Tidbit Tuesday | Green Buildings in Philadelphia

On Tuesdays, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a map or graphic that tells a story about transportation or utilities in the City of Brotherly Love.

How can we produce less waste, conserve energy, and minimize our carbon footprint? One way to do this is by constructing “green” buildings, such as those that meet LEED standards. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was established by the US Green Building Council in 1998. Buildings earn LEED certification by demonstrating that they are constructed using responsibly-sourced materials and practices and that they are maintained and operated in a resource-conscious way.  Some strategies for achieving LEED certification, available in grades from certified to, silver, bronze, gold, and platinum, include using recycled building materials, installing green roofs, using efficient shading devices on windows, and incorporating efficient plumbing fixtures which use less water.

Today, we are taking a look at the number of LEED Certified buildings in Philadelphia, using data from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The graph below shows that the number of green buildings has been steadily increasing in Philadelphia since 2005. A zoning code adopted in August 2012 further encourages the construction of green buildings by offering density bonuses for projects that meet LEED Gold or Platinum standards.

Leed Certified Bldgs Philadelphia-01

The second chart shows how Philadelphia compares to the most populous cities in the United States. What do you think of these results?

Leed Certified Bldgs Philadelphia-02

More information on LEED Certified projects across the country can be found here.

MOTUnes Monday | Little Honda

 

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities showcases a song related to transportation, energy, or sustainability. This week, we’re riding out of town with the Beach Boys on a little Honda motorbike.

Tidbit Tuesday | Electric Home Heating in Philadelphia

On Tuesdays, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a map or graphic that tells a story about transportation or utilities in the City of Brotherly Love.

As the weather heats up, what better way to cool down than to remember the frigid winter?  This week, we mapped which homes in Philadelphia are heated by electricity, and how that has changed over time. We compared data from the American Community Survey (2008-2012 5-year estimate) to data from the 2000 Census.

The 3-D orthogonal views show relative heights of Philly’s block groups based on the percent of households using electricity for their home heating. The block groups are also categorized into five colors representing the percentage ranges.

In general, electric home heating is concentrated in Center City, illustrated by the greens. Over the last decade, use of electric heating has increased in both West and North Philadelphia. As shown in the orthogonal views, the heights of the block groups increased across Philadelphia.

Because the data are reported only by fuel source, we’re not sure what’s accounting for this shift. Our assumption is that new home construction would feature gas heating, so these increases may represent increased use of small electric space heaters. Let us know if you have any thoughts!

More data about home heating energy sources can be found here.

 

MOTUnes Monday | Next Plane Home

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities showcases a song related to transportation, energy, or sustainability. This week, we’re flying home with Daniel Powter.

SEPTA’s New Pilot Program Offers 24 Hour Weekend Service

SEPTA

Night owls rejoice! Starting at midnight on June 15th, SEPTA will be offering 24 hour service for late night riders of the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays. The pilot program, which has launched in response to Philadelphia’s increasing night-time activities and flourishing restaurant and night-life scene, will run through Labor Day Weekend.

Depending on how successful the pilot program is SEPTA may choose to extend late night service past the summer months.

Here are some of the main details:

SAFETY: Extra police officers will be present at all stations to ensure the safety of all passengers.

FARES & ENTRY: At major hubs and high ridership locations, riders can purchase fares at the entrance gate. At all other stations, riders will be able to go through the turnstiles and pay their fares to the train operator at the head of the train before entering. Exact change only, please!

FREQUENCY: Trains will run every 20 minutes between midnight and 5:00 a.m.

You can get more information, including tips and schedules here.

Tidbit Tuesday | Philadelphia’s Freight Centers

On Tuesdays, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a map or graphic that tells a story about transportation or utilities in the City of Brotherly Love.

Freight centers are among the most visible examples of the close relationship between transportation and the economy. This week, we took a look at Philadelphia’s freight centers, investigating what they are used for, how large they are, and how many jobs they generate.

Freight Blog Post-01

The chart above illustrates what the land at the city’s eight freight centers is used for.  Freight centers cover 9,200 acres in Philadelphia.  Light and heavy manufacturing uses accounted for total of 57% of freight center land. Examples of goods produced in these areas include clothing, furniture, ships, and steel. Goods produced at freight center are then shipped off to various buyers via rail, truck, train, or airplane. Unsurprisingly, a significant proportion– a third– of freight center land is devoted to transportation.

