SUSTA I N A BLE PH I L A D ELP HI A HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN GIFT IDEAS FOR ALL LEVELS OF PROCRASTINATION
DECEMBE R 2 013 / I SSU E 56
SKY’S THE LIMIT BRIGHT IDEA GIVES BRIGHT KIDS A BRIGHTER FUTURE
GREENPRINT DVGBC APPLAUDS LOCAL HEROES AND TAKES THE GLOBAL STAGE
S ’ O H EW
H T G N VI M
D L R O EW
ECT T O PR O H AND L W D S RO E T E R A N E H A ER W P , U R I HE S OUR A T T EE Howard Neukrug Water Commissioner, Philadelphia Water Department
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Real. Innovative. Collaborative. Design. “Our award-winning MS in Sustainable Design educates the next generation of leaders to continue the pathway toward a sustainable future.” –Rob Fleming, Program Director
We are currently accepting applications for the Spring 2014 semester and beyond. For more information, please contact us at 215.951.2943 or by email at GradAdm@philau.edu.
The quiet and profound impact of Rob Diemer
ow that we’ve dressed Water Commisioner Howard Neukrug as a superhero, masking our admiration will be more difficult. His Green City, Clean Waters plan is so smart, innovative and exciting, it makes me want to leap tall buildings in a single bound. The ideas behind it are thrilling and radical. Rather than adding pipes to a water and sewage system that is overwhelmed during heavy rain storms, stormwater is captured before it becomes a problem. It’s like solving traffic congestion by taking cars off the road. This is the design philosophy that will guide our sustainable future. While Neukrug deserves all the recognition he receives, I’d like to turn your attention to someone else who has quietly — and profoundly — affected Philadelphia: Rob Diemer of In Posse. In this issue, we highlight his consulting work, which has resulted in some incredibly energyefficient buildings. That’s heady stuff, but I’d argue he’s done something even more important: Diemer is the man behind the Urban Sustainability Forum. The impact of those Thursday night events at the Academy of Natural Sciences has been enormous. Proof can be found in these very pages. Micah Gold-Markel of Solar States (page 22) attended an early Urban Sustainability Forum that featured environmental advocate and civil rights activist Van Jones, author of the essential The Green Collar Economy. Gold-Markel was so moved by Jones’ words that he promptly left the small software development company he was running and started Solar States. Jacques Sapriel of phillyecocity.com (page 20) witnessed the 2008 Urban Sustainability Forum that hosted the mayoral candidates. Sapriel was so shocked by the lack of mainstream media coverage, he started his own blog. And then there’s our cover star, Howard Neukrug (page 5 of the Greenprint insert). The same Urban Sustainable Forum that inspired Sapriel was critical to the success of then mayoral candidate Michael Nutter, who, once elected, nominated Neukrug to be the Commissioner of the Water Department.
Alex Mulcahy email@example.com 215.625.9850 ext. 102 Jon McGoran firstname.lastname@example.org art director
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Andrew Bonazelli writers
You might argue that Nutter’s 2008 election and Neukrug’s ascent can’t be directly credited to Diemer and the Urban Sustainability Forum, but there’s no denying the impact this one person has had. And there’s no denying how much impact each one of us can have. So, thanks Rob, for giving us so much to write about. I think it’s time you got fitted for a cape of your own.
Sam Bernhardt Shaun Brady Bernard Brown Tenaya Darlington Katy Diana Marlene Doyle Maggie Heath Emily Kovach Lauren Mandel Marissa McClellan Julianne Mesaric Molly O’Neill Peggy Paul Emily Teel interns
Danielle Wayda Greenbuild 2013 or the fourth year in a row, Grid has partnered with the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC) to produce Greenprint. This is a special year for the DVGBC — for Philadelphia, really — because our city is hosting the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. In just a few weeks, the top minds in the green building world will converge right here in the middle of our city. Be there if you can.
Christian Hunold Mark Likosky Bradly Maule Neal Santos Gene Smirnov Albert Yee illustrators
Kirsten Harper Steve Streisguth controller
!! alex j. mulcahy, Publisher email@example.com
Nicole Jarman firstname.lastname@example.org published by
Red Flag Media 1032 Arch Street, 3rd Floor Philadelphia, PA 19107 215.625.9850 G R I D P H I L LY . C O M
COVE R P HOTO AN D P O RTRAIT BY G E NE SMI RNOV
NOVEMBER 14 Trinity Memorial Church 22nd and Spruce Sts. DOORS OPEN AT
6:00 p.m. SHOW STARTS AT 7:00 P.M.
YOU’VE READ THE MAGAZINE, NOW SEE THE SHOW! FEATURING
Buy tickets in advance at STORE.GRIDPHILLY.COM
and you’ll be entered to win a free T-shirt!
Founder and Co-owner Revolution Recovery
Executive Director Delaware Valley Green Building Council
Manager of Energy Efficiency Programs Philadelphia Gas Works
Water Commissioner Philadelphia Water Department
Limited Edition Tote
made by Fabric Horse from waxed canvas & recycled materials
PLUS: A reading from
the Rust Belt Rising Almanac by Sarah Grey
available online at
store.gridphilly.com Jon McGoran will be on hand signing copies of his book, Drift
REFRESHMENTS PROVIDED BY
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GREEN LIVING 8
Bags to Go: Legislation seeks to reduce plastic bag use
Under Wraps: Reusable giftwrap reduces holiday waste
Hidden City: Penn’s Landing Pi
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Installing solar arrays atop our schools, creating solar engineers inside them story by ruth heil tQIPUPTCZneal santos
10 Young at Heart: Leo Kuehl has been conserving resources for almost a century
Cardboard Cutout: Paperboard manufacturer has been cutting out waste since Leo Kuehl was a toddler
Gathering Storm: New partnership pools stormwater resources
Hill House: Super-efficient contemporary agrarian house is something to Bragg about
FOOD 16 Greens House: Season extension means year-round local greens
MEDIA 18 Air Apparent: Pollutiondetecting art installation shows what you’ve been missing 18 All Mobbed Up: Crowd sourcing energy efficiency tips 20 Anger-Fueled Inspiration: Lack of coverage leads to online sustainability hub 20 Novel explorer: Nathaniel Popkin turns to historical fiction to explore the city
Howard Neukrug Water Commissioner, Philadelphia Water Department
↘ CHECK OUT DVGBC’S GREENPRINT, AND PHILADELPHIA’S SUPERHEROES OF SUSTAINABILITY 38 Urban Naturalist: Eager beavers 40 Events: Lights, libations and labors of love 46 Dispatch: Climate change hits close to home
OES OF SU
TO THE RESCUE! Superheroes of Sustaina bility are helpin g Philad elphia becom e the green est city in Ameri ca INCLUDING
MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE ŭ REVOLUTION RECOVERY ŭ ROB AND HELEN DIEMER
CON TE N TS P HOTO BY N EA L SA NTOS
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Philadelphia to introduce plastic bag legislation this fall by jon mcgoran
ach year, Philadelphians use an astounding 1 billion plastic bags. Most are used just once, and many end up as litter. This fall, City Councilman Mark Squilla will introduce legislation to reduce that number by requiring a $.05 fee for all single-use bags (plastic and paper). Similar efforts failed in 2007 and 2009 due to opposition from retailers and the plastic bag industry, but hopes are high it will pass this time. Authored by Clean Air Council (CAC) staff attorney Logan Welde, with support from Saleem Chapman, also of CAC, and Julie Hancher of Green Philly Blog, the bill seeks to reduce usage by 80
percent. Twenty percent of fees collected would offset retailers’ administrative costs, with the rest going to schools or cleanup efforts. Welde hopes the bill will remedy “the obscene over-use of plastic bags in Philadelphia and mitigate the tremendous litter problem.” According to Hancher, consumers already pay for bags in their grocery bills and taxpayers foot the cleanup bill. “Instead of wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to clean up plastic bags,” she says, “why not fund our depleted school system?” Find out more and sign the petition at ditchthebag.org
RIBBON CUTTING Reusable cotton gift bags keep waste to a minimum by maggie heath For Haverford entrepreneur Isabelle Vesey, the holidays are a time to get creative. “I always really liked wrapping presents,” says Vesey, “but all that paper is just going to end up in a trash bag.” Looking for an environmentally friendly solution, Vesey bought some festive fabric and got to work on her sewing machine. After making her bags for family and friends, she started selling them online in a variety of sizes, colors and patterns. VZWraps was born. “People really seemed to respond to them,” she says. Cutting waste is a big priority for Vesey’s Green America Bronze-certified-business. She cuts her organic cotton in carefully measured swatches to ensure that no scrap of material goes unused. The ribbons are mostly made from recycled plastic bottles. Her satin is made from post-consumer recycled polyester. “I haven’t had to buy wrapping paper for years,” says Vesey. “I still have the [bags] I made a few years ago.” Bags can be purchased at vzwraps.com.
