Cities Govern for Green Savings: A Case Study from Leading Municipality City of Philadelphia
To implement a solution that will enable the team to calculate, track, manage and verify emissions and energy reduction targets.
A robust, easy-to-use system that tracks electricity, natural gas, steam, and fuel oil for all buildings.
If its entire metropolitan area is counted, Philadelphia is the fourth-largest U.S. city by population. More than 1.5 million people live in the city itself, which encompasses 135 square miles. In his January 2008 inaugural address, Mayor Michael Nutter announced that he wanted to better serve citizens and make Philadelphia the greenest city in the United States by 2015.
To this end, he established a Sustainability Office and, in the spring of 2009, launched the Greenworks Program. Greenworks includes 15 sustainability targets in the areas of energy, environment, equity, economy, and engagement. The program expands upon the goals of Philadelphia’s 2007 local climate action plan (which called for reducing GHG emissions by 10 percent from 1990 levels by 2010) by increasing the city’s GHG reduction target to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2015. Additionally, the main target of Philadelphia’s Greenworks Program is to lower the city government’s energy consumptionby 30 percent from 2008 levels by 2015.
Benefits of Hara
To achieve the Greenworks sustainability goals, the City needed a more accessible system for managing energy usage and cost data. Philadelphia had a legacy database for tracking energy use, but its user interface capabilities were limited. It could not perform energy and cost analysis or audit the project tracking and reporting done by employees across a large municipal organization.
The City recognized that better visibility to energy-related data and trends was important in determining the most effective energy efficiency projects in each department. In addition, the City wanted to analyze energy data in aggregate by different departments and facilities and to easily shift the timing of data reporting between calendar year and fiscal year. The City looked at several vendors and chose Hara’s solution. Philadelphia was impressed with Hara’s user-friendly experience, look, and feel; versatility in analyzing and reporting data in different hierarchies; and the fact that it is a web-based solution, which eases implementation.
Value and ROI
Philadelphia is entering ten years of historical monthly energy data into the Hara system for unprecedented visibility and data insight. This is more than 216,000 data points, covering 1,800 utility accounts, including electricity (how to include demand has yet to be determined), natural gas, steam, and fuel oil for all buildings. Philadelphia is using the Hara Energy and Sustainabilty System of Record™ initially for energy tracking, analysis, management, and reporting. This is a top priority for achieving Greenworks Target One: a 30 percent reduction in City energy use by 2015.
By analyzing its average energy use between 2008 and 2010, the City determined that a 30 percent reduction would yield approximately $10 million in annual savings to the general fund.The greatest energy savings are expected from building retrofits, which will help the City reach approximately 60 to 80 percent of its 30 percent energy reduction goal. Philadelphia has established performance contracts with an energy services company (ESCO) that will guarantee a certain level of energy savings. This work is currently being conducted on four municipal buildings. Retrofit measures will be replicated later for 50 more.
The system is now up and up and running with City building energy demand, consumption, and cost data and as next steps Philadelphia plans to input additional data, such as fleet vehicle fuel use and GHG emissions. Buildings consume more energy than vehicles, which is why this data was entered first.
The City plans to utilize the emissions factors included in the database to track GHG. emissions for all three funds. Philadelphia also plans to use the resource management tool for reporting, and to export data to related systems. For example, the City plans to report monthly building and vehicle energy use, including electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, steam, and diesel. In addition, Philadelphia would like to export building energy data into the Energy Star Portfolio Manager.