Philadelphia energy efficiency efforts gaining momentum

September 26, 2012

Two recent developments in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, have helped to push the city's efforts in energy efficiency forward, as a combination of government and private sector money and resources is leading to a significant change in the metropolis.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania has added three new employees, each who will bring a significant level of expertise to the given initiative on which they will be working.

The state-funded economic development nonprofit, based at The Navy Yard in the southern section of Philadelphia, recently hired Jeffrey Rahm and Mark S. Trabbold to be its directors of business development for the Technology Commercialization Group within the project. Omar Mencin was also brought on to be manager of special projects for the effort's Investment Group, according to the news outlet.

Rahm and his colleagues will be working directly with the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), which is another effort that is headquartered at the city's historic Navy Yard.

The Department of Energy-sponsored EEB Hub was established to improve energy efficiency in buildings by transforming the real estate stock in Philadelphia. This move would also help to promote job growth in the region. Pennsylvania State University is the leading institution for the initiative and the Ben Franklin Technology Partners group is part of the overall effort.

This consortium of institutions – academia, government, private sector and energy development companies are represented – is working to help Philadelphia transform its real estate market, with an eye to efficiency and sustainability. This innovation Hub is also hoping that success in the regional market will influence other cities across the country, which would help reduce the 40 percent of total energy consumption that commercial structures are currently responsible for.

Government money plays a significant role in the adoption of green and sustainable practices for a city, and Philadelphia recently received $3 million from the Center for Housing and Urban Development, according to NewsWorks.

This specific effort is geared toward the development of energy programs related to residential real estate.

"The tenants will be able to keep track of how much energy they are using at any particular time," said Walter Kubiak, executive director of the 1260 Housing Corporation, which owns the homes that will receive the money. "We will do some training on how to use that and how to monitor that and through that training they will be able to use their utilities more intelligently."