Sustainability Successes in 2019

By Katie Bartolotta

Posted December 17, 2019


Throughout 2019, Green Building United’s members and supporters lent their voices and expertise to state and local policy efforts to improve our region’s built environment.

Below is a recap of key victories in the City of Philadelphia, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and State of Delaware, and a preview of what’s next in 2020.

Each successful effort is a step toward achieving a sustainable, healthy, and resilient built environment for all.

City of Philadelphia

Building Energy Performance Policy 

This November, Philadelphia City Council passed unanimously the bill - Building Energy Performance Policy - requiring owners of large buildings to conduct periodic 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. 

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. 

Green Building United’s members were at the forefront of advocacy efforts to support the bill’s passage by providing in-person testimony and participating in stakeholder engagement sessions. 

Commercial PACE (C-PACE) Program Launch

This October, the Philadelphia Energy Authority launched its C-PACE Program

C-PACE is a financing mechanism that enables low-cost, long-term funding for construction, renovation, or retrofitting of energy efficient technology or clean energy systems. C-PACE programs help to encourage clean energy job growth, lower utility bills, increase building asset value, save energy, and reduce carbon emissions.

Green Building United’s members supported the launch of the program by participating in stakeholder engagement sessions. We are continuing to help spread the word by educating members on the C-PACE program, including Philadelphia 2030 District Partners. 

What’s Next?

Green Building United looks forward to supporting legislation that builds upon current efforts to reduce building energy use to save money and lessen environmental impact from the built environment. Stay tuned for our soon-to-be-released Building Blocks to Building Decarbonization policy framework in the new year. 

 

 

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Green Building United's Alex Dews participated in the Building Energy Performance Policy bill signing ceremony with Mayor Jim Kenney and Councilmember Blondell Reynolds Brown.
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Lindsey Walaski, Green Building United Policy and Advocacy Committee Member, provided testimony to City Council in support of the Building Energy Performance Policy.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Climate Change and Energy Conservation Executive Order

This January, Governor Tom Wolf's first executive order of his second term - 2019-01 - Commonwealth Leadership in Addressing Climate Change and Promoting Energy Conservation and Sustainable Governance - positioned state government to lead by example. The order committed PA to meeting emissions reduction goals under Paris Agreement and set goals for state government in the areas of overall energy consumption reduction from its owned and leased facilities, electrifying its passenger car fleet, and procuring renewable electricity. 

Green Building United supported this executive order by providing information on minimum and above-code building standards, sharing the news of the order alongside the Clean Power PA Coalition, and attending a ceremonial signing with partners from AIA Pennsylvania, Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance, and Green Building Alliance. 

 

PA to Join Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

This October, Governor Wolf signed  Executive Order 2019-07- Commonwealth Leadership in Addressing Climate Change through Electric Sector Emissions Reductions, directing Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and limit carbon emissions from the commonwealth’s power sector. According to recent research from the Acadia Center, carbon emissions from power plants in RGGI states have fallen by 47%, significantly outpacing the rest of the country.

Green Building United supported this executive order by sharing the news of its signing, citing our work with the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility - Energize Delaware the as an example of success of a state's participation in RGGI.

 

What’s Next?

Green Building United will continue to support legislation to enable community solar projects in Pennsylvania and will participate in the RGGI rulemaking process. 

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Green Building United's Alex Dews and Katie Bartolotta attended a ceremonial signing of Governor Wolf’s Executive Order Addressing Climate Change and Promoting Energy Conservation.
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Green Building United Members Amy Cornelius, Jay Dennis, and Anthony Scaccia with Representative Brian Sims at our Harrisburg Advocacy Day.

State of Delaware 

Commercial PACE (C-PACE) Program Launch 

This September, the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility - Energize Delaware launched its C-PACE Program in New Castle County. 

C-PACE is a financing mechanism that enables low-cost, long-term funding for construction, renovation, or retrofitting of energy efficient technology or clean energy systems. C-PACE programs help to encourage clean energy job growth, lower utility bills, increase building asset value, save energy, and reduce carbon emissions.

Green Building United is continuing to help spread the word by educating members on the C-PACE program.

 

What’s next?

This November, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control opened its comment period to review and adopt the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) statewide. Raising Delaware’s minimum building energy codes to incorporate vetted and cost-effective technologies and practices will save consumers money, improve safety and resiliency, and reduce environmental impact. 

Green Building United's members have actively participated in this process, attending meetings of the Delaware Energy Code Coalition, submitting written testimony, testifying in person, and educating partners on the importance of modern energy codes. 

Green Building United awaits the results of the 2018 IECC review process and will help support the transition to a new energy code with education and training. 

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Green Building United members Anne Kirby and Cory Budischak participate in the Commercial PACE bill signing with Governor Carney.

Support the Work

Green Building United Policy and Advocacy Committee leads its legislative work. This member-only committee of diverse professionals meets monthly to advocate for policy and legislation that advances a sustainable and healthy built environment.

Activities include:

  • Educating elected officials and staff on green building priorities through in-district meetings and lobby days
  • Providing testimony during committee hearings
  • Reviewing and providing feedback on draft legislation and policy  
  • Signing and circulating letters of support for legislation and policy
  • Assisting with research and draft educational one-pagers
  • Sharing legislative and policy updates with networks 


For more information or to get involved, please email Katie Bartolotta

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