M. Nutt’s got big plans for this town. Keep dreamin’.
Philadelphians not working in green jobs here could still benefit from those who are through quality-of-life improvements, green roofs, insulation and more efficient light bulbs.
However, the city is losing ground on at least one green quality-of-life barometer: Energy Star-certified buildings. Energy Star-certified buildings are rated on a 100-point system, and a high rating signifies an environmentally advanced building.
The Environmental Protection Agency, which awards Energy Star ratings, compiled databases in 2008 and 2009.
Between 2008 and 2009, Philadelphia went from 50 Energy Star-certified buildings to 36, although it gained slightly in square footage of Energy Star-certified space, from 11.9 million square feet to 12.5 million square feet. In other words, some of Philadelphia’s buildings lost their environmental ratings, and at least some of those buildings were replaced by larger ones. Compared to Energy Star-certification in other cities, Philadelphia went from No. 17 to No. 24 in the country (when measured by the number of buildings) or from No. 14 to No. 15 (when measured by square footage).
How “green” a city can claim to be is mostly a subjective argument. While D.C. clearly outpaces Philadelphia in one category—Energy Star-certified buildings—Philadelphia has more green roofs than any other city except Chicago. But considering the falling green job market in Pennsylvania and aggressive green campaigns by other states and cities, Nutter’s dream of Philadelphia as the green capital of the U.S. may be a difficult one to achieve.
You—yes, you!—have the chance to become a Philly urban farmer thanks to M. Nutt's Green initiatives. Applications are due mid-April, so get on it!