PEC unveils Building Green: Overcoming Barriers in Philadelphia report

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The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) released a new report, Building Green: Overcoming Barriers in Philadelphia, that identifies obstacles to green building in Philadelphia and recommends solutions to dissolving those barriers.
March 11, 2008

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) today released a new report, Building Green: Overcoming Barriers in Philadelphia, that identifies obstacles to green building in Philadelphia and recommends solutions to dissolving those barriers.  

The report identified the lack of political will and strong leadership as the greatest barrier to Green Building in the city. 

While Philadelphia has been ranked the 8th most sustainable city in America by SustainLane US (2006), the rankings showed how poorly the city stacks up in categories such as Air Quality and City Innovation (green public policy); in Green Building and Recycling, Philadelphia ranked among the lowest in the nation.   Building Green is one of the responses to the weaknesses cited in the SustainLane City Rankings.  The report also acknowledges the many incremental steps taken by green champions throughout city government and the private development community to green city buildings and infrastructure.

Powerful Impacts for Green Building

Changing the ways we design, build and operate our buildings and infrastructure is the most powerful way we can address the environmental challenges facing the city and the planet.  Green buildings improve human health and productivity and make good economic sense. 

In the United States, buildings account for 76% of all electric consumption, 48% of greenhouse gas emissions and 40% of landfill waste.  Buildings consume 40% of all our natural resources.  

Benefits of green building include:

  • Children educated in green classrooms score 20% higher on standardized tests
  • Every green public school saves enough money to pay for two teachers
  • Green offices experience productivity gains as high as 17%
  • Green homes are selling faster than conventional homes
  • Green building strategies have a 20 to 1 return on investment
  • Green buildings lease faster and command higher rents
  • Recovery times for patients in green hospitals is often cut in half

Building Green research is a compilation of one year's worth of data collection through focus groups conducted by a team of researchers led by past President of the US Green Building Council Chair, Sandy Wiggins.  The team heard from respondents in all segments of the building trades, development community and public officials. 

Full press release to be uploaded shortly.

Click here or on the link below to view a PDF version of the full report. (3.5MB)

Click here to view video from the launch event (you will be taken to PEC's You Tube site).

Click here to endorse this report.

For more information on the Building Green report, and to join the efforts to green the region’s buildings, please contact: Spencer Finch, Director of Sustainable Development,

Photos from the report launch:

PEC Vice President Patrick Starr explains how green buildings can help make Philadelphia's built environment healthier and cleaner.

Patrick Starr and Kirsty Halliday of SCA welcome guests to the LEED certified building space.

Sandy Wiggins, past-Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council and the report's author, describes the reports findings - barriers to green buildings and suggested solutions.

Phil Hinerman, Esq. of Fox Rothschild and a PEC Board Member, introduces Mayor Michael Nutter.

Phil Hinerman officially presents the report to Mayor Nutter.

Mayor Nutter calls green buildings "an important part our larger plan to make Philadelphia the #1 green city in America."

Councilman James Kenney and other members of the response panel offer their insights into the report and its impact on their green projects.

2-27-08_BuildingGreen_FINAL.pdf3.35 MB
Endorsement form.pdf30.56 KB