Last week Mayor Michael A. Nutter released the Greenworks Philadelphia 2010 Progress Report detailing the many significant sustainability achievements made by the City of Philadelphia in the first year of Greenworks Philadelphia. Since last year when Mayor Nutter outlined a plan to make Philadelphia America’s number one green city, great progress has been made toward achieving the goals laid out in the plan, progress recognized at the national level.
“The amazing achievements of Greenworks Philadelphia in just its first year show what can happen when you set an ambitious goal and involve government, business, non-profits and citizens in achieving it,” said Mayor Nutter. “By combining the strengths of each and providing opportunities for collaboration, Philadelphia has become a national model for how cities can aggressively pursue a green and sustainable future.”
Among the accomplishments of the first year of Greenworks are:
- Arrival of 260 new diesel-electric hybrid buses for SEPTA
- Creation of bike lanes on Spruce and Pine streets in Center City
- Creation of over 500 green jobs through the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board and the expansion of green job training programs
- Establishment of the citywide Recycling Rewards program to further increase the recycling rate in Philadelphia, which has tripled since 2008
- Installation of 470 Big Belly trash compactors and 210 on-street recycling units
- Creation of a loan fund to help businesses finance energy-efficient renovations and construction
- Weatherization of over 550 homes saving low-income homeowners money on their energy bills, with a further 600 homes scheduled to be retrofitted
- Legislation requiring the use of “cool roofs” on new commercial and residential buildings and LEED Silver certification for City government building and renovation projects
- A citywide ‘Coolest Block’ contest from which each resident on the 1200 Block of Wolf Street in South Philadelphia will receive a cool roof and insulation upgrades
- Promotion of the largest municipal car sharing program in the country with over 440 City employees enrolled
- Philadelphia Water Department submitted Green City, Clean Waters, to the EPA. PWD’s plan has been recognized as the leading sustainable stormwater management plan in the country
- Increased the number of green roofs to tie for 3rd in the country in total square footage of green roofs
The City of Philadelphia has already attracted significant national attention for its sustainability efforts, winning the U.S. Chamber of Commerce 2010 Sustainable Community Award and being awarded a competitive $25 million Recovery Act Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, one of only 25 recipients across the country to receive such funding. Additional Recovery Act funds from the U.S. Department of Energy will allow the city to replace 85,000 traffic signals with LED lights, expand a loan fund for owners of commercial and industrial properties to make energy-efficient improvements, and develop a 250-kilowatt solar project at the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant.
Greenworks Philadelphia includes achievements from across city government as well as City Council, the private sector, non-profit organizations and community groups throughout the city. Implementation of Greenworks is coordinated by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.
“Putting the systems in place to successfully implement Greenworks over the course of the plan has been a critical accomplishment in this first year,” said Katherine Gajewski, Director of Sustainability. “We have developed communications networks within city government and with our external partners to effectively convey information and track progress, which this first annual report reflects. We will take this to the next level in Year Two with the launch of the Greenworks Database, which will provide us with an innovative project management tool to track and report our progress.”
The progress report was unveiled at a community event at 9th and Norris in Eastern North Philadelphia organized by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM), an agency dedicated to the betterment of the Eastern North Philadelphia community. The residents of this neighborhood have benefited from energy-saving, weatherized homes, new transit-oriented development, and stormwater management systems. At the event participants took walking tours of the neighborhood to explore the many sustainable improvements made by the community and to highlight what integrated sustainability planning can look like. Food was provided by local vendors and the festive atmosphere was completed with community musicians providing the entertainment.
Greenworks Philadelphia sets goals in five areas—energy, environment, equity, economy and engagement—and its work encompasses more than 150 initiatives. The initiatives are intended to reduce the city’s vulnerability to rising energy prices, to limit its environmental footprint, and to reposition its workforce to build upon Philadelphia’s competitive advantages in the emerging green economy.
The full report as well as the Annual Progress Report and additional video and audio content can be found at www.greenworksphila.org. Further information can also be found on the new, revamped Mayor’s Office of Sustainability website at www.phila.gov/green.