Fine-tuning Philadelphia's existing buildings

By Katie Bartolotta

Posted June 21, 2019

On June 20, Philadelphia City Council introduced a bill to require owners of large buildings to conduct tune-ups of their energy and water systems. The legislation builds off the awareness of energy and water use in buildings fostered through city’s benchmarking ordinance by requiring owners to complete low- and no-cost actions to make their buildings more efficient.

So why is this legislation important?

Buildings contribute to climate change.

Buildings account for 60 percent of carbon emissions in Philadelphia. Buildings are the primary driver of climate change in our region, and by far the best opportunity to mitigate and to adapt to future climate impacts.

 

The building stock we’ll have in 50 years is mostly here already.

The City of Philadelphia has made great strides in updating building codes for all new construction and qualifying renovations, but approximately two-thirds of the building area that already exists will still be here in 2050. It is essential that we continue to make improvements to our existing building stock to realize energy savings and improve comfort for building occupants.

 

Those who have implemented no energy conservation measures will likely have the most to gain.

The average commercial building wastes 30 percent of the energy it consumes. The lack of regular operations and maintenance in a building reduces the lifespan of equipment and results in inefficiencies that increase energy use and costs. 

 

Building re-tuning is cost effective and contributes to the local economy.

Optimizing building controls, systems, and maintenance can save owners between 5 and 20 percent annually on energy costs. Per the City of Philadelphia’s Powering Our Future report, a building tune-up program has the potential to save $55 million annually citywide and reduce carbon emissions by 183,380 metric tons, the equivalent of 21,959 homes’ energy use for one year. 

 

We look forward to engaging with Philadelphia City Council and the Office of Sustainability to ensure that the legislation reaches its full potential to make our existing buildings more comfortable, efficient, and cost-effective.

Legacy Partners

Platinum Partners

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