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 phila.gov/green/greenworksEnergy 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 jonathan.snyder@phila.gov.  

No Such Thing?: Believe it or not, electric vehicles are coming to Philadelphia

For years, the electric vehicle has been mentioned in hushed tones, believed to be the second coming of sorts for our car-dependent society, a clean-running innovation that would allow us to keep up our driving habit without that messy foreign-oil guilt. Yet electric cars have seemed as mythical as Sasquatch—often spoken of, but rarely, if ever, seen in the wild. That’s about to change for Philadelphians. In October, 16 of these lean, green driving machines will be hitting Philadelphia streets thanks to PhillyCarShare (PCS), the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP).
Read More

View Point

Upgrading your windows will make you more comfortable, and save you cash
by Samantha Wittchen

As any Philadelphia rowhome resident knows, windows work for you—providing much-needed natural light in what can otherwise be a narrow, dark house—and they work against you, leaking heat in the winter and letting scorching sunlight in during the summer.

Read More

Grid's Do-It-Yourself Home Weatherizing Guide


As part of
Grid’s continuing effort to prepare you for the expiration of the PECO rate caps (see August’s cover story), we’re offering you this handy guide to weatherizing your home. The materials you’ll need for these projects, which cost between $5 and $20, are available at your local, independent hardware store. Implement these quick, inexpensive solutions, and you’ll save energy, decrease electric bills and free your house from drafts and leaks.
Read More

State Support

New legislation could mean Pennsylvania is finally turning around its energy policy

by Will Dean

Pennsylvania has long lagged behind other parts of the country in terms of supporting alternative energy and energy conservation. Perhaps because of our massive coal resources, the Keystone State has kept its thinking about energy production firmly in the past. In 2008, after years of pressure from environmental groups and concerned citizens, that began to change, and, if you’re clever, you can take advantage of the new opportunities.

Read More

Warm Your Home, Keep Your Cash

Efficiency tips save energy and dollars

According to the Energy Coordinating Agency, most of Philly’s aging housing could use around 40 to 60 percent less energy, but it will require more than just changing light bulbs. Many solutions are simple DIY projects, but larger projects carry some risk. Insulation, for example, can cause moisture build-up (and thus mold) and dangerous levels of contaminants like radon and carbon monoxide. It’s always best to consult a professional first.

Read More

This Old, Audited House

Audits uncover energy leaks in a Philly rowhome.

by Will Dean

On a brisk December morning, a white van pulls up outside a quaint, stone-fronted, two-story duplex rowhome in Mount Airy. There are a few people inside, myself included, and some ghostbuster-esque equipment, including fans, various detectors, meters and a big fan. The only invisible thing we’re hunting, though, is heat. We’re doing an energy audit.

Read More