FORWARDING Maxback.com is an electronics buy-back company that pays cash for gently used cell phones and electronics, which are then remarketed, remanufactured or recycled by parent company Environmental Reclamation Services, LLC, a zero-landfill, R2-certified reverselogistics company located in Erie. Visit maxback.com to see what your old electronics are worth.
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P HOTOS BY M ARK L IKOS KY
This section of Columbus Blvd. would be capped in the new plan for Penn’s Landing
S. COLUMBUS BLVD. FROM CHESTNUT ST. TO WALNUT ST.
Pi in the Sky
The aerial tram that was never built Along Philadelphia's central Delaware Riverfront, where an iconic bridge connects cars, commuter trains, cyclists and pedestrians with Camden's Riverfront, there was a time when the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) wanted to add an aerial tram. The Penn's Landing Corporation, in support of DRPA, included the tram as a requisite for a redevelopment design contest in 2003. Ten years and many millions of dollars later, that time and those ideas have passed, leaving only a massive concrete “pi,” surrounded by a
sea of surface parking. In October, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, which replaced Penn's Landing Corporation in 2009 as the city's nonprofit steward of the river, unveiled the first phase of plans for a new vision of the riverfront — one that's greener and at long last reunites Center City and its riverfront. Alas, the would-be tram and its concrete pi are not in that vision. For more on this story and to follow the redevelopment of Penn's Landing, visit the Hidden City Daily, hiddencityphila.org .
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH HIDDEN CITY, PLAIN SIGHTS HIGHLIGHTS HISTORIC STRUCTURES WITH COMPELLING STORIES HIDING IN OUR MIDST.
P HOTO BY B RA D L EY M AU L E
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Sage Advice Volunteer closes in on a century of sustainability by peggy paul Leo Kuehl (pronounced “Keel”) has devoted his entire life to service and EVERYDAY sustainability, and at 97 years old, he HERO shows no signs of slowing down. “I don’t believe in wasting assets of any kind,” says Kuehl. “To me, ‘green’ is not just about recycling. ‘Green’ goes anywhere — any place that energy or time is used or consumed — including things like human energy, time, water, electricity, materials and so on.” Since 2011, when he moved into Rydal Park, a 20-acre continuing care retirement community in Jenkintown, Kuehl has been figuring out ways to save the facility water, energy and money. He became an active member of Rydal’s Green Team, working with group chairperson Marian Poole, and in his first year he conducted an analysis that prompted a conversion to compact fluorescent lights that saved the 500-resident retirement home $4,000 per year. Kuehl is currently working with the management to investigate new technology controls that will ensure additional energy savings. Born on a farm in Minnesota, Kuehl grew up with a strong appreciation for hard work and giving back. Now in his 66th year as a volunteer for the Glenside Fire Company in Montgomery County, he continues to lend his professional expertise to help streamline the fire company’s budget and operations. “My life is devoted primarily to my two daughters and my two grandchildren, but in my spare time I try to help other people whenever I can and with whatever resources I have,” he says. “To me, helping others is just another way of greening. If you dedicate your lives to helping others and using resources economically, then you’re making the world better for generations to come.” Among Kuehl’s latest initiatives is an effort to convince Rydal Park to adopt goats to aid in landscaping. Management has been less enthusiastic about that idea… for now. But if there’s one thing they’ve learned, Leo Kuehl does not give up easily.
GR IDPH IL LY.CO M DEC EM BE R 2013
P HOTOS BY ALBERT YEE
YOU KNO W DAVE’
S THE GR
Yeah, Dave’s that kind of green. And so is his energy company. Even for Dave Greene—Clean Currents’ sustainability guy who has tried it all—it’s not easy being green. But, when it comes to green energy, the answer is simple: Clean Currents offers 100% Green-e Certified wind power, and signing up is a piece of cake. Follow Dave Greene for tips from the greenest guy on the block! Facebook.com/GreenPhillyDave and !GreenPhillyDave To power your home with 100% wind options, Visit us at www.windpowerpa.com PA #A-2012-23304407
Not just a change in power—the power to change.
Recycled paperboard manufacturer catches the rain by peggy paul
ack in 1919, when “green” was just a color, Wissinoming-based Newman and Company established itself as one of the first recycled paperboard mills on the Eastern Seaboard. Today, the family-owned company produces more than 65,000 tons of paperboard per year, all made from 100 percent recycled materials. “We harvest what we like to call the ‘urban forest,’” says Michael Ferman, Newman’s vice president of operations. In addition to the recycled materials it receives from brokers and many of its customers, Newman harvests waste paper directly from municipalities, businesses and other organizations in the area. And in the last year, the company has begun to reuse one more recyclable material — rain.
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Newman and Company’s recycled paperboard plant is expanding its rainwater collection program to divert 4.8 million gallons of rainwater run-off for use in its manufacturing process.
