Philadelphia among cities winning advice on green development

December 30, 2011

Philadelphia, Oakland and six other cities in the U.S. will receive free help this coming year from sustainable building and development experts who will take a new look at the metropolitan areas through a green lens, according to Green Business.

The news source reported that the aim of the free consultations is to accelerate green neighborhood development by teaching cities how to transform urban communities into places that offer a mixed balance of residential, commercial and recreational areas. These will be easily accessible on foot, bikes and public transportation.

This consultation would help communities embody the "triple bottom line" by being good for the well-being of people, prosperous and kinder to the planet than the building stock that currently exists in many cities.

According to Green Business, the advice will be offered by the sustainability-focused nonprofit Global Green UDA through funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.

Global Green USA, an arm of Green Cross International, contends cities may be responsible for as much as 70 percent of global warming pollution, the news source reported.

Cities across the country vie for inclusion in the organization's consultation program. Winners were selected based on factors that included the strength of sustainability projects they have planned, urgency, the need for help and the level of community engagement.

Philadelphia and Oakland, both of which have specific climate action plans, are the two largest cities selected for the program. The consultation team will begin its assessments in these two areas in February, and will base its assessments on the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, according to Green Business.

Philadelphia has been selected by another government agency, the Department of Energy (DOE), as a site for another program to help reduce emissions from commercial buildings. The Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC) is site that was designated as an innovation HUB by the DOE.

Along with helping to design and develop energy efficient buildings and technology, this effort will help to establish the city as a leader within the sector. Philadelphia was chosen as a HUB due to the fact that is contains a substantial building stock to validate and deploy discoveries, possesses a significant number of colleges and universities and has a large and diversified workforce.