Philadelphia and energy efficiency: Likely and unlikely center of progress

September 14, 2012

The City of Philadelphia has long been associated with progress, as some of the brightest thinkers in U.S. history called the City of Brotherly Love home at one point in their lives.
Although the days of Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Benjamin Rush, Louisa May Alcott and other famous American minds traveling through the metropolis are long gone, their legacy of innovation and ingenuity continues to take hold in the area.

There is still a significant presence of intellectuals, thanks in part to the many academic institutions housed in the downtown area, and one can see signs of progress in places that may seem odd to an outsider.

Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Philadelphia Eagles football team, was recently named the greenest stadium in professional sports, and the transformation of the arena has been attributed to a green and sustainable shift across the industry, according to TIME Magazine.

"A cultural shift in environmental awareness is needed in order for us to address the serious ecological problems we face, and the sports industry, through its own innovative actions, has chosen to lead the way," said Allen Hershkowitz, the green sports project director for the National Resources Defense Council. "Pro sports are showing that smart energy, water and recycling practices make sense.  They save money and prevent waste. That’s as mainstream and non-partisan as it comes."

Clean energy and efficiency have long been targeted by the NRDC, but it has only been recently that industries like professional sports have been targeted as areas where significant improvements can be made.

Even though much of the technology associated with energy efficiency is complex and beyond the scope of understanding for the average sports fan, the message behind the shit to a more efficient practice is clear, according to the NRDC.

"The motivation for sports to engage in greening is simple. The games we love today were born outdoors, and without clean air to breathe, clean water and a healthy climate, sports would be impossible. In fact, nature is the ultimate source of all economic value," said the authors of the report highlighting the need for more efficient practices in pro sports.

The selection of the Philadelphia Eagles' stadium is only fitting for a city that houses the Department of Energy's innovation Hub for energy efficient buildings.

Known as the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), this effort is headquartered at the city's historic Navy Yard.