City

Here’s Mayor Kenney’s Plan to Save the Planet

He unveiled his climate change agenda on Wednesday.

Statue of William Penn atop City Hall during the partial eclipse in Philadelphia, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

After President Donald Trump made public his desire to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, Mayor Jim Kenney responded in kind by calling the decision “dangerous” while committing to uphold the values of the international accord at the local level here in Philadelphia. Living up to his pledge, Kenney and other officials announced on Wednesday the city’s new plan to curb climate change by taking a more proactive approach in monitoring energy usage.

The Philadelphia Municipal Energy Master Plan for the Built Environment outlines how our city government will work toward reducing the causes of climate change in municipal buildings by reducing energy use and costs, streamlining operations, investing in renewable energy sources and advancing environmental stewardship.

“If we are to ask residents and the business community to do their part in fighting climate change, the city must lead by example,” Kenney said in a release. “That’s why we are starting with this – a comprehensive blueprint to better manage our own assets to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in line with our commitments.”

Energy goals outlined in the report include:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the city’s built environment 50 percent by 2030.
  • Reduce the city’s built environment energy use 20 percent by 2030.
  • Generate or purchase 100 percent of all electricity for the city’s built environment from renewable resources by 2030.
  • Maintain or reduce the city’s built environment cost of energy at facilities.

In keeping with the plan’s overall strategy of decreasing energy output, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will undergo a $200 million retrofitting to improve energy conservation measures such as lighting upgrades and building controls. The art museum is the largest energy consumer of the city’s 600 buildings.

“This is an excellent example of the enduring 89-year partnership between the city and the Museum,” said Gail Harrity, President and COO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Under its four-acre roof, the Museum provides care for one of the nation’s largest and most treasured collections of art, and it’s no surprise that the Museum is also one of the city’s most significant users of energy. Today is an exciting moment to show how the Museum and the city are working together to reduce consumption at our iconic, city-owned building. The timing could not be more perfect. Our Facilities Master Plan, also undertaken in partnership with the city, is well underway, so as we renew this aging facility, we are also ensuring that lowered energy consumption is built into the heart of the plan.”

Additionally, the Philadelphia Municipal Energy Master Plan for the Built Environment advocates for the city’s transition to more renewable energy sources like wind or solar power. The Kenney administration and the Philadelphia Energy Authority will soon release an RFP for a renewable energy power purchase agreement.

Developed by the city’s Office of Sustainability, you can view the plan in its entirety here.

Follow @jtrinacria on Twitter.