By Alicia F. Hamilton, Deputy Director for Engagement


On June 6, ULI Philadelphia and Green Building United (GBU) brought together 50+ local leaders and subject-matter experts to discuss the implications of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the largest federal investment in climate action in U.S. history. 

Why now? 

Passed in 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act is expected to invest hundreds of billions – yes, with a b! – of dollars in the clean economy of the 21st century. This funding will cover everything from electrified heavy industry to tree planting and foresting investments. In Philadelphia, where more than 70% of carbon emissions come from buildings and the electricity grid powering them, it is important to understand the role the real estate community can play in taking advantage of this new funding. 

At this crucial moment at the onset of IRA implementation, ULI Philadelphia and GBU were excited to bring together members and industry leaders to unpack what equitable implementation of the IRA will look like in our region.

Who did we hear from? 

The day’s program kicked off with opening remarks from Philadelphia City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, who discussed the importance of climate investment in her council district in West Philadelphia and citywide. Councilmember Gauthier highlighted the legacy of economic disinvestment and environmental damage in Philadelphia— and the opportunity & responsibility the IRA represents for reversing that legacy. 

Two national experts, Ben Evans with the U.S. Green Building Council and Kara Kokernak with the Urban Land Institute’s Randall Lewis Center for Sustainability, discussed the history and breadth of the IRA. Katie Bartolotta from the Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) brought this context to the local level, sharing insights into ways the IRA will support new programs to decarbonize our region’s buildings and provide opportunities for affordable solar energy.

The program concluded with a panel discussion, moderated by Ariella Maron of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, highlighting what IRA implementation will look like in practice. Industry leaders included Laura Slutsky from GuidehouseVidhi Anderson from HumanGood, and Lisa Shulock from PEA covered their experiences thus far taking advantage of IRA programs and incentives. View biographies of every speaker on the event page here

What’s next? 

Throughout the program, ULI and GBU staff collected many of the excellent resources that were being shared by presenters and panelists. You can find those linked at the bottom of this post. 

We also heard the importance of having an entity to help reduce confusion around the IRA and support local implementation. GBU is evaluating needs around such an entity locally, and is conducting a survey right now – please share your thoughts! 

Finally, this program underscored the importance of regional and organizational collaboration, and we are excited to be working together again this fall with our partners at AIA Philadelphia and the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia on the second annual Urban Resilience Forum. Please save the date for this event on September 12. 


Event Presentation  

Bipartisan Policy Center – “What Does the Inflation Reduction Act Mean for Housing? 

U.S. Green Building Council – “Inflation Reduction Act: Buildings Provisions” 

Guidehouse – “Groundbreaking New Funds for Housing and Communities in the Inflation Reduction Act” 

Urban Land, “Leveraging Federal Funding Opportunities for Sustainable Development” – 

Environmental Protection Agency – 

The Real Estate Roundtable – 

Green Building United Regional Building Energy Hub survey: