Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has an ambitious goal – make the city of Brotherly Love America’s greenest city by 2015.
On April 29, Nutter unveiled Greenworks Philadelphia, a plan that includes 169 initiatives to address sustainability in 15 target areas.
Why is a Philadelphia event important to Door County? Because of the example a challenged and historical city is bringing to the United States. Many cities are beginning to wrestle with sustainability and how to incorporate its principles into their governments and budgets. Door County’s recent surge in awareness and aggressive focus by community members can benefit by studying other cities to learn how governments are making progress towards sustainability.
Greenworks Philadelphia is a product of nearly a year’s work involving 75 people within the city government and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.
“As we move forward in sustainability we know this must include an inclusive economy and a just society,” Nutter said.
Mayor Nutter’s aggressive goal is being pursued in five action areas. Energy, Environment, Equity, Economy and Engagement.
Key elements of the 15 targets include reducing city government’s energy consumption by 30 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, improving public transportation and vehicle efficiency through hybrid buses, initiating a carbon offset program, and planting at least 300,000 trees. There will be an aggressive effort to re-insulate and retrofit the 400,000 row houses in Philadelphia to conserve energy and reduce residential bills by over 30 percent. Rooftop gardens, green roofs, and more parks will also help manage the daunting storm water management problems in the city.
“Greenworks Philadelphia is an example of what cities and communities throughout this country can do to develop smart, green solutions on a local level,” said Van Jones, one of the world’s experts on green jobs.
Jones said that one dollar spent on insulating a home means there is a job and income for the person doing the work, and money saved by using less energy, and improvement to the environment by lower emissions.
“The new business of America is retrofitting and re-powering the country and re-aligning business to make this happen,” Jones said.
• Greenworks Philadelphia’s 15 Targets
1. Lower city government energy consumption 30 percent.
2. Reduce energy consumption in buildings citywide by 10 percent.
3. Retrofit 15 percent of housing stock with insulation, air sealing, cool roofs.
4. Purchase and generate 20 percent of electricity used in Philadelphia from alternative energy sources.
5. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent.
6. Improve air quality toward attainment of federal standards.
7. Divert 70 percent of solid waste from landfill.
8. Manage storm water to meet federal standards.
9. Provide park and recreation resources within 10 minutes of 75 percent of residents.
10. Offer local food within 10 minutes of 75 percent of residents.
11. Boost tree coverage toward 30 percent in all neighborhoods in 2025.
12. Reduce vehicle miles traveled by 10 percent.
13. Increase the “State of Good Repair” of city infrastructure.
14. Double the number of low- and high-skill green jobs, double the number of green jobs to 28,800.
15. Philadelphia is the Greenest City in America partner with Philadelphia Youth Commission and others to organize neighborhood energy campaigns.
What can the City of Sturgeon Bay, and some of the smaller towns and villages in Door County adapt from this list? On some scale, pretty much everything on Philadelphia’s list, and much of it may be fundable through Wisconsin’s portion of federal stimulus funds. Others may be driven by community efforts and job creation programs.
Target 1: Lower City Government Energy Consumption by 30 percent
• Retrofit municipal buildings to become more energy efficient.
• Create target energy budgets for city operating departments.
• Develop energy conservation education for city employees.
Target 2: Reduce Private Energy Consumption by 10 Percent.
Support the development of retrofitted buildings that are more energy efficient.
Target 3: Retrofit Homes and Businesses with Insulation, Air Sealing, Cool (Green)Roofs.
• Investigate how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, may provide opportunities to retrofit homes and businesses.
• Expand access to weatherization jobs through community partnerships.
Target 4: Purchase and Generate 20 Percent of Electricity Used from Alternative Energy Sources.
• Support solar power and wind power purchase agreements on public and private sites.
• Environment Goal: Door County Decreases Its Environmental Footprint
Target 5: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent.
• Exceed climate agreements with U.S. Conference of Mayors, ICLEI and the Clinton Climate Change Initiative and lead on new agreements.
• Create/adopt registry to take advantage of future federal cap-and-trade legislation.
Target 6: Improve Air Quality toward Attainment of Federal Standards.
• Reduce the number of days rated as “unhealthy” by the Air Quality Index.
• Add filters to all diesel vehicles in City fleet and switch to biodiesel, hybrids, and CNG.
Target 7: Divert 70 Percent of Solid Waste from Landfill.
• Increase the amount of recycling by residents to 25 percent by 2015 through incentive programs and public engagement efforts.
• Install public space recycling containers in Center City.
Reduce the amount of trash generated.
Target 8: Manage Storm Water to Meet Federal Standards.
Recommend that the natural links between land and water be reconnected, with green infrastructure — trees, vegetation and soil — becoming the city’s preferred storm water management system.
• Increase green and open space by using permeable pavement on parking lots and playgrounds, building green roofs, and distributing rainwater collection barrels to homeowners.
Target 9: Maintain efforts to “clean and green” vacant lots.
Target 10: Convert vacant land into working gardens.
Target 11: Boost Tree Planting in All Towns.
• Launch local carbon offset initiative in support of tree planting (Erase Your Trace)
• Economy Goal: Creating Competitive Advantage from Sustainability
Target 12: Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled by 10 Percent.
• Invest in transit-oriented development and Bike/Pedestrian trail efforts.
Target 13: Increase the “State of Good Repair” of City Infrastructure.
• Incorporate climate adaptation projections into infrastructure planning.
Target 14: Increase Green Jobs.
• Create an economic development strategy built on demand for affordable energy.
• Link workforce development programs to green job opportunities
Target 15: Door County is the Greenest County in Wisconsin campaign.
• Create other engagement efforts around recycling and tree planting.
• Track progress with annual updates.
• Make data available on-line so that independent analyses can be conducted.