Go Solar, Philadelphia (And Here's How)

Interested in finding out more about solar power in Philadelphia? Solar Philly, a new program by the Sustainable Business NetworkClean Air Council and local solar installers Solar States and Exact Solar, looks to connect Philadelphia homeowners and a city-wide coalition of community organizers to reduce the cost of going solar and to meet the city’s solar energy goals outlined in the Green Works Plan. There are six upcoming workshop dates at different locations around the city to inform and educate citizens. 

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Power Grapes: Local vintners do more than wine about the environment

When it comes to caring about the well-being of the environment, Pennsylvania’s roughly 200 wineries are inherently invested in sustainable practices, according to Jennifer Eckinger, executive director at the Pennsylvania Winery Association.

“Using our locally produced products is obviously a big part of all these wineries,” Eckinger says. “But caring for the land and being good stewards of the soil and water is also part and parcel of what these businesses are about. It’s about being sustainable for them and for future generations.”

Although any bottle of wine made in Pennsylvania is going to come with a smaller carbon footprint than an Australian shiraz, Eckinger says these nearby Pennsylvania wineries make an extra effort to be responsible.

Crossing Vineyards

Located less than an hour from Philadelphia in Washington’s Crossing, Bucks County, this family-owned vineyard strives for sustainable agricultural practices in the fields and at the winery. A recent upgrade to a geothermal heating and cooling system has significantly reduced energy consumption.

1853 Wrightstown Rd., Washington Crossing



Vynecrest Winery

This Lehigh County gem calls a 19th century banked barn home, allowing the winery to take advantage of the earth’s natural insulating properties. They’ve also installed geothermal, taking the bite out of a pricey and carbon-intensive oil heating system.

172 Arrowhead Ln., Breinigsville



Manatawny Creek Winery

Located on the banks of the Manatawny Creek, this Berks County winery uses integrated pest management, has rooftop solar panels and instead of using chemicals, fertilizes their vines with compost made from wine-making byproducts and manure from local farms.

227 Levengood Rd., Douglassville




Story by Brian Rademaekers illustration by Michael Alan 

Season for Art: Philly artists showcase eco-themes in current exhibits

Elaine Kurtz, Untitled, 2002, Image via Canary PromotionLast week, we reviewed South Philly artist Shelley Spector’s “Dreck Groove” exhibit on display at Breadboard’s Esther Klein Gallery. The exhibit (February 17 to March 30) features Spector’s use of reclaimed materials to display embroidery representing recent natural disasters. 

But Spector isn’t the only artist showcasing environmentally-centric work this month. 

Philadelphia artist Elaine Kurtz, known for her nature-based work, has two exhibits at the Woodmere Museum this spring. A Retrospective is a celebration of her abstractions that use mud, sand and pulverized minerals. Elemental will incorporate other Philadelphia artists who also use nature as inspiration. The entire exhibit, A Retrospective and Elemental: Nature as Language in the Works of Philadelphia Artists, will be open Feb. 17 to April 22.

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Profile: A Man for All Seasons

Marvin Dixon takes lessons learned on a farm to the luxury hotel business
by Char Vandermeer

If the typical luxury hotel is a gaping hole of conspicuous consumption, then Philadelphia’s Four Seasons Hotel is anything but. With its hugely successful composting program, a commitment to reusing cooking oil, an aggressive commingled recycling program and a brand-new cogeneration system, it sticks out like a green thumb.

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