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

Philly Hosts another Green Conference: Cities Alive

Hot on the heels of the recent Low Impact Development Symposium at the Loews Hotel, Philly will host another flock of transformative thinkers the end of next month.

Cities Alive, the 9th annual Green Roof & Wall Conference, is coming to the City of Brotherly Love November 29-December 3, 2011.

This international event is co-hosted by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the City of Philadelphia Office of Sustainability, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Why here, you ask? Check out the video from our friends at PHS for a few of the answers. All in all, we’d say this is just one more indication that Philadelphia is at the leading edge of the sustainability curve.


For More information visit Cities Alive.

Active Philly: Multi-Sport Connects Fitness, Health, and Environment in our Urban Oasis

It’s that time of year again, when all hometown eyes are focused on the nation’s largest urban park system and the waterway that wends through the city: the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon takes place this weekend, so if you’re not racing, come out an watch.



This event has been called one of the nation’s best, and it’s near and dear to GreenTreks, not only because our Executive Director Barry Lewis has competed since the race’s inception, but because it highlights the key role a healthy environment plays in our lives.

Imagine if the Schuylkill River wasn’t surrounded by a system of parks to act as a buffer against runoff: there would be no way the swim-bike-run event could be held.*

*NOTE: In spite of the vast improvement in the Schuylkill’s water quality over the past decade, major storms flush significant amounts of pollutants and sediments into the river, so the swim portion is always dependent upon the weather in the days leading up to the race. For an up to date assessment of water quality, based on predictive models, check out phillyrivercast.org. At last check, at 11:30 am on Friday morning, the water quality was good and the water temperature was 79 degrees.

Imagine if we didn’t plan and care for greenspace by maintaining pathways through tree covered landscapes to provide shade and produce oxygen: how enjoyably could we ride and run amidst the paved in, built up city environment that heats like an oven at this time of year?

Imagine if we didn’t have a committed community of athletes, advocates, sponsors, city officials, and volunteers: the coordination, logistics, expense, and personnel requirements of hosting more than 4,00 athletes for a series of multi-sport events would never happen and could never result in such a rich experience for participants without every single person involved.

This year, we’re even more excited about the event, because race management is embarking upon a series of greening initiatives to reduce the event’s environmental footprint and give back to the community that makes the race possible. You can learn more about the initial phase of the race going green, which involves a partnership with Nathan Performance Gear and benefits the Fairmount Park Conservancy here >>

Actually, we’re over the moon about the 2011 race because Barry, who was selected as USA Triathlon’s 2010 Masters Duathlete of the Year, is once again competing as a member of Team PHLY–and they’re partnering with the Challenged Athletes Foundation to RACE FOR A REASON. If you think a triathlon is challenging, check out this video about CAF. Be prepared to be inspired.


Support CAF >>

Then get out and go after your dreams!

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!


Local Food, Local Music, Local Beverages: Maysie’s Farmfest, June 11 & 12

Our good friends at Maysie’s Farm Conservation Center are holding their annual Conservation Concert in conjunction with WXPN and they’ve got a great lineup planned, so why not go green by going local, learning something new, and joining the fun!


More Information >>

While you’re here, check out this video we did as part of our Biodiversity doc:

Biodiversity and Food: Maysies Farm from GreenTreks Network on Vimeo.