As the chart below shows, the largest freight centers in the city are located at Northeast Philadelphia Airport/Byberry Road, Schuylkill River West, and Schuylkill River East. The graphics above are based on data from 2009 — a difficult year for the economy. In that year, these centers hosted 67,610 jobs.

Freight Blog Post-02 

 

The freight data above were collected in 2009 and published by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission in 2012; DVRP’s study can be found here.

MOTUnes Monday | Car Song

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities showcases a song related to transportation, energy, or sustainability. This week, we’re taking a ride with Woody Guthrie.

 

 

Utility Update | City buildings get energy efficient upgrades

On Thursdays, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a graphic, map, news, or research about utilities here in Philadelphia.

Utility Update_2014-5-29

Look up! New LED lights are shining at City Hall.

Greenworks Philadelphia, the city’s sustainability plan, set an ambitious target of reducing the energy consumption of municipal buildings by 10% below 2006 levels by 2015. The City is on its way to meeting this target due in part to the Quadplex Guaranteed Energy Savings Project, an initiative of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Department of Public Property, and the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities. The project, enabled by the Pennsylvania Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA), uses the savings from increased building energy efficiency to pay for retrofits and other upgrades.

The Quadplex GESA Project has been in the works since late 2008, when the City issued an RFQ to select an energy service company to assist with the initiative. In late 2009 the City selected the energy service company Noresco to complete an energy audit, develop energy conservation measures, and to manage their implementation. In 2011, City Council passed ordinances enabling the project, and in May 2012 the City issued bonds to fund the improvements. Improvements to four of the City’s biggest energy users, known collectively as the “Quadplex,” (City Hall, the Municipal Services Building, One Parkway, and the Criminal Justice Center) will be finished by this summer.

Many of the upgrades are invisible to building users. These include improvements to boilers, steam pipe insulation, and HVAC drives and filters. In addition, the City has adopted new building control systems. These systems include web-based software that allows city staff to remotely monitor and manage, in real-time, building HVAC systems. Increased capacity to control HVAC is particularly important because building heating and cooling account for between 50-60% of Quadplex building energy use.

Some of the Quadplex upgrades are more visible to building users, such as the installation of low-flow water fixtures. In addition, those who enter the Municipal Services Building from the underground concourse may have noticed newly sealed doors. Visitors to City Hall who look up while in main building entrance vestibules can now see new LED lighting (as shown in the picture above).

In addition to cost savings, there are significant operational benefits associated with upgrading to more energy efficient building features. For example, LED lights require replacement far less frequently than traditional fluorescent light bulbs.

The results of the Quadplex GESA Project after only one year are overwhelmingly positive. The City saved $1.34 million dollars in energy costs in the first year of the program. The City used around $990,000 of this to repay the costs of the retrofits, leaving an additional $350,000, some of which will be put aside for additional repairs. All bonds will be completely paid for in 15 years.

 

MOTUnes Monday | Nighttime in the Switching Yard

Every Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities showcases a song related to transportation, energy, or sustainability. This week, we’re listening to the rhythm of the train go by (to the Main Line?) with onetime Philadelphia resident Warren Zevon.

The parklets are back!

Parklet on S. 44th St.

Stop by and enjoy the city’s nine beautiful parklets! Now in their third season, Philadelphia’s parklets temporarily–from April through November–convert one or two on-street parking spaces into patios with tables, seating, and greenery. Although small businesses often sponsor parklets, parklet seating is open to the general public.

Parklets at the following locations are now in full swing:

  1. 128 N. 10th Street, sponsored by the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation;
  2. 1511 South Street, sponsored by the The Quick Fixx and the South of South Neighborhood Association;
  3. 2311 Frankford Ave, sponsored by Little Baby’s Ice Cream and the New Kensington Community Development Corporation;
  4. 4360 Main Street,  sponsored by Federal Realty Investment Trust and the Manayunk Development Corporation;
  5. 4903 Catharine Street, sponsored by University City District;
  6. 810-814 S. 47th Street, sponsored by University City District;
  7. 261-263 S. 44th Street, sponsored by University City District;
  8. 43rd and Baltimore, sponsored by University City District;
  9. 4040 Locust, sponsored by University City District.

To learn more about the evolution of the city’s parklet program, check out some of our earlier blog posts here, here, here, and here. Is your business or neighborhood association interested in sponsoring a parklet? If so, contact us at completestreets@phila.gov.

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