Several years ago, faced with increasing costs of municipal water supplies, Ferman and other Newman executives teamed up with AKRF, an environmental design and engineering group, to research the viability of collecting stormwater runoff for use in its paperboard production. After a series of tests, they found that runoff water from the roofs of Newman’s 40-plus-acre campus could be used to offset their annual water demand by an estimated 4.8 million gallons. In October 2012, AKRF and Newman implemented phase one of their rainwater-harvesting
project, with the goal of gleaning 721,000 gallons of stormwater from a one-acre section of roof, and using it in their manufacturing process. The project has so far provided the company with enough water to manufacture thousands of tons of paperboard. Encouraged by this success, Ferman and his team are currently working on phase two, which they hope to complete by the end of 2013. The Philadelphia Water Department and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation were so impressed by Newman’s rainwater harvesting initiative that
they awarded Newman a $370,000 stormwater management grant to offset a considerable portion of the design and construction costs of the next phase. Phase two will expand Newman’s rooftop rainwater harvesting area by five acres and glean up to 4.1 million additional gallons of rainwater per year. To reduce operational and manufacturing costs, AKRF engineered the system to utilize existing rain gutters and downspouts in conjunction with free draining gravity systems, and they also designed innovative flow diver-
sion structures to provide pretreatment for the dirtier “first flush” of rainstorm runoff. Rainwater harvesting is an age-old practicethat was once quite common. With the rising costs of natural resources, more companies like Newman and Company are rediscovering it as a way to save money while remediating stormwater runoff. Learn more about Newman and Company’s rainwater harvesting project at newmanpaperboard.com .
Storm Chasers Local partnership enhances green stormwater efforts by lauren mandel What’s the stormwater buzz in Philly? The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) is working with local businesses to enhance the stormwater infrastructure industry through Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Partners, a program to enhance technological and economic opportunities surrounding green roofs, rain gardens and other landscape elements that reduce stormwater runoff and visually enhance our neighborhoods. “The GSI Partners and its member businesses have the opportunity to be the model for other cities across the country,” says Anna Shipp, GSI Partners project manager. The EPA is applying legal pressure on many U.S. cities to clean up their stormwater and eliminate combined sewer overflows, but Philadelphia is the first to organize a local network of relevant design, build and maintenance entities, giving the city a unique opportunity to shape the industry within the national spotlight. Members receive access to continuing education funds, communication with stakeholders and regulatory agencies and policy briefings.
New partnership seeks to support companies creating green stormwater infrastructure, like this rain garden planting.
To learn more, contact Shipp at email@example.com or 215.922.7400 ext. 107.
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Up On a Hill
Ultra-efficient contemporary design meets an agrarian aesthetic in West Chester by lauren mandel
estled in a forested hillside along the Brandywine River, 60 Bragg Hill blends contemporary design with West Chester’s agrarian aesthetic. Owned by Barney and Dr. Nancy Leonard, this farmhouse chic home designed by Matthew Moger of Moger Mehrhof Architects (MMA) maintains a minimal environmental footprint through its passive and active building systems, use of local building materials and intricate site design. The building’s solar electricity, geothermal heating and cooling — offset with radiant floors and natural ventilation — exemplify how sustainably-minded architects like Moger consider the building’s context, inner workings and livability. “The future is moving toward designing more insulated [building] envelopes to minimize the need for costly mechanical systems and minimize energy use,” explains Moger. While building-envelope design generally 14
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applies to new construction, existing buildings can incorporate options like recycled materials, natural lighting and green roofs in renovations to lower environmental impacts while creating a more livable home.
For tips on green building systems and eco-home design, and more about the building of 60 Bragg Hill, visit 60bragghill.com .
P HOTOS BY JE F F REY TOTARO COU RT ESY OF M O G ER M E HRHO F A RCHIT ECTS
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food for The grower
Greenery in the greenhouse at Landisdale Farm
Th e W h o l e Fo od
Winter Greens n, lo ca l gr ee ns W it h se as on ex te ns io ro un d ar e avai la bl e al l ye ar story and photos by
em ily te el
hen the truly cold winter weather arrives, it can throw a dedicated locavore into a panic. Sure, there are apples, root vegetables and potatoes to sustain us, but we crave fresh green crunch. Fortunately, to keep bringing fresh, green produce to market even when temperatures dip, several area growers have invested in structures like greenhouses, where plants on tables benefit from active heating, and hoophouses, their less permanent cousins, where plants in the ground are protected by frames covered in clear plastic. These structures can’t mimic August’s growing conditions, but they can provide a hospitable microclimate for hardy greens like kale, collards and Swiss chard to keep arriving at farmers markets all winter long. An alumna of Fair Food, Philabundance and Greener Partners, emily teel is a food freelancer profoundly dedicated to sustainable, delicious food in Philadelphia. See more of her work at emilyteel.com .
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What to look for In the summer months, greens soak up sunshine outside and can grow to Jurassic proportions. Greenhouse-grown greens, on the other hand, grow more slowly and tend to be smaller and more fragile, wilting easily. Don’t be put off by this; these plants simply haven’t had to grow as strong because they’ve been protected from the elements.
Nutrition 101 Dark, leafy greens like kale, chard, collards, mustard and turnip greens are some of the healthiest things you can eat. They’re rich in calcium, antioxidants, folate, potassium, beta-carotene and great-for-you vitamins E, C and K, so eat your cancer-fighting, skin-improving, bone-strengthening, digestive system-supporting greens.
Dan Landis grows some of the loveliest greens you’ll see all winter in his greenhouses at Landisdale Farm in Jonestown, Pennsylvania. He sells chard, kale, collards and dandelion greens regularly at the Clark Park Farmers Market. The 20 to 30-foot-long greenhouses accumulate warmth from the sun and are equipped with backup propane or wood-burning heaters but, according to Landis, “we only have to use heat if it really snows or something, so the house doesn’t collapse... It can be 30 degrees out, and on a sunny day it’ll be 70, 85 degrees in there... like Florida.” Nonetheless, growing greens inside is very different than out in the fields. Though the houses capture warmth, they don’t change the fact that it’s winter. “January can be really challenging because the daylight hours are the shortest... We’ll harvest the largest leaves, but [they] just grow very slowly.” The difference in temperature and light “makes the plant slow down,” which means that he has to start the greenhouse plants early, let them get established and pace the harvest. Landis waits to begin picking in the greenhouse until the greens in the field are totally spent. As the cold sets in, “lettuce will go first. Kale and collards will pull through a freeze, [but] if it gets down to 22 degrees they may take on a weird color.” Only then will he shift to the greenhouse-grown greens. “Our kale and collards in the greenhouse are like our savings account... We have to try and make it last as long as we can... If you start picking them [early], you’ll be in trouble in January.” Some growers are installing LED lights to mimic sunlight and increase production, but Landis doubts he’ll go down that road. “I’m fine if the stuff doesn’t grow as fast... it gives us a little bit of a break, too.” But, however slowly, hardy greens do thrive in the houses. Since they’re growing out of season from their insect pests, they tend to look even nicer than field-grown ones. The plants might wilt a little more quickly because they are unaccustomed to changes in temperatures, but as Landis says with a shrug, “We don’t get complaints.” After all, locally-grown winter greens are still enough of a treat that they will likely be eaten up long before any wilting can take place.
