Chill Out: RetroFIT PHILLY Launches Coolest Block Contest

How many "cool" puns can a group of elected officials and civic leaders make in one press conference? Well, a lot. But they can be forgiven for being enthusiastic about the Coolest Block Contest. Today at City Hall, the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA), the City of Philadelphia and the Dow Chemical Company announced this city-wide competition that will give Philly rowhome residents the opportunity to compete for energy-saving upgrades. Winners of the RetroFIT PHILLY Competition will receive a white roof, air sealing and insulation for their entire block, totally free of charge.

White roofs are a huge opportunity for a dense city like Philadelphia that is filled with flat-roofed rowhomes. By reflecting the sun's rays, this small change can reduce the cost of cooling a home by as much as 20 percent. They are also more durable, and require less maintenance than traditional asphalt roofs. Lastly, white (or cool) roofs help mitigate the urban heat island effect.

Community engagement will pay dividends—the more signatures a block can gather, the better their chances to win. For information on entering, visit retrofitphilly.com.