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PennFuture Facts :: brief, interesting looks at topical environmental issues PennFuture Facts :: brief, interesting looks at topical environmental issues

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Philly building owners get temporary reprieve on benchmarking reporting due to government shutdown

The city of Philadelphia announced on Friday that it is extending its first energy benchmarking reporting deadline by almost a month to November 25. It had been previously scheduled for October 31. 

Because of the government shutdown, the tool used to submit the mandated reports -- EPA's Portfolio Manager -- was offline for 18 days, necessitating an extension, according to city officials. 

So for all you building owners and managers out there, think of this as a snow day on the day of a big test. You now have extra time to prepare! (Okay, so the snow day was not just a day -- it was 16. And it cost $24 billion in lost economic output, but we're trying to make lemonade out of some pretty sour lemons.)

The city will be announcing open office hours to assist with benchmarking in the coming days. If you have any questions, you can email the Mayor's Office of Sustainability at

PennFuture worked as part of a coalition to advocate for benchmarking legislation in Pennsylvania's largest city. In 2012, Philadelphia City Council unanimously passed legislation requiring all commercial buildings 50,000 sq. ft. or greater to annually benchmark and report energy and water use to the City of Philadelphia. 

The law promotes transparency in the commercial real estate market, drives improved energy performance, and promotes savings for building owners and tenants. 

PennFuture is working to bring the momentum from Philadelphia's benchmarking success to smaller cities in the state. It has put together a webinar for municipal policymakers to help them take the first steps toward a benchmarking regulation. It will be available at on October 24.

Meet the Citizens behind PennFuture

As Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future, we are made up of dedicated citizens who support the important work necessary to protect Pennsylvania's environment through donations and volunteer time. We are also made up of dedicated citizens who choose to work at PennFuture. Together, we can achieve our common goals to protect our environment for future generations without sacrificing a growing economy.

On Thursday, November 7 at the Bullfrog Brewery in Williamsport, you will be able to meet the citizens who work with PennFuture and mingle with the citizens who support them. Come and learn about what we're doing in north central Pennsylvania. You'll hear brief updates on the latest environmental news, including a short presentation on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's proposed plan to implement the Oil and Gas Act (Act 13) signed by Gov. Tom Corbett in 2012. As well, we'll give you the latest information about our work in the Loyalsock State Forest.

The following PennFuture staff members look forward to meeting you:

Some special guests are expected, too!

Light refreshments will be served. The event is free, but please R.S.V.P. to help us plan.

We know your time is valuable, but your attendance is an investment in our environment, and your support can generate returns for all Pennsylvanians with clean air, clean water, and clean energy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Take vacant land to the bank in Philly

PennFuture was one of several groups to spearhead the creation of the Philly Land Bank Alliance -- a diverse group of stakeholders all working together to advocate for a land bank in Philadelphia. In March 2013, Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez introduced legislation to create a Philadelphia land bank. 

Members of the alliance represent a broad spectrum of stakeholders, from neighborhood advocates, community development corporations, market rate developers, advocates for small businesses, green space and food access. 

Uniting these disparate interests is a belief that a predictable, efficient, transparent, accountable, and equitable land bank is an essential part of the significant reforms necessary to place our vacant properties into productive reuse. These values have resonated with Philadelphians and now hundreds of individuals, nonprofits, and small businesses from across our City have signed on in support of a land bank.

Now, after months of hard work, a national conference, and significant media attention, City Council has scheduled a hearing on the Philadelphia land bank bill. We’ve seen that together we can make an impact – that we can create meaningful change to improve our neighborhoods, find sustainable reuses for vacant properties and begin to eradicate blight in every corner of the city. 

But we can’t do it without you

We need you to save the date: Monday, October 28, 2013 at 10 a.m. in City Hall, Room 400. We need you to turn out with your friends and colleagues to show City Council that reforming our broken vacant property system is important to you and critical to the long-term sustainability of our city.

In the meantime, we’re looking for your vacant property nightmares.

Tell us your stories about the challenges you faced in trying to acquire publicly or privately held vacant land. Tell us about a vacant property that hasn’t been kept up, that has attracted crime and trash, or has brought down the block. Tell us about a vacant property that has harmed you and your community.

Click here to tell your story, so that we can share your experience with City Council members and let them know that this is urgent. We need a #LandBankNOW.