for The cook
Despite kale’s current popularity, when it comes to greens, people typically select the familiar and will resort to either sautéing them with garlic, or slowcooking them with pork. While there’s nothing wrong with either, Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, the chef-owners of acclaimed vegan restaurant Vedge offer a few other suggestions. “Greens are a dense food,” says Jacoby. “They can handle smoke, spice or strong acid.” And while spinach will wilt down to nothing in a hot pan, according to Landau, the “heavier, meatier greens,” that do well for winter growing benefit from two-stage cooking. Landau says the most important thing is that, “for the heavier greens, you’ve got to blanch them first.” To blanch, Landau recommends removing tough center ribs before giving greens a dunk in boiling water until their color goes
AND JACOBY from the kitchen of CHE FS LAN DAU
bright, and then shocking them in ice water to stop the cooking process before draining and using. “When you’re at home it seems kind of ridiculous, [but] it tenderizes them,” he says “If you want to cook bad kale, throw it right in the pan. If you want to cook good kale, blanch it first.” If spinach is easy, and kale is intermediate, then Landau calls collards “the trickiest green of all.” For collards, Landau recommends julienning the leaves “like spaghetti.” To ensure that they cook well, “they need a little bit more braising... You do have to cook them past the point where you think they should be done... to get them tender.” When overcooked, they’re sulfurous and unpleasant, but when done well, Landau loves them. They’re “so meaty... They give so much flavor [and] it’s hard to recognize the flavor if you’re using it the wrong way.” At Vedge, a Moroccan-inspired version with smoked raisins has appeared on the menu, and Landau likes to stir-fry and quick-braise them with shiitake mushrooms, as in this recipe. Vedge, 1221 Locust St., with a second location opening at 126 S. 19th St., spring of 2014 vedgerestaurant.com
Chefs Jacoby (l) and Landau (r) of Vedge
Co lla rd Gr ee ns wi th Ca ra m eli ze d On ion s an d Sh iit ake Mu sh ro om s (Serves 2 as the main event or 4 as 1
1 1 1
bunch collard greens (8-12 leaves) fresh shiitake mushrooms, brushed clean medium onion clove garlic Tbs. coconut oil salt
* Serve with brown rice for a light supper, or with fried eggs for a hearty breakfast.
a side dish)
h center ribs. Wash greens and remove toug the width of Roll leaves and slice into ribbons shiitakes from s cooked spaghetti. Remove stem thin into caps (reserve for stock) and slice n. Peel, ribbons. Halve and thinly slice onio ic. garl slice ly thin halve and r to a boil Bring a small saucepan of wate ns and a gree rd colla over medium heat. Add en the Wh . erge subm to stir pinch of salt, and of -cup half a rve rese , boil a to rns water retu . nder liquid and drain greens in a cola e frying Heat coconut oil in a wok or wid l it unti heat high over k) pan (not non-stic ke. smo begins to to coat in Add onions and stir vigorously n and turn softe to n oil. Cook until onions begi . utes min 1-2 golden brown, stir Add shiitake mushrooms and to medium vigorously to combine. Reduce heat . utes min 1-2 rbed high and cook undistu are ms hroo mus and ns When onio drained beginning to stick to the pan, add . bine greens and garlic and toss to com a pinch and id liqu g chin Add reserved blan and stir , boil a to es com id of salt. As the liqu bottom the at r laye zed meli cara the up scrape orated of the pan. Cook until liquid has evap ced redu the with ed and vegetables are coat cooking liquid.
FOR THE PANTRY
Besides ensuring that they cook nicely, blanching is a great way to transform a bunch of greens into something versatile that can be stored in the fridge for several days, or the freezer for several weeks. Jacoby recommends that “if you’ve got a bunch of greens from your CSA as big as a small child... blanch it ahead of time.” Simply pack it into a container and keep it in the fridge, or into a zip-top bag and freeze it. Once it’s blanched, “you can use it in different preparations... put it into pasta, throw it into soup... it’s ready to go.”
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Seeing Is Believing Art installation makes invisible pollution visible
ir pollution is an abstraction. We know it’s there and it affects our health, but if we could see it, what could change? That’s one of the questions asked by Particle Falls, an art installation on the outside of the Wilma Theater. Particle Falls takes realtime air pollution data using a nephelometer, which measures particulates in the air using light, and translates that data into a different sort of light. When air pollution is low, smooth blue light falls towards Broad Street. When a bus goes by or a smoker exhales, the light changes to fiery crackles and dots. Digital media artist Andrea Polli created Particle Falls to make the invisible visible and to encourage awareness about air pollution. “As an 18
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by katy diana
artist, I felt the best way to promote this dialogue was to take… something negative and present it as a thing of beauty,” Polli explains. Particle Falls is part of Sensing Change, a larger exhibit at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) Museum. Through different media, Sensing Change shows short- and long-term environmental changes and invites us to explore and respond to them. Particle Falls is on display outside the Wilma Theater at 265 S. Broad St. after 7 p.m. from September 26 to December 1. Sensing Change is on view through May 2, 2014 at the CHF Museum, 315 Chestnut St. in Old City. Learn more at chemheritage.org .
SUSTAINABILITY Helping people help each other to be more sustainable CivicMob is a Philadelphia startup seeking to collect and distribute ideas for energy efficiency. Through crowdsourcing, the company aims to tap into “the extraordinary potential of common sense conservation opportunities.” CivicMob has a smartphone app in beta-testing that will make it easy to report ideas for reducing energy use. CivicMob seeks partnerships with universities, businesses and nonprofits interested in promoting sustainability and increasing their bottom line. Join the mob at civicmob.com , or on Twitter @Civic_Mob . — Katy Diana P HOTO BY G REG BENSON
When was the last time physics was taught in Phys Ed?
How do you inspire a young mind? With an engaging curriculum that approaches every lesson from the vantage point of each subject taught, yielding a powerfully effective methodology. And powerfully hungry learners. Not memorizers. But original thinkers. Prepared for life.
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Anger Is an Energy Lack of mainstream coverage leads to online hub for eco-conscious citizens by shaun brady
uring the 2008 Jacques Sapriel at Philadelphia mayTEDxSoudertonHS oral election, the in 2012 Academy of Natural Sciences hosted a series of debates centered on sustainability issues. If you don’t remember hearing about them at the time, Jacques Sapriel wouldn’t be surprised. “There was very little coverage,” Sapriel recalls, obviously still annoyed by the memory. “I was incensed. And the way I function is, I get very frustrated and then I decide to do something about it. I’ve been working in technology for 30 years, so my initial idea was to create a central platform and a place for conversations.” That anger-fueled inspiration led Sapriel to design PhillyEcoCity.com, envisioned as a hub for eco-conscious citizens to meet, discuss and find information. The site features a news blog, an event calendar, a database of green organizations in the region and forums for green jobs and volunteer opportunities. “I would like it to be a place where people who have an interest in sustainability, whether it’s minimal or passionate, can find out who is doing what, where, easily,” Sapriel says. “I’d like people to be able to find cool things that inspire them and a way to connect with other people who
are on the same wavelength.” Originally from Strasbourg, France, Sapriel initially became concerned about the environment and climate change during the energy crisis of the 1970s. That concern has only grown in the three decades since he arrived in Philadelphia, heightened, he says, by the fact that he has two sons, both now in their twenties. “We’re just seeing the beginning of what global warming is looking like, and 15 years from now it’s going to be much more blatant,” he says. “If I just go to despair and anger, that’s not productive. I am quite angry, to be honest; that’s one of the ways that I motivate myself. But we cannot do nothing. That’s only going to make things worse.” Get involved at phillyecocity.com .
