Catalyzing Investment in Urban Sustainability
U.S.-Brazil Joint Initiative on
Urban Sustainability


Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia is increasingly recognized as a global leader in urban sustainability. Guided by Greenworks Philadelphia, the City is embarking on impressive efforts to manage stormwater with investments in green infrastructure, reduce the energy consumption of government, businesses and homes with energy efficiency programs and make Philadelphia a great place to live, work and play.

"Green City, Clean Waters" is the Philadelphia Water Department's 25 year, $1.2B plan to improve Philadelphia's two great rivers by managing the water that flows into them after storms. At the close of this 25 year implementation period, PWD will have invested approximately $2.4 billion ($1.2 billion in 2009 dollars) to initiate the largest green stormwater infrastructure program ever envisioned in this country. The private sector will make a significant contribution by ensuring that all new development and significant redevelopment manages the first inch of rain water, reducing the impact on the public sewer system.

The City has established a target of reducing government use of electricity by 30% by 2015. During the summer of 2012 the City will make significant energy efficiency upgrades to City Hall and three government office towers. The project will generate a positive cash flow for the City from the first year, in addition to using its savings to back the initial costs of efficiency investments over a 15 year term. The City is also helping businesses and homeowners save energy. In 2010, the City established the EnergyWorks program to support owners of commercial and residential properties who seek to make energy efficiency improvements to their buildings. The program offers low interest loans which are funded with competitive dollars awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings program. The revolving commercial fund is co-managed through a public private partnership.

Letter from Michael A. Nutter (English and Portuguese)

Philadelphia American Street

The American Street corridor is an historical industrial center in North Philadelphia.

Big Green Block

The goal of the Big Green Block project was to transform the sites of the Shissler Recreation Center and the Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts and the surrounding area into the biggest, greenest block in Philadelphia.

BigBelly Trash Compactors

In 2009, Philadelphia replaced 700 public wire trash baskets with 500 BigBelly-brand solar trash compactors.

Car Sharing Service

Philadelphia began using a private car sharing service to meet the transportation needs of municipal employees in 2003.

Columbus Square

The stormwater planters at Columbus Square are the first of their kind to be installed by the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), converting a portion of Reed Street into a green street.

George W. Nebinger School

The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) have joined together to advance green stormwater infrastructure in Philadelphia while educating students and local residents.

Green Buildings at the Navy Yard

Every building developed in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, a rapidly developing area, is required to meet and will be registered for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Greenfield School

Greenfield Elementary School is a model of sustainable site improvement and community involvement in Philadelphia.

Herron Playground

At Herron Playground, the Philadelphia Water Department collaborated with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the City's Capital Program Office to design and construct green stormwater infrastructure systems as part of a playground renovation.

Hybrid Diesel Buses

The City of Philadelphia is using hybrid buses to improve air quality and reduce pollution.

Improving Energy Efficiency of City-Owned Facilities

Through the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act or GESA, the City of Philadelphia engaged a qualified Energy Service Company (ESCO) to determine the feasibility of energy conservation measures to be implemented in the City's "Quadplex" buildings (City Hall, Municipal Services Building, One Parkway, and the Criminal Justice Center).

Percy Street

The 800 block of South Percy Street in South Philadelphia showcases the city's first porous green street.

PWD Biogas Cogeneration Facility

In 2012, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) and the company Ameresco, Inc. announced an agreement to develop and maintain a cogeneration facility at PWD's Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant.

Queen Lane

The Philadelphia Water Department installed Philadelphia's first stormwater bumpouts, or landscaped curb extensions, on Queen Lane in East Falls in 2011.

Solar Panels at the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant

In 2011, The City of Philadelphia installed a 250 KW solar array at the Water Department's Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant.