Energy efficiency retrofits could help spur local spending and support jobs in Philadelphia area

November 16, 2011

Energy efficiency retrofits in Philadelphia could spur an estimated $618 million in local spending and support a projected 23,500 jobs in the area according to a recently released report that was conducted by Philadelphia-based Econsult Corporation.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), the report was commissioned by the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy-Efficient Buildings (GPIC). This effort is one of the DOE's research centers known as Energy Innovation Hubs and includes partner institutions from industry, academia, local development agencies and national laboratories.

The effort will be headquartered at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which is a mixed-use development that has easy access to Philadelphia International Airport, area universities, regional highways and a large labor force. The total area for the site consists of more than 1,200 acres and features buildings of every type, including old, new, large and small office, retail and manufacturing.

The report from the DOE estimated that nearly half of the commercial buildings in the Greater Philadelphia region could be good candidates for energy saving retrofits. These 4,000 structures combined for a total of 154 million square feet of space, according to the news source.

The news source reported that these energy efficient retrofits have considerable value for building owners and tenants in Philadelphia. The efforts of the GPIC and the DOE may help the city reduce its average energy expenditure, which is currently fourth highest in the nation. This output is almost 30 percent higher than the national average.

The World Economic Forum also released a report that outlined the effect that poorly designed buildings can have on the planet. Like the report that was commissioned by the GPIC, this data showed that a tremendous amount of room for improvement exists for many structures.

According to the report, buildings around the world use 40 percent of the energy, emit 40 percent of the carbon footprint and consume 20 percent of the available water for the planet. Along with the massive quantities of resources that these structures consume, the data showed that up to 50 percent of these buildings will still be in use by 2050.

The World Economic Forum reported that the available energy savings within this current building stock are estimated to be between 20 to 40 percent.

According to the news source, the energy efficiency measures in the U.S. would create 600,000 to 900,000 new jobs within the country.