Philadelphia is following up the success of the first two years of its citywide benchmarking program by encouraging buildings to participate in the Energy Reduction Race, a competition to cut down on building energy use.
Any commercial building that is over 50,000 square feet that has been benchmarked this year is invited to participate. The competition challenges all participating buildings to reduce their building’s energy consumption by 5 percent between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015. As part of the competition, buildings also receive free building operator training.
Within the group of participants, three buildings will receive an award of $5,000 based on the following factors: greatest total energy reduction, greatest energy reduction by square footage, and greatest increase in ENERGY STAR score.
Even if you aren’t directly participating in this competition, its impact is extremely important both locally and globally. Reducing energy usage is a key component of mitigating climate change locally given that building energy use accounts for more than 60 percent of Philadelphia’s greenhouse gas emissions according to the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.
For those tuned into the Next Great City coalition, you may remember that disclosing energy costs to property buyers was one of our 2011 recommendations. Benchmarking legislation brought this recommendation to fruition in 2012, resulting in reductions in Philadelphia’s building energy usage. The Energy Reduction Race is an exciting way to continue this progress by encouraging buildings to meet achievable goals and compete over a worthwhile aim.
Next Great City is rooted in the idea that we can always be a greener, more innovative city and it’s clear that Philadelphia is up to the challenge.
Katie Bartolotta is PennFuture’s Philadelphia outreach coordinator. She tweets @KatieBartolotta.