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  • Meet the SustainPHL 2018 Nominees: Sustainable Communities SUSTAINPHL SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES NOMINEES 2018 Full view

    Meet the SustainPHL 2018 Nominees: Sustainable Communities

    Our three SustainPHL nominees for Sustainable Communities are working to provide communities with equitable access to clean air and water, beautiful and open spaces, and energy-efficient resources, as well as protecting local wildlife and habitats. By providing access to clean, affordable energy and preserving one of Philadelphia’s hidden gems to connecting young people to the outdoors through science, these organizations will inspire you with their commitment to sustainability and community. Join us for SustainPHL on August 16th to find out who will be our Sustainable Communities Honoree of the Year!

    • Energy Coordinating Agency
    • Bartram’s Garden
    • Riverbend Environmental Education Center


    Dedicated to providing access to clean, affordable energy for all in the Philadelphia region


    The Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) has helped lay the foundation for sustainability in Philadelphia through both policy and program implementation. Together with its citywide network of 14 Neighborhood Energy Centers, ECA serves more than 15,000 low-income households every year.   ECA has reduced CO2 emissions by more than 120,000 tons by saving energy in low-income homes and converting homes from dirty to cleaner fuels. ECA has also facilitated the transfer to some more sustainable technologies citywide, including Cool Roofs and High-efficiency heating systems. Its Green Jobs Training Center is the premier workforce development center in the city for energy efficiency and solar job training and has already helped more than 4000 men, and women receive training and certification in clean energy and environmental remediation.

    Perhaps more than any other organization in Philadelphia, ECA has made the city’s low-income neighborhoods more sustainable, both by reducing their dependence on fossil fuels and by saving residents more than $260,000,000 over its 34 years and more than 50,000 homes weatherized. Equally important, ECA builds capacity in low-income communities to help families and organizations improve the sustainability of their neighborhoods.

    ECA’s Energy Fit Philly program is now serving as a model for a statewide pilot program in Weatherization Plus Health to address low-income high energy users who would otherwise be rejected for weatherization due to the advanced deterioration of the home.   The program is designed to prevent utility termination and homelessness. This pilot is one of many innovative and groundbreaking programs ECA has developed and implemented over the years. ECA builds sustainable communities by strengthening the capacity of grassroots organizations and applying the most appropriate technology and training.


    Restoring and preserving one of Philadelphia’s most historic and important local ecosystems

    Bartram’s Garden is a 45-acre National Historic Landmark, operated by the John Bartram Association in cooperation with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. It is a destination and an outdoor classroom, living laboratory, and membership organization for ever-expanding audiences, over 50,000 each year and counting. It’s an ambitious strategic and master site plan, River Garden Vision 2025, established five priorities for a sustainable future: Horticulture, History, Community and Education, Agriculture and Food Sovereignty and Enduring Sustainability.

    Bartram’s Garden works to restore and preserve one of Philadelphia’s most historic and essential local ecosystems. They do this by enhancing recreational opportunities at Bartram’s Garden, connecting local communities, particularly communities of color found near Bartram’s, to the Delaware River and the Garden’s open spaces and farm.

    Bartram’s Garden is a beautiful historic site along the river that has long felt cloistered off, ringed in by low-rise public housing, railroad tracks, and a mix of industrial properties. But in recent years Bartram’s Garden has been changing, focusing on ways to better serve its Southwest Philadelphia neighbors. It’s added more community-oriented programming, like its active farm. In just a year and a half of its existence, Bartram’s community boating program has served more than 8,000 people.


    Connecting children to the outside world through innovative, hands-on learning

    Riverbend Logo SustainPHL

    For over 40 years, Riverbend Environmental Education Center has been one of the region’s environmental education leaders. Through on-site programming, community outreach, and professional development initiatives, Riverbend uses inquiry-based, interactive and innovative teaching methods to inspire students and empower educators through environmental and STEM education. One of the innovative methods Riverbend utilizes is their award-winning aquaponics programming and greenhouse as an experiential vehicle for teaching sustainability and STEM principles through partnerships with many schools in and around Philadelphia. Through their aquaponics program, Riverbend is able to connect students to where their food comes from and what the community can do in the future to be positive environmental stewards.


    If you love what we do, you can support our mission with a one-time or monthly contribution:

    Lori Braunstein

    About Lori Braunstein

    Lori Braunstein is the founder of Sustainable Cherry Hill and Director for Change Leadership at The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education. Always evolving, she enjoys figuring out how everyday people can be a force in creating a clean, green future. Reach Lori at braunsteinlori@gmail.com or @lori_braun on Twitter.

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