Philly Takes another step towards being the Greenest City in America

From US EPA Region 3 Press Office

EPA Welcomes Philadelphia as its Newest Green Power Community Partner

PHILADELPHIA ( June 20, 2012) – Today, EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin welcomed the City of Philadelphia as a new member of EPA’s national Green Power Communities initiative, showing that a major metropolitan area can reduce its carbon pollution, improve public health, and help expand the nation’s renewable energy supply. The announcement came during an event at Citizens Bank Park, where Garvin also praised the Philadelphia Phillies and other organizations whose efforts for a cleaner environment are helping Philadelphia achieve its clean energy goals.

“As EPA’s largest Green Power Community, Philadelphia is among the elite local governments that have met or exceeded their pledges to our nation’s clean energy future by purchasing green, renewable power,” said Garvin. “I commend Mayor Michael Nutter for his continuous pursuit of numerous, practical ways to make Philadelphia a model green city.”

As EPA Green Power Communities, Philadelphia and 33 other towns and cities across the U.S. collectively buy more than 4.2 billion kilowatt hours of green power annually, an amount that would otherwise produce carbon dioxide emissions from the conventional electricity of more than 367,000 average American homes. Green power is generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, and low-impact hydropower – environmentally-preferable resources that produce no net increase of harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2006, Philadelphia joined EPA’s Green Power Partnership, a launching pad for becoming a Green Power Community. As part of Philadelphia’s Greenworks plan, the city pledges that by 2015, 20 percent of the electricity used in Philadelphia will come from alternative energy sources. The city’s municipal operations have already met this goal, using more than 127 million kilowatt-hours of green power, including generating solar electricity onsite at the city-owned Southeast Water Pollution Control facility.

Last week, the Phillies announced its agreement to purchase 100 percent of its electricity usage from local wind and solar generation providers. Other major contributors to the city’s green power purchase success include EPA Green Power Partners such as the Eagles organization, the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Philadelphia University, the Academy of Natural Sciences, Yards Brewing Company, along with residents choosing green power. Philadelphia organizations and businesses, including members of the Philadelphia Green Power Community Collaborative are also actively committed to helping Philadelphia maintain its standing as a leading Green Power Community and increase its use of renewable energy.

More information on EPA’s Green Power Communities: www.epa.gov/greenpower/communities
More information on EPA’s Green Power Partnership Program: www.epa.gov/greenpower
Philadelphia’s Green Power Community Collaborative: www.PhiladelphiaGreenPower.com
Green power providers in Pennsylvania: www.papowerswitch.com

Good for you, Good for Planet II: People Power Produces Electricity

With all of the gyms around, we’ve wondered about the potential for generating power to light the studio spaces or run the always on ESPN tuned TVs for awhile now. Rather than using electricity to run all the newfangled cardio machines, why can’t we channel our energy and put our calorie burning activities to use?

A little further investigation led us to the Green Microgym,  a Portland based outfit which bills itself as “the world’s first electricity generating gyms.” Through energy creation and conservation, they figure they generated 36% of their power needs and saved 37,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in 2010 — the equivalent of:

  • 74,000 pounds of carbon emissions
  • 81,400 miles NOT driven
  • 15 acres of trees planted

Pretty darn impressive, and when combined with their other sustainability-focused efforts (no bottled water for sale; purchase of quality lightly used equipment when possible; member controlled lights, fans, tvs; recycling program and focus on recycled products; high efficiency compact fluorescent lighting; etc), it makes one wonder the collective impact corporate fitness centers could make if they sacrificed a little green to Go Green…

For info about the equipment they use at GreenMicrogym, visit Plugout Fitness>>


Closer to home, some local students are having a bit of fun adn getting into the act. Check out the piece that recently ran in Philly.com:

GreenSpace: At Drexel and Temple, pedaling produces electrical power – Philly.com


Biking: Good for you, good for the planet

In the U.S., it’s estimated that 40 percent of all urban trips are two miles or less. Unfortunately, 90 percent of those trips are usually by car, which adds up in fuel and carbon emissions. If you consider that each mile you travel by bike instead of car prevents one pound of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere, the benefits of bike riding becomes clear. Add the calorie burning, cardiovascular building, body slimming benefits, and one has to wonder: why doesn’t everyone bike?

image from The GOOD Guide to Biking for the Planet

As it turns out, here in Philadelphia, more of us are doing just that every year. According to a recent report from the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love boasts twice as many bike commuters per capita than any other big city in the U.S. and our ranks (yup, two out of three GreenTrekkers regularly bike to work) continue to rise. With new bike lanes planned and slow but steady progress in etiquette amongst and between cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians, Philly is poised to become what Mayor Nutter dreams of: one of the nation’s most bike friendly cities.

We’re well on our way, what with our many great bike shops, clubs that support the most low key recreational riders and hardest-core racers alike, and a super system of bike paths that wend through the city and beyond. Take to the saddle and become part of the bicycle revolution. Besides being good for you and good for the planet, it’s a whole lot of fun!

For the more ambitious amongst you, check out the resurgence of the cross country bike path movement, the U.S. Bicycle Route System, as discussed in this recent Blog post from GOOD >>

Check out the Bicycle Coalition and Download their report >>

Get The GOOD Guide to Biking for the Planet >>

Better still, Get out and Ride!


New World Order: Electricity Choice is full on in PA

We take electricity for granted, but how often do we think about where it comes from, its environmental costs, or what we can do differentl

Here at GreenTreks, we’ve followed the renewable story for more than decade and we’ve said for awhile that consumers do have a choice; but, until now, we’ve had to pay more. With the expiration of rate caps on electricity generation, the free market has taken over–and new options abound. You may be able to save go green for less, save some green, or both!

Check out the article from the Philadelphia Inquirer on choosing renewable energy >>

Go to the PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) site on making a switch >>

If you think you’re in tune with your energy use, Check out the following video. It’s from our Energy Thinking DVD, which is available now at our Shop.


Energy Aware from GreenTreks Network on Vimeo.

Not sure where you line up on the debate on drilling for Natural Gas? Hear Philly Water Department’s take…

There’s so much polarizing debate going on around the issue of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation that it’s hard to know what lies ahead. On one side, there are those who see the “gasrush” as nothing less than economic salvation; on the other, those who believe environmental disaster is imminent and drilling must be prevented no what the opportunity cost. There are a ton of far smarter minds than ours weighing in, yet we tend to believe that somewhere along the line we must reach a middle ground and PROCEED SLOWLY, AND WITH EXTREME CAUTION, because it’s pretty clear we’re not getting to a 100% renewable energy future anytime soon…

Kelly Anderson and Paula Conolly of the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) will present an overview of PWD’s approach to source water protection and what steps are being taken to address the challenges presented by natural gas drilling in the Schuylkill and Delaware River basins–the source of Philadelphia’s water supply.

Please RSVP by December 13. For reservations or more information, please call 215-685-0723. More Information at FWWIC website >>

As a prelude to the program, you might want to Remember The River by tuning in to a video we created for our tireless friends at the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. It’s mainly derived from a pair of our beautiful documentaries, Life on the Delaware and PA: A River Sojourn. Both are available now on DVD. Go to the Shop >>

Remember the River from GreenTreks Network on Vimeo.