Retrofitting buildings in the “City of Brotherly Love” for greater energy efficiency

As a city planner and a real estate investor, Philadelphia founder William Penn would appreciate the energy efficiency efforts currently underway in the nation’s fifth-most populated city.

With the help of Pennsylvania State University and other organizations, the Philadelphia Navy Yard is being transformed into a center for advanced research and an example of energy-efficient building technology for the region and the nation.

Energy Efficient Buildings HUB

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded a Penn State-led team control of the Energy Efficient Buildings (EEB) HUB, located at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The EEB HUB, originally called the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster, was established to bring together researchers from universities, industry, government, and development agencies to improve energy efficiency in buildings and promote regional economic growth and job creation.

In line with Mayor Nutter’s “Greenworks Philadelphia” initiative to reduce the city’s energy consumption, the EEB HUB strives to reduce energy use in Philadelphia’s commercial buildings by 20 percent by 2020. The EEB HUB estimates that investments in energy-efficient retrofits would also lead to 23,500 new jobs in the region.

Chemistry’s contribution

The energy efficiency of buildings is important because 40 percent all energy in the U.S. is consumed by buildings. Thus, improved energy efficiency can benefit our economy, the competitiveness of American businesses and the environment.

Chemistry will play a major role in helping Philadelphia and the EEB HUB achieve their goals, because nearly every energy-saving technology is enabled by chemistry. In fact, according to a recent study by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), greater adoption of existing efficiency technologies, enabled by chemistry, could lower energy use in buildings by 41 percent by 2050.

We applaud the city of Philadelphia and the EEB HUB for striving to make buildings more energy efficient and look forward to supporting these efforts through the innovations of our member companies.

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