A writer’s multifaceted exploration of the city expands to fiction For Nathaniel Popkin, Philadelphia is an endless playground. He has explored the city through the lenses of journalism, film, essay and — with the October 30 release of his new novel, Lion and Leopard — fiction. Lion and Leopard gives a voice to Romantic painter John Lewis Krimmel (1786-1821), a German immigrant who challenged the norms of Rationalist art with his paintings of street scenes. Popkin felt a connection with Krimmel because he “shoot[s] in the same kinds of places that Krimmel would sketch and paint.” Krimmel died in an accident near the farm of Rationalist artist
GR IDPH I L LY.CO M DEC EM BE R 20 13
Charles Willson Peale, whose journal is missing pages from that day. Thus, a Philadelphia story was born. As founding editor of the web magazine, Hidden City, Popkin tells the stories behind unique structures and preservation efforts in Philadelphia. In his first two books, Song of the City (2002) and The Possible City (2008), Popkin breathed life into the city’s history via literary nonfiction. When asked about the switch to historical fiction in Lion and Leopard, Popkin says, “My work comes from a love of literature and an interest in the world around me — the city, history, what might be. [Fiction] is just a different form of that inquiry.” —Katy Diana Lion and Leopard is published by The Head and the Hand Press, a craft publishing company based in Kensington. Explore at theheadandthehand.com .
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G R I DP HI L LY.COM
When you think about the future, it all comes down to the kids.” — Micah Gold-Markel, founder OF solar states
Students from Youthbuild Philadelphia Charter School studying solar technology
sion (compared to losses of as much as 15 percent for electricity produced off-site). “We anticipate the array will generate 30 to 50 percent of the energy consumed by most schools,” says GoldMarkel. “The rest of the energy will hopefully come from Clean Currents, which sells 100 percent renewable energy.” While Gold-Markel is excited about putting solar arrays atop the schools, he is even more excited by the initiative’s focus on preparing Philadelphia’s youth for work in the growing green jobs sector. He has partnered with the YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School on North Broad Street, where he now teaches a class to 15 students who have recently returned to school after having dropped out. Martin Molloy, YouthBuild’s director of vocational training, says, “These are 18- to 21-year-olds who’ve figured out — usually through harsh reality — that education is paramount to their lives.” Each day, the class exposes students to the possibilities of change. Gold-Markel’s teaching style is down-to-earth, capturing the kids’ interest by asking what they think, feel and already know, then framing lessons in ways that are relevant to their world. “[Solar Schools] is probably one of my favorite classes,” wrote student Tiaira Wright. “It’s informative, interesting and fun. I can’t wait to see what Mr. Micah has in store for us throughout the course of the school year.” Although the school year is only a few weeks old, according to Molloy, “So far, the students are more engaged and have reported more interest in the Solar Schools piece of the day than anything else we’ve done.” After the current one-year session, students will advance to college-level classes that suit
their individual aptitudes and interests, with the continued support of the YouthBuild program. Gold-Markel is hopeful that some will go on to become solar engineers. Next year, he plans to offer students hands-on solar vocational training. Some students may also move on from the secondary education program straight to employment, perhaps by Solar States. “We’re looking at some of those students,” Gold-Markel says. “And they look like good candidates for us.” But solar development requires more than engineering and labor. It takes financial planning, strategic thinking, negotiation and marketing. “There is room for workers of all sorts of skills in solar,” he adds. The current curriculum is part of a bigger plan. Gold-Markel intends to have this year’s students create a viable business plan that will help Solar States raise the cash needed to install the arrays on the schools. And it will give the kids, “real-world experience pitching banks and other folks with their business plan to try and get funding. That’s how business works in America. Unless you have a plan that people can believe in, nobody’s going to fund you. A good idea isn’t enough.” In addition to preparing students for jobs in renewable energy, Molloy says that PSSI will “reinforce the areas of critical and creative thinking, business planning and presentation skills.” PSSI is “a win-win-win for everyone,” says Gold-Markel. The kids win when they learn to facilitate change and participate in meaningful employment that is in high demand. The schools win when they generate their own power. The city wins as it gets closer to achieving its sustainability goals.
Micah Gold-Markel, Founder of Solar States
Still, great challenges exist. PSSI is unfunded beyond Solar States’ one-year commitment, and Gold-Markel is planning a campaign to raise the estimated $40,000 operating budget required to teach the daily class for one school year. Also, more schools must join the initiative. Several schools have signed on, and others are in the pipeline, but more are needed. Despite the challenges, Gold-Markel is excited about the prospect of creating green collar jobs for his students, whether they install solar panels on school roofs, commercial roofs or the tops of Philadelphia residences. He is enthusiastic about their potential to become part of a climate-change solution, and hopeful they will help the city become a leader in solar power. “Solar States, under the leadership of Micah Gold-Markel, has been one of the standout business advocates for Pennsylvania’s solar industry,” says Evan R. Endres, project manager for PennFuture Solar Programs. “Rare is the business that directs capital and talent toward projects that benefit the public good and the bottom line; Solar States is a standout example.” Standing in the crisp fall air on top of the Crane Arts Building, Gold-Markel overlooks the array his company installed. “So, this is what 444 solar panels looks like,” he says. In between his vantage point and the majestic Center City skyline stands a vastocean of rooftop possibilities, each one patiently waiting for someone to come along and capitalize on its future potential. But Gold-Markel knows that more important than the potential of what goes on top of those roofs is the potential of the kids who live under them. “When you think about the future,” he says, “it all comes down to the kids.” D ECE M b er 20 13
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Take a closer look at these sustainable projects during Greenbuild 2013. For information, please visit: http://www.greenbuildexpo.org/education/green-building-tours.aspx
was produced by Grid and published by Red Flag Media 1032 Arch St., Third Floor Philadelphia, PA 19107
The exciting intersection of profit and sustainability
by Janet Milkman
Publisher Alex Mulcahy firstname.lastname@example.org
When is business “green?” Where does protecting and improving health and the environment fit in a capitalist society? How do we harness the for-profit businesses to operate sustainably? How do government and nonprofits support this goal? These are the hard questions faced by the Delaware Valley Green Building Council’s (DVGBC) partners — the business, government and nonprofit “superheroes” profiled in this issue. Now in my fifth year as Executive Director of DVGBC, I’m starting to see some exciting answers. There are two ways to link sustainability and business: first, help existing businesses operate with fewer impacts on the environment, as the policy leaders highlighted in the following pages have done through incentives and regulations. The second approach is to create for-profit opportunities in sustainability products and services, and we also highlight engineers and builders, energy services providers and recyclers, lighting and landscape designers, who have done just that. Market transformation is Executive Director the goal of the U.S. Green BuildDelaware Valley Green ing Council, our national partBuilding Council ner, and over its 20 year history,
we’ve seen the development of a significant market for greener building products and services. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system demanded cleaner, healthier and more sustainable materials and practices. But it was the adoption of LEED by the U.S. General Services Administration — the largest property owner in the world — that solidified this market transformation. Companies such as Revolution Recovery would not exist without the demand created by the LEED system, but it takes the involvement of all the players — government, nonprofit and business — to support a sustainability economy. The 2013 Greenbuild Conference and Expo will fill the entire Pennsylvania Convention Center with businesses that make a profit from sustainability. In Pennsylvania alone, the green building industry employs 277,000 people and grosses more than
Editor-in-Chief Jon McGoran email@example.com Art Director Danni Sinisi firstname.lastname@example.org
Writers Emily Kovach Julianne Mesaric Peggy Paul Copy Editor Andrew Bonazelli
$34 billion in annual revenue. At DVGBC, our work is to amplify the business profit into “social profit.” That’s why we put such focus on K-12 schools, and work so closely with policy-makers to institutionalize sustainable business practices. This intersection of profit and sustainability must be our future. The biggest opportunities to learn about the people and companies leading us there will be November 20-22 at Greenbuild at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and March 7, 2014, at our annual Sustainability Symposium at Temple University. I’ll see you there. Learn more about these events and DVGBC’s work on policy and K-12 schools at dvgbc.org.
