Philadelphia-area businesses could benefit substantially from energy cost reductions

November 29, 2011

Despite their best efforts, the builders of most structures over the past few centuries didn't always have the most energy-efficient materials at their disposal. This is evidenced by the fact that so many older plants, facilities and production departments are plagued by drafts and low temperatures in the winter, leading to increased heating and insulation costs.

In fact, a study by the Econsult Corp. found that the city of Philadelphia is particularly well-poised for a revolution of its energy cost methods. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, as many as 29 percent of the city's commercial properties are below the national average for energy consumption related to heating and electricity use. One of the reasons for this is that a remarkable 77 percent of the buildings in the city were built before 1990.

While improvements to business practices and expanding into new markets can be of great help for industries in the City of Brotherly Love, it is also important to note that what can often seem like marginal costs are in fact significant contributors to losses and operational costs. Companies that want to rejuvenate their operations may want to consider first addressing energy consumption and other outdated or wasteful practices.

The Philadelphia area is gearing up for some of this modernization, but progress needs to be made more swiftly. For example, Technically Philly reports that the Workshop School is attempting to bring energy efficiency and cost-cutting methods to businesses and organizations in the area. Run as an after-school program and out of the Navy Yard, the educational facility is working in a solar-powered workshop and studying the effects that green practices have on construction costs, site planning, permitting and design.

Enterprises that are interested in adding to the efficiency and modernity of their facilities would do well to consider taking part in the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster's Retrofitting our Future project. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and paid for by various federal agencies, it has seen over $129 million invested in the innovation hub in the Navy Yard.

There, companies can find inspiration for the best ways to make their facilities function in line with modern techniques for reducing energy costs. As the price of power increases, it is important for businesses to cease treating it as a marginal cost and instead see it as the integral expense that it actually is.