Philadelphia is investing US$1 billion in public and private funds in an energy efficiency plan for all city-owned buildings and schools, 25,000 low- to moderate-income homes, and 2,500 small businesses, with the goal of creating 10,000 green jobs over 10 years.
“What’s in it for us is that energy efficiency and clean energy is a really unique vehicle to drive poverty reduction, economic development in Philadelphia, health, sustainability,” Philadelphia Energy Authority Executive Director Emily Schapira told NPR. “So it’s a vehicle that can be used to meet a lot of the other goals of city government, and of our city in general.”
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The city already has pilot projects up and running for affordable housing and small businesses, based on successful models from past municipal, university, school, and hospital (MUSH) initiatives. Schapira said small businesses should be able to cut their energy costs by 30% without major construction.
“Our goal is to have taxpayers invest as little as possible and really leverage the private sector,” she added. “Energy efficiency works, and when it’s done well, it’s been proven time and time again that you can generate positive cash flow on energy efficiency projects.” So without even factoring in the social benefits that result, “we should be doing this in a way that is financeable through traditional lenders because we’re creating savings, actual savings, that you can see visibly on your bill.” (h/t to InsideClimate News for pointing us to this story)