2023 Groundbreaker Awards Nominee: The School District of Philadelphia Building Re-Tuning

Posted September 28, 2023

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School District of Philadelphia GIS Dashboard

Project Info

Energy Consulting Services by Practical Energy Solutions to Support School District of Philadelphia Compliance with Building Energy Performance Program - BEPP Regulatory Requirements.


Project Description

Building Retuning | The PES team of BEPP Tune-Up Specialists and supporting staff are in the midst of a multi-year contract with the School District of Philadelphia to provide tune-ups and high-performance certifications for their extensive, diverse portfolio of over 220 elementary, middle, and high schools. The schools not only present a variety of system types and monitoring systems or lack thereof, but we are also vetting each for qualification for the range of exemptions and high-performance pathways including primarily 15% energy savings due to recent improvements, ENERGY STAR Certification which we submit for EPA approval, and Automated Active Optimization. With streamlined reporting and tracking, primarily through our in-house GIS-based custom BEPP Data Collection and Progress Tracker dashboards, the District can see real-time the execution progress and we are able to provide consistent results.

Since the founding of Practical Energy Solutions (PES) in 2006, our team has had a singular focus: reducing energy consumption in government buildings, educational institutions, and commercial facilities in the Mid-Atlantic region. When using sustainability metrics in a green building benchmarking system, we understand that each project is unique and may require a tailored approach to maximizing sustainability while ensuring functionality. That’s why our focus is on finding strategic alignment between the certification options and pathways, and the unique goals and constraints of the project itself. Our interest is in advancing the sustainability of projects in meaningful and practical ways, and in using the benchmarking system to verify and communicate the ongoing project benefits. For each project, we consider not just green building certification requirements such as LEED and WELL Building, but also client benefits, environmental and social impacts, costs, and schedule. With an in-depth understanding of the intent of multiple green building benchmarking system requirements, we are adept at selecting appropriate strategies for a wide variety of circumstances.

GIS tools were developed in-house by PES to support work with the City of Philadelphia Energy Office while doing building tune-ups for BEPP compliance on City-owned buildings. There are multiple modules, including data gathering for the tune-ups on iPads, automatic upload of data to the BEPP Workbook that is submitted, and a Project Tracking tool for sharing the status of all active and completed tune-ups. There is one additional module that is public facing, so that anyone can sign in to see the progress, but this module has only been used by the City Energy Office, and not the School District to-date, and is found here:




The School District of Philadelphia has the largest number of buildings in the city that are subject to the BEPP, and submitted a plan with a schedule for compliance to spread the tune-ups over a longer period to mitigate the cost impact to the District. They hired PES to lead the compliance effort, assessing and considering multiple pathways, including full tune-ups, energy audits, and high performance exemptions. The District, through its Environmental group, and their regional Facility Manager connected PES to building maintenance personnel in over 50 buildings since the 2022 launch of the project, most of which have already been submitted and approved by the Program. The complex coordination efforts proceeded more seamlessly than anyone expected, and PES is completing verification of implementation of corrective actions on the last few schools due for compliance by September 30, 2023. Beginning October 1, an additional 32 schools will get underway for September 30, 2024 compliance. This complex, challenging and impactful initiative by the District will meet the City’s compliance requirements for an extremely large portfolio of buildings, while saving energy costs for the District and in many cases improving indoor air quality for students, faculty and staff.

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