State and Local Building Efficiency Regulations & Policies: Philadelphia

In this series, we’re exploring state and local building efficiency regulations to give you a bird’s-eye view of the policies that may impact your portfolio.

From the Liberty Bell to incredible cheese steaks, Philadelphia has something to offer everyone. And believe it or not, energy efficiency is one of them! The City of Brotherly Love has adopted comprehensive plans to not only clean up its grid but also reduce energy consumption from its buildings – some of which boast hundreds of years of historical significance. 

One such effort is the city’s Municipal Energy Master Plan, which establishes a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. To meet these targets, the city must reduce per capita emissions 2.17% annually. And it is reportedly on track to do so; as of 2019, the city has achieved a 39% reduction in GHG emissions (a reduction from 219,306 MTCO2e to 133,527 MTCO2e). 

Additionally, Philadelphia makes all of its emissions data publicly available via its Municipal Energy Master Plan Dashboard.  In 2019, the city expanded its scope outside of municipal buildings by targeting the largest buildings in the city (50,000 square feet or more) and established a “Building Energy Performance Policy” (see below for more info).

In addition to setting lofty energy efficiency goals, Philadelphia also positions itself as a thought leader in building efficiency. It is the home of the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI), a collaboration between major research universities, global industrial firms, and national laboratories aiming to develop and demonstrate solutions for 50% energy reduction in existing buildings by 2030. 

We’ve compiled the key building energy requirements, policies, and plans for Philadelphia. For more information on voluntary incentive programs throughout Pennsylvania, please see the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.  

Learn more about how Aquicore makes it easy to collect the energy data needed to comply with local, city, and state benchmarking regulations and some incentive programs.

State/City/CountyNameType of Reg/Policy/InitiativeDescriptionEffective Date
State of PennsylvaniaEO 2019-01Energy Efficiency (Existing Buildings, State-owned buildings)Requires energy benchmarking for public buildings over 20K square feet.2019
State of PennsylvaniaEO 2019-01Energy Efficiency (Existing Buildings, State-owned buildings)Requires state-owned and occupied facilities to reduce energy consumption by 3% per year, and 21% by 2025 from 2017 levels.2019
PhiladelphiaBill No. 120428Energy BenchmarkingCommercial and multifamily residential buildings over 50,000 square feet must benchmark and disclose energy usage data.  The policy covers 69% of commercial buildings and 82% of multifamily buildings.2013
PennsylvaniaExecutive Order 2019-01TransportationSets a goal of 990 electric or plug-in electric hybrid vehicles to be introduced to the fleet by 2025 (25% of passenger cars).2019
PhiladelphiaBuilding Energy Performance ProgramEnergy Efficiency (Existing Buildings)Requires nonresidential buildings greater than 50,000 square feet to conduct a building tune-up if the building does not meet high energy performance standards.2019
PhiladelphiaBill No. 080025Energy Efficiency (New Construction and Major Renovation, Buildings)In 2009, the City of Philadelphia passed Bill No. 080025 requiring new construction for City-owned buildings over 10,000 square feet to get LEED-silver certification.2009
PhiladelphiaMunicipal Energy Master PlanEnergy Efficiency (Existing Buildings, City-owned buildings)Municipal Energy Master Plan for the Built Environment focused on strategies for reduced emissions and energy use; and increased renewable energy.  Through the MEMP, the City will work to implement energy efficiency in its municipal buildings through a variety of different retrofit techniques outlined in the plan with a goal of reducing energy consumption from both electricity and thermal (natural gas and steam) by at least 20% by 2030.  Large facilities will meet this goal through comprehensive retrofits that are performed through energy performance contracts, while smaller facilities will receive more targeted improvements including LED lighting and building controls upgrades.2017
PhiladelphiaBuilding Energy Performance PolicyEnergy Efficiency (Existing Buildings)All buildings greater than 50,000 square feet must complete one of the following actions: complete a building’s tuneup, certify for high performance (via LEED Gold or other) or receive an exemption.  2019

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