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DELAWARE VALLEY GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL 2013 | GREENPRINT | 3
The World At Our Doorstep
DVGBC to hold fifth annual Spring Sustainability Symposium
Greenbuild Conference & Expo puts Philadelphia in the spotlight by Emily Kovach
by Julianne Mesaric
Imagine starting your day with a breakfast where you are privy to some of the top minds in the sustainability industry. Afterwards, you head to a lecture by Sheryl 20-22 WuDunn, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Then, full of inspiration, you explore an expo featuring the world’s leading green building and design products and services. Later that afternoon, you attend an educational session titled “Reinventing Philadelphia Through Green Infrastructure,” and are flooded with practical applications for the info you absorbed in earlier sessions. Finally, as the sun sets over the Philadelphia Convention Center, Hillary Rodham Clinton takes the stage to deliver a keynote speech.
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of committed volunteers will be coaxing conference-goers out of the Convention Center and into Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. Toward this goal, 35 Greenbuild tours — open to the public — have been organized in the city and surrounding region. The Navy Yard, the University of Pennsylvania, the Ben Franklin Parkway and many other locations will be on display. And since Philadelphia is largely defined by its neighborhoods, they will be highlighted as well. “The architects, city planners, policy makers and manufacturers [at the conference] want to be outside of the Convention Center walls, which is why we’ve organized the tours and compiled a list of neighborhood gems to help them with wayfaring during the event,” says Blakeslee. “This will give a sense of the real communities in Philadelphia, which is what makes our city really shine.”
Sound too good to be true? Well, from November 20 – 22, more than 30,000 people will descend upon Philadelphia for the 2013 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo for a day just like the one described. This is a special year for the conference: its first appearance on the East Coast since 2008, its first time hosted in Philadelphia, and the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Green Building Council. Heather Blakeslee, Deputy Executive Director for Communications and Strategic Initiatives at the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC), thinks this is the perfect opportunity to put Philadelphia on an international stage. “We are a national leader on many fronts,” she says of Philadelphia. “And as a chapter, our biggest goal is for people at the conference to come away with an understanding of just how amazing all of the work that’s happening here is.” A major focus of the DVGBC and its multitude
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When Brad Molotsky sketched a program outline on a napkin one night over beers, he had no idea it would become the first NJ/PA Sustainability Symposium. The region’s most prominent sustainability conference, it attracting 400 attendees to Rutgers University Camden in March 2010. An executive vice president and general counsel at Brandywine Realty Trust, Molotsky co-founded the Symposium with Lori Braunstein, now the Director of Green Schools for DVGBC. “I wanted to host an event that serves as a convener of folks to talk about disparate and different topics under the larger umbrella of sustainability and energy efficiency,” says Molotsky, who is now a DVGBC board member. More than 1,000 attendees are expected to come to Temple University, Friday, March 7, 2014 for the fifth annual symposium, now hosted by Temple University’s Fox School of Business. In addition to keynote speeches and presentations from innovators in a variety of disciplines, a new networking lounge will help attendees to interact and assist each other in achieving their goals. “We invite people to come out of their silos, and to branch out of their individual professions and sectors,” says Braunstein. “The DVGBC considers this dialogue a catalyst for how change happens.” That dialogue will also include a forum where Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial candidates will be asked about sustainability issues. The Forum will be free and open to the public.
Tickets to the symposium can be purchased beginning December 15 at dvgbc.org.
OF S U S HEROES
This miniature green roof on a bus shelter at 15th and Market Streets inspires Philadelphians to take on their own stormwater projects
“It’s amazing the amount of change that’s happened in a decade, in terms of the public understanding of the issues of water, stormwater and how people are reacting to it, and just the level of knowledge.” HOWARD NEUKRUG WAT E R CO M M I S S I O N E R
of local, state and federal government — but Howard stuck with it and was intensely committed to seeing it through.” The plan has won widespread praise and national attention. It has also captured the city’s imagination, quite an achievement considering not long ago the issue existed solely in the realm of white papers and policy wonks. “It’s amazing the amount of change that’s happened in a decade, in terms of the public understanding of the issues of water, stormwater and how people are reacting to it, and just the level of knowledge,” says Neukrug. “In 1999 I began the Office of Watersheds... I’d say, ‘Hi, I’m Howard Neukrug, director of the Office of Watersheds,’ and their first question to me was ‘What’s a watershed?’ …Today, everywhere I go, people are talking to me about impervious cover and how they manage it. Where do they get a rain barrel? …That’s an amazing change.” Change has been one of the few constants at PWD during Neukrug’s tenure, which began just after the Clean Water Act mandated construction of big wastewater treatment plants, transforming the way water departments viewed rivers and streams. Climate change and increases in heavy rain events have pushed stormwater management toward the top of the agenda, but Neukrug notes that without the Clean Water Act, rivers and streams would have remained too dirty to detect the pollution storm runoff. While implementing its forward-thinking agenda, PWD must also maintain an aging traditional
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infrastructure that includes 7,000 miles of pipe. “We’ve been targeting .8 percent of our water distribution pipes to be replaced each year... a 120-year cycle,” Neukrug says. That might not sound like much, but .8 percent equals more than 50 miles of pipe that must be changed each year. PWD’s innovative plans go beyond stormwater management. “We’re looking to recover every resource you can,” says Neukrug, “...The water itself, the heat within the water, the nutrients and organics. How do you take everything you can out of that water and reuse it the best you can? …That’s the future of the water industry.” The tools to do it are evolving as well, from the sewage treatment plants of the 1920s, through the Water Pollution Control Plants (WPCPs) built under the Clean Water Act. Next will be Resource Recovery and Energy Efficiency (R2E2) facilities. Neukrug’s enthusiasm about stormwater permeates the city, but its impact is felt event further. “That passion and vision has really energized a lot of people,” says Gajewski. “I have the opportunity to talk with folks working in cities across the U.S. and the world, and it’s exciting to have them looking to us as an innovator and aspiring to follow our lead. Just as exciting to me is that there is a new generation of planners and engineers interested in public service because of Green City, Clean Waters.” Learn more about the innovation at the Philadelphia Water Department at phillywatersheds.org and at phila.gov/water
Meliora’s innovative stormwater designs can be seen at the Philadelphia Zoo (above) and the Albert M. Greenfield School (below)
Designed. Made. Celebrated. www.hughloftingtimberframe.com 610-444-5382
Stormwater engineers mix disciplines by design by Emily Kovach Meliora Design’s multidisciplinary team of engineers works with clients ranging from the Philadelphia Zoo to the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee, harnessing a range of technologies like rain gardens and porous asphalt to manage stormwater. “You don’t get to sustainable design with one discipline — it’s an integrated process,” says Meliora founder Michele Adams. “We’re engineers and scientists focusing on water issues, but it’s never just about the water.
