Sustained Commitment: Now in his second term, Mayor Nutter continues to make green work

interview by Liz Pacheco | photos by Gene SmirnovOn his first day in office Mayor Nutter announced his intention to make Philadelphia “the greenest city in America.” Now, four years later, with his Greenworks plan in full swing, the Mayor has proven he’s serious. Our Green City, Clean Waters program is revolutionizing how cities handle their ancient stormwater systems. The growing number of urban gardens and farms is making access to local, fresh foods not just possible, but commonplace. Our recycling program is actually making money. And our plans for energy efficiency, whether through retrofits, new construction or renewable energy sources, are promising to significantly reduce our reliance on traditional fossil fuels. Recently, Grid had the chance to catch up with the Mayor and talk with him about his connection to Philadelphia parks, his at-home recycling habits and why there’s still hope for solar projects in the city.
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Invest in Efficiency: Philly offering small businesses energy efficiency rebates

Greenworks Philadelphia is offering funding to small business owners for energy efficiency projects. | Image via efficiency improvements can be a major boon to small businesses, lowering energy bills and increasing savings each month. But for many businesses, the high costs of these improvements can put energy efficiency out of reach. Luckily, the Philadelphia Commerce Department is here to help. 

For a short time, the Commerce Department is offering its Greenworks Small Business Energy Efficiency Rebate program to a limited number of projects. The rebate program encourages businesses to make investments in efficiency by reimbursing owners for improvement projects involving lighting, HVAC equipment, major appliances, electric motors and energy management control systems.

To receive the rebates, the proposed project must:

  • Be ready to begin immediately.
  • Reduce energy consumption by at least 20 percent.
  • Meet select payback period requirements; 10 years or less for non-HVAC projects and 15 years or less for HVAC projects.
  • Provide two separate estimates for the costs of improvements. One estimate must come from a minority, female or disabled-owned business.
  • Be completed by July 20, 2012.

This opportunity is too good to pass up, so be sure to submit all applications by the deadline, May 30 at 5 p.m. Download an application here. And for more information, contact Jonathan Snyder at  

LEED Bill Passes City Council

In December, the City Council voted 17-0 to pass Bill No. 080025, introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown. The bill requires LEED-silver standards for all government construction projects over 10,000 square feet that are primarily funded by city capital dollars and controlled by the city. The measure is an important step towards reaching the Target 1 goal of Greenworks Philadelphia (reducing government energy consumption 30 percent by 2015), and could someday be extended to all city buildings.

News: Lean and Green by 2015

Mayor Nutter announced his plans for making Philadelphia the “greenest” city in America last month, highlighting five areas of interest and 150 initiatives he hopes to achieve by 2015. He has defined the ambitious plan as a restructuring of Philadelphia towards a “green economy,” which, if it lives up to its alternate meanings, could definitely help a city living through a recession.
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