How Philadelphia is leading in energy innovation, Feb. 27, 2013 — The Philadelphia region is poised to become one of the nation’s leaders in fostering a more energy-efficient building stock. While President Barack Obama’s comments in last month’s State of the Union speech highlighted the administration’s commitment to energy efficiency as an important strategy to mitigate climate change, public and private stakeholders in Philadelphia have already joined together to contribute scalable solutions and provide leadership for this challenging problem.

Philadelphia’s emergence as a sustainability leader began with the election of Mayor Michael A. Nutter in 2008. During his campaign, Nutter pledged to make Philadelphia the “Greenest City in America,” and he followed through with his commitment by creating the city’s first Office of Sustainability and releasing Greenworks Philadelphia, the city’s first sustainability plan, during his first year in office.

Greenworks contains targets and metrics in 14 major areas including two very important energy efficiency goals: one to reduce the city’s own energy consumption by 30 percent by 2015 and one to reduce energy consumption in all buildings within the city by 10 percent by 2015. Now led by a small but highly capable staff managed by the mayor’s sustainability director, Katherine Gajewski, the Greenworks framework galvanized interest and support from business leaders, neighborhood organizations and city residents and provided the momentum necessary to foster a true partnership approach to measuring progress and success.

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