In 2010, the Philadelphia Office of Sustainability (OOS) created the Greenworks Sustainability Fund (GSF) to help City departments lower their energy use. Managed by OOS’s Energy Office, GSF provides funding to departments for projects that support the City’s overall energy and sustainability goals, as laid out in the Municipal Energy Master Plan and Greenworks: A Vision for a Sustainable Philadelphia.

One of the most recent projects made possible by the Greenworks Sustainability Fund took place at the African American Museum of Philadelphia (AAMP). The museum was opened in 1976 and was built to honor the heritage of African Americans. As the first municipally funded and constructed museum of its kind, the AAMP is a unique and valuable cultural and historic resource of Philadelphia.

To increase occupancy comfort and energy efficiency, the African American Museum in Philadelphia had renovations completed in March of 2021.

The infrastructural updates include:

Building Automation System (BAS)

A BAS is a software and hardware installed to control electrical and mechanical building systems such as heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC), lighting, and security. The BAS in the museum allows for more efficient use of energy resulting in lower cost by monitoring the energy consumption. In fact, calculated potential savings are about $7,000, annually.

Air conditioning for art storage and HVAC ceiling diffusers 

This unique renovation provided improved temperature and humidity control, meeting the special requirements of the art storage area.

The ceiling diffusers also provided comfort from the staff working on the administrative floor by dispersing the cool air from the HVAC more evenly across the floor.

LED lighting & Window Glazing 

Thanks to PECO’s Direct Install program, lighting in the museum’s administrative offices, staff areas and auditorium were converted to light-emitting diode (LED), which uses less energy, generates less heat, and lasts longer, thereby saving money.  The lighting upgrades also increased the comfort for staff, since they provide ample light without under-lighting, over-lighting, or causing glare.

The windows in the museum have also been renovated to include a glazing that helps reduce the summertime heat in the building and protects the museum’s art and staff from ultraviolet rays.

The improvements made to the museum have helped preserve the building that houses such rich and important stories. Facility Manager, Kirk Dorset, says the improvements to the HVAC system were the first since the building opened 45 years ago.

“When the AC turns on, you feel a better cool breeze coming through it- it’s protecting the artwork better now that everything’s been changed over.”

– Kirk Dorset, Facility Manager

Kirk added that the lighting updates have made a big impact on staff members of the museum, who have said the space is now much brighter and more comfortable.

“The lighting update is a tremendous difference from what it used to be; even the staff have noticed how bright the administrative floor is compared to what is used to be. It’s a big difference throughout the museum. Also, with the auditorium the new LED lights that we put in you get a nice warm feeling of the auditorium.”

– Kirk Dorset, Facility Manager


To learn more about the AAMP visit


The improvements in the African American Museum of Philadelphia are just one example of the many projects completed thanks to the GSF. Check out all of the energy-saving projects completed here in the Greenworks Sustainability Fund Story Map.