PHILADELPHIA — The Mayor today released an update on Philadelphia’s Energy Benchmarking Program and signed legislation to further the City’s action on climate change.
The Mayor signed Bill #190600 creating a new Building Energy Performance Program and Bill #190636-A to phase out the use of dirty fuel oils. During the event, Councilmember Blondell Reynolds Brown was recognized for her tenure leading City Council’s Committee on the Environment and her commitment to championing environmentally-friendly legislation.
“The science is clear. We need to act faster and with more urgency to respond to the global climate emergency and avoid catastrophic climate change,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “With the help of City Council, we are implementing the important and necessary steps to meet the targets of the Paris Climate Accords as the Federal government continues to stand on the sidelines. This year we have accelerated our progress by passing several pieces of legislation to cut emissions from buildings, the largest source of carbon pollution in Philadelphia.”
Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability tracks and discloses information on how the largest buildings in the city contribute to global climate change and manage their energy usage through its Energy Benchmarking Program. Today’s report highlights several key findings from an analysis of data collected over the last six years, including:
- Buildings reporting annually cut energy waste 5 percent and carbon pollution more than 10 percent.
- Philadelphia buildings receiving nationally-regarded performance labels like LEED and ENERGY STAR increased by 53 percent, indicating strong demand for green buildings in Philadelphia.
- The average building in Philadelphia is performing slightly better than the national median with an ENERGY STAR score of 55; however, thousands of buildings fall below this score, demonstrating the opportunity to improve energy efficiency in Philadelphia’s building stock.
Building on the success of this program, the newly passed Building Energy Performance Program will further support Mayor Kenney’s commitment to cutting carbon pollution 25 percent by 2025 in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Once implemented, it will cut carbon pollution in the city of Philadelphia by nearly 200,000 metric tons. This is the climate pollution equivalent of taking 40,000 automobiles off our roads. The Building Energy Performance Policy mandates all non-residential buildings 50,000 square feet and larger to either submit a certification of high energy performance to the City’s Office of Sustainability or conduct a tune-up to bring existing building energy systems up to a state of good repair.
The second bill will phase out the use of dirty fuel oils in Philadelphia. Use of these fuels contribute to high levels of air pollutants that are linked to health conditions like lung disease and heart disease. By only allowing cleaner burning fuels, the city hopes to improve air quality throughout Philadelphia.