Mayor Nutter Announces Energy Reduction Race

Office of Sustainability to release Year Two Benchmarking data

Philadelphia, October 14, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced the start of the Energy Reduction Race, a citywide competition to save energy in Philadelphia’s largest buildings. The Mayor also said the City has released the Year Two Energy Benchmarking report Executive Summary and data and that it will participate in the United States Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge.

“The Energy Reduction Race builds on the momentum of Philadelphia’s Energy Benchmarking program,” said Mayor Nutter. “We know that there is a significant opportunity to cut energy use and costs, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions through more efficient operations. After two years of tracking the energy performance of the city’s biggest commercial buildings, we can now evaluate the real value of energy reduction. The Energy Reduction Race is a great way to engage the private sector to invest in building energy performance and develop best practices we can share across the city.”

In regards to the Energy Reduction Race, several buildings have already signed on to the competition, which runs through September 30, 2015. The three top-performing buildings will be awarded $5,000 each, while every facility that signs up will receive free building operator training to help meet the 5% energy reduction goal.

The Office of Sustainability, which manages the City’s Energy Benchmarking program, will use benchmarking results to track the Energy Reduction Race. Philadelphia’s benchmarking policy and new competition commitments are part of its broader strategy to reduce building energy usage – the primary driver of greenhouse gas emissions citywide. The one-year competition will help Philadelphia’s buildings realize significant savings through better energy performance.

Missy Quinn, chapter chair of the Philadelphia Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), said, “Our members are already committed to energy efficiency, which holds value for both the environment and our businesses. BOMA is excited to be a partner in the launch of the Energy Reduction Race and is looking forward to continuing to demonstrate leadership in building performance by participating in this challenge.”

In addition to launching the Energy Reduction Race, the Office of Sustainability made two additional announcements:

  • The Energy Benchmarking Year Two Report executive summary, covering results from calendar year 2013, is now available  About 90% of the buildings covered by the law, representing 25% of the city’s building floor area, have successfully benchmarked their energy performance. The full report will be released later this month. The data set of Year Two Benchmarking listed by address is now publicly available, released through the City of Philadelphia’s Github portal and on the Philadelphia benchmarking website.
  • The City of Philadelphia has signed the Better Buildings Challenge, a ten-year commitment led by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to reduce building energy use by 20% or more. The Philadelphia Housing Authority and School District of Philadelphia will also participate in the Challenge, bringing the total floor area commitment in Philadelphia to more than 45 million square feet.

Improving building performance and mitigating the impacts of climate change are two critical elements of Greenworks Philadelphia, the City’s sustainability plan. This year, Philadelphia was selected as one of ten participants in the City Energy Project (CEP), a three-year program to share best practices and develop programs to reduce the carbon impact of our nation’s large buildings.

The City has benchmarked the energy performance of its own facilities since 2011 as part of the Greenworks commitment to reduce municipal energy usage 30% by 2015 and has already used the data to guide management decisions. The first municipal guaranteed energy savings project will be completed in 2015, but is already showing results.

An example of what an energy efficient building should be is the Bourse in Old City Philadelphia, a privately-owned building that is using benchmarking data to inform decision-making. Built in 1895, the Bourse Building is one of the oldest large commercial buildings in Philadelphia, and one of the most efficient. Given the age of the Bourse, “I was surprised when I saw the building’s initial benchmarking rating,” said Max Kaiserman, who manages sustainability metrics for the property owner, Kaiserman Company, Inc. “But older buildings sometimes outperform newer buildings. A building that already exists, given all of the embodied energy it brings to the table, is a great place to start for sustainability.”

To read the Year Two Benchmarking report Executive Summary:

For the results of the Year Two Benchmarking program:

Municipal Energy Benchmarking Report for City buildings: Energy Benchmarking Report.pdf

To find out more about the Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge:

For more information about the City Energy Project:

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases
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