There’s been a lot of talk about the sustainability developments happening at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. We like sustainability and we really like talking, so we’re going to join in the conversation, too.
If you’re like some of us more recent Philadelphians (by that, I mean me), you have issues even finding the Navy Yard, let alone knowing what’s going on there. However, the Philadelphia Navy Yard once served as the home for hundreds of businesses and hundreds of thousands of workers. The site was decommissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1996, opening the door for the implementation of new ideas and developments. In 2004, a master plan was proposed that called for an entire renovation and redevelopment of the Navy Yard. The plan split the space into five areas, in addition to the shipyard. In 2004 the concept of sustainability was merely a thought, not a practice. In recent years, the area of sustainability has exploded, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed to movers and shakers in Philadelphia who came up with the idea to establish an ‘energy campus’ on the property. Until recently, the proposed energy campus at the Navy Yard seemed to be all talk and no action.
In 2010, the federal government implemented a plan for Energy Regional Innovation Clusters (E-RICs). The concept of this plan was to bring all the major players to the table in order to accelerate energy innovation and commercialization in the country. You’ve heard of two heads are better than one. Well, instead of two, think seven. Everyone is getting involved in this project.
What’s the Deal:
Last week, the plan for the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC) was announced. $129 million has been awarded to the GPIC project from the Department of Energy and other agencies. This project is being led by Penn State University in partnership with the City of Philadelphia through its Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. They are working with Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center, and the Wharton Small Business Development Center (did I mention everyone is getting involved?).
Why do we really like this project? The GPIC will be developing and testing new technologies for energy efficiency in buildings, starting with the renovation of an existing structure on-site. We think it’s nice that they’re making our job just a little easier.
Something to Brag About:
In addition to soon being able to brag about another World Series ring (go Phils), Philadelphians can also be proud about being this latest local sustainability development. While the E-RIC probably won’t having people taking to the streets and climbing lamp posts, they might still be excited that it takes Philadelphia to a new leadership position in the green economy that it has wanted for a long time. With the endorsement of the Department of Energy and local agencies, this E-RIC will not only develop the newest concepts and practices, it will also make Philadelphia the first kid on the playground with the shiny new toy.
I told you everyone is hitching their wagon to this star, but here’s the actual list of who’s involved:
The Department of Energy
The Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration
The National Institute of Standards and Technology
The Small Business Administration
The Department of Labor
The Department of Education
The National Science Foundation
If all these agencies can manage to work together, we’ll be looking at comprehensive and effective changes that might actually be able to be implemented quickly.
Get Excited If:
You’ve been looking for something to put Philadelphia back on the national map. Since it’s the first of its kind, this E-RIC has the potential to put Philadelphia at the front of the line in the sustainability world.
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