plan was built from the bottom up to say what we know we can do with city buildings,” according to Agalloco.

    How will the city get 100% renewable energy?

    The city put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for an off-site renewable energy power purchase agreement. This means an off-site renewable energy project can supply power for the city buildings. The RFP is hoping to get prices “competitive” to current electricity costs and proposals are due November 29th.

    Who created the Report?

    The Energy Office, which operates out of the Office of Sustainability (OOS) and manages the City energy operations. Although it was initiated by the Rendell Administration, the Energy Office floated between various government offices until it was housed out of OOS circa 2014.


    This contributes to our Greenworks visions around Energy and Climate Change. It’s helping us to produce the amount of energy we use and a clean energy supply,” according to Christine Knapp, Director of Office of Sustainability.

    What Can Residents do?

    Stay tuned – the Citywide Energy Vision is coming next month, detailing how residents and the rest of the city can jump on climate change goals.

    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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