This month's column is my last as Director of Sustainability and my question comes from the editors of Grid
Q: What is the most important or surprising lesson you’ve learned during your time as Director of Sustainability?
Philadelphia’s Director of Sustainability, Mark Alan Hughes, answers our readers
Q: When I saw you speak at Johnny Brenda’s a few months ago, you mentioned an idea to make Philadelphia government offices more energy-conscious by tracking their usage, setting goals and rewarding conservation efforts. Since that time, Mayor Nutter has announced massive cutbacks and I couldn’t help but wonder if your plan to curb the energy use by government offices has been put into effect.
—Elizabeth Reed, Northern Liberties
Q: [What is] your vision for residential solar power in Philadelphia’s energy future?
Many Philadelphians, like me, have homes with flat roofs that receive plenty of
direct sunlight. Is the city considering any programs that would help us tap into that potential power, like California’s “Million Solar Roofs” project?
—Tom Schrand, Director of the Environmental Sustainability Program at Philadelphia University
A: Thanks, Tom. Great question. Just to clarify, Philadelphia’s own Million Solar Roofs Partnership (PMSR) was established in 1999 by the Energy Coordinating Agency and the Sustainable Development Fund. It was a regional effort to contribute new solar installations to a national goal of one million by 2010. Through public/private collaboration, public education, developing a market and infrastructure for solar applications, and providing training opportunities to those interested in solar technologies, the PMSR helped to install approximately 185 systems.