It’s about the community, the clients and making cities more resilient.” The Phoenixville-based Meliora (“always better” in Latin) was part of a winning team in the recent Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! design competition for the “Leveraging Plants + Water on Zero Lots Sites” presentation, which displayed their mastery of the intersections of landscape, design, urban renewal and stormwater management. melioradesign.net
Designer’s integrated approach keeps everyone happy by Emily Kovach The fate of Lower Venice Island, a five-acre stretch of land between the Schuylkill River and the Manayunk Canal, was hanging in the balance. It was destined to become either home to a sewer overflow tank for the Philadelphia Water Department, or a recreational space for the community. Then Andropogon came to the rescue,
conceiving of a fluid design that integrated both uses of the area. This is just one example of the work that this landscape architecture and ecological planning and design firm has been doing for the past 30 years, both in the region and around the country. andropogon.com
DELAWARE VALLEY GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL 2013 | GREENPRINT | 7
CLEARING THE AIR Council uses the law to defend clean air by Emily Kovach Ever since the Clean Air Act came into being in 1963, there have been forces trying to subvert it. Since 1967, the Clean Air Council (CAC) has been fighting back, relentlessly defending the tenets of the act on behalf of the citizens of Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. In 1982, Joseph Otis Minott, Esq. was hired by CAC as a staff attorney, fresh out of Villanova Law School. One of only a handful of employees, his first major project was successfully suing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to implement an auto emissions inspection program. That case was the first step in Minott’s career in environmental justice and legal activism in the name of clean air. By 1986, Minott had become both executive director and chief counsel. Under his leadership, CAC has grown into a robust organization with 7,000
Clean Air Council Executive Director Joseph Otis Minott, Esq.
members, 36 employees and offices in Harrisburg, Erie, Wilmington and Philadelphia. Minott estimates that CAC has filed more lawsuits over the years than any environmental group in Pennsylvania, but he remains modest about his influence on CAC’s growth and success. “Our organization is a great collection of mostly young, really dedicated people,” he says. “We have attorneys, planners, special events people and others, all putting in long hours and working for small salaries.”
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City agency is on the front lines of the fight for clean air by Emily Kovach If there’s a strange odor on your block, unidentified smoke billowing out of an industrial area, or a diesel truck idling for hours and filling the air with exhaust, who are you going to call? The city’s Air Management Services, that’s who. As the enforcers of city, state and federal air quality criteria, they will send a representative to inspect the situation and respond accordingly. Calls are confidential. Part of the City of Philadelphia’s Public Health Department, this department defends our right to clean air. They tackle this mighty feat via a number of avenues, including the air and noise concern hotline (215-6857580), an air monitoring lab that tests
air samples for toxins and a system for handling applications and permits that business must obtain before installing any equipment that creates pollution. There are many technical regulations, codes and bureaucratic guidelines in place to keep our city’s air clean, and there’s always someone trying to skirt the rules. As individuals, it can sometimes feel like there’s no recourse against polluters. But you can breathe a little easier knowing the Air Management Services Department is on the case, ready to respond and regulate.
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DELAWARE VALLEY GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL 2013 | GREENPRINT | 9
OF S U S HEROES
DUMPSTER DIVERTERS Company keeps construction debris out of landfills for more than 40 years by Peggy Paul If you’ve ever passed by a renovation or construction site, you’ve probably noticed the dumpsters crammed full of drywall, two-by-fours, metal, glass, plastic and other waste materials. But have you ever wondered where those materials go? Too often, it’s the landfill. For the past 40 years, Richard S. Burns and Company has made it their mission to change that. Founded as a one-man operation in the 1960s, the company now operates a 10-acre state-of-the-art processing facility in Northeast Philadelphia, transforming demolition and renovation waste into reusable materials.
The company’s philosophy is less about environmentalism than about the practicality of adopting environmental practices. “The key is to be environmentally friendly and also economical,” says longtime client representative Bob Beaty. “Burns is a business, and everyone here is very hands-on.” Burns’ efficient and surprisingly clean facility handles over 1,500 tons of material waste per day and diverts between 85 and 90 percent of incoming waste away from landfills. For contractors and renovators in the Greater Philadelphia region,
Burns provides dumpster rentals, same-day waste removal and recycling of all non-hazardous waste material. Their two LEED-accredited project managers work with businesses and construction sites to develop earth-friendly waste management plans. The magic begins when the dumpsters arrive at Burns’ facilities, filled with rubble and other demolition waste. After each load of materials is photographed, weighed and given an identification number, it is sorted on a magnetic conveyer belt. Metal, gypsum, stone, cardboard, glass, porcelain
and plastic materials are separated for recycling. Wood is chipped into mulch or sold to landfills as a proprietary barrier system. Stone is crushed and screened for drainage, road-building and landscaping applications. Asphalt roofing shingles are ground for use as additives in the manufacture of both road and roofing asphalt products. With materials that cannot be reused in their current form — for instance plywood, contaminated cardboard and window glass — Burns makes its patented Barrier cover product for landfills, which the company sees as a necessary evil, but one that should be as environmentally sustainable as possible. In Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, Barrier has been tested and approved as an alternative to the six inches of non-reusable soil typically required as daily cover for landfills. Because of the large amount of soil it replaces on landfills, it meets the highest standards of environmental protection and is compliant with existing LEED guidelines. burnscompany.net
10 | GREENPRINT | DELAWARE VALLEY GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL 2013
OF S U S HEROES
“Where we live and work has as much, or more, of an impact on energy use as the energy efficiency of our buildings and public spaces do” ROB DIEMER F O U N D I N G PA R T N E R , IN-POSSE
reduce energy used for transportation. Enhancing the quality of life in our cities entices more people to live in cities and reduce their overall environmental impact.” The Diemers agree about the importance of aesthetics in public spaces, but still benefit from each others’ slightly differing points of view. “By the nature of what she does, Helen is very concerned about aesthetics, and because of what I do, I am very concerned about energy conservation,” says Rob. “We both know that there needs to be a balance but because I am less involved in aesthetics, I can sometimes seem to diminish its importance. Helen is quick to put me in my place by reminding me that an energy efficient world without beauty would not be a very appealing world.” Helen agrees. “I would argue that the lighting of public spaces is necessary power usage... Providing a desirable nighttime environment — which includes great nighttime lighting — encourages people to walk and enjoy the amenities that the city has to offer, instead of getting in their cars to seek refuge in the suburbs. It is a misconception that providing this amenity is wasted energy.” “Our perspectives are different,” says Helen, “but I think we have both learned from the other’s point of view... At TLP, we strive to use that energy as efficiently as possible to make beautiful places. That is part of our creative challenge.” Even with the major impact the Diemers have had on how resources are consumed and conserved in Philadelphia and beyond, Rob sees the choices of energy users as more important. “Designers and architects don’t use energy; we just set the stage,” he says. “Until building designers figure out how to engage building users and provide them the guidance, tools and motivation to adjust their energy use, we won’t be able to deliver buildings that truly use less energy.” To learn more about what the Diemers are working on, visit Rob at in-posse.com and Helen at thelightingpractice.com.
Landmark Philadelphia law makes bulding energy usage public knowledge by Julianne Mesaric If knowledge is power, the City of Philadelphia is about to become super-powered. In June 2012, Philadelphia City Council enacted a law that requires owners of non-residential buildings of more than 50,000 square feet to track data on energy and water consumption and make those benchmarks publicly available. “Energy and water benchmarking measures building performance using industrystandard performance indicators,” says Alex Dews, benchmarking program manager in the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “The policies provide owners, operators, buyers and tenants with information to guide investments, make more informed real estate decisions and reduce environmental impact of commercial buildings.”
The law is intended to help educate the building industry on opportunities to improve performance and reduce utility costs. Energy and water use data must be tracked via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager program, a free online tool. The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and its partners provided outreach and training to support compliance. The first reporting deadline of October 31, 2013 was extended to November 25 due to the federal government shutdown. While the law’s intent is to raise awareness around energy efficiency, violations for noncompliance will be issued in late 2013. phila.gov/benchmarking
A CERTIFIABLE SUCCESS Local company is a national leader in LEED and ENERGY STAR certifications by Julianne Mesaric In 30 years of operation, MaGrann Associates has certified 55,000 ENERGY STAR homes and 2,600 LEED homes, making it one of the nation’s leading providers of these certifications. Despite the challenge of the housing recession, MaGrann never wavered from its commitment to increase the number of energyefficient homes in the city, through sustainability consulting and working with building professionals, utilities and program sponsors. This commitment to doing the “right thing” despite a challenging economy reflects how seriously MaGrann President and CEO Mark MaGrann takes the world’s energy problem. “It’s not going away in our lifetime,” he says.
Maybe not, but Philadelphia’s carbon footprint improves with every building that reduces the energy it consumes, and MaGrann is determined to help make that a reality for as many as possible. Their eGuarantee program provides owners of multi-family buildings with energysaving recommendations and predictions on how much energy they will save in the next two years. If the recommendations are followed and the savings fall short, MaGrann pays the difference. To MaGrann, this makes good sense environmentally and economically. “Every dollar saved by our clients can be put back into the economy,” he says. magrann.com
DELAWARE VALLEY GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL 2013 | GREENPRINT | 13
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by bernard browntphotos by christian hunold
Over Eager Newly returned beavers deal setbacks to local tree-planting efforts
he natural is often artificial in a city. It can take a lot of planning and work to get native species growing along the battered Tacony Creek, to keep the water unpolluted and the bed from getting scoured by runoff each time it rains. Thus it can be especially frustrating when a native animal foils your plans. “They took out a strip of 50 trees near Rising Sun,” recounts Denis Mora, Philadelphia Water Department Water Conveyance Supervisor, with amazement. He is talking about beavers. Tom Witmer, Natural Lands Restoration Operations Manager with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, had told me a similar story about another tree-planting along the creek, this one closer to Adams Avenue. “We like trees and planting trees everywhere because they manage stormwater, and trees in the park are no different,” explains Alix Howard, Director of Education and Outreach for the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF). The beavers don’t care. They just need food and building supplies, and planting a row of saplings is like giving them a combination buffet and hardware store. They fell the trees to munch the smaller branches and leaves, and use the wood 38
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DEC E M BE R 2013
The Tacony Creek, along with (clockwise from right) evidence of trees damaged by beavers, and (left) one of the culprits.
for their underwater construction projects. These Tacony beavers are newcomers. According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, by the early 1900s, trapping had extirpated beavers — rendered them locally extinct — across the commonwealth. The Commission released Wisconsin and Canadian beavers starting in 1917, and in a few decades beavers were spreading across the state on their own. A Fairmount Park inventory notes that there were no beavers in Philadelphia’s waterways as of 1903, and that as of 1999 they were living in the Delaware and Schuylkill. They only started appearing in Northeast Philly’s creeks (the Tacony and the Pennypack) in 2008, according to Mora. We’re used to seeing beavers in wilder areas, so photographer Christian Hunold and I immediately recognized the rough-chewed, pointy stumps we saw along the path. These were a couple years old, but the busy rodents will keep
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To learn more about the Tookany/TaconyFrankford Watershed, and to get involved, visit ttfwatershed.org .
at it, gnawing down trees and — if we’re really unlucky — blocking culverts in their attempts to build ponds. Known along its length as the Tookany, Tacony and then Frankford, the creek offers the same mix of natural respite and industrial challenges as other smaller Philadelphia waterways, such as the Pennypack and Cobbs. The earliest European settlers dammed creeks to power mills, and more recently we’ve been abusing them with pollution and exotic species that crowd out natives. Still, with all its problems, the Tacony offers the immediate peace and calm that I seek in a creek corridor: take a few steps down from the street and soon the slopes and trees block out the city. Clear water flows peacefully over the rocky bed. Fish hover in the pools. On our walk, a belted kingfisher chatters at us, and we spook a great blue heron as we walk along the creek. It seems like we could have been anywhere but North Philly. Suddenly the beavers didn’t seem so out of place.
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bernard brown is an amateur field herper, bureaucrat and founder of the PB&J Campaign (pbjcampaign.org ), a movement focused on the benefits of eating lower on the food chain. D ECE M B E R 20 13
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Philly Bike Expo
Artisans and manufacturers of bikes, components, accessories and apparel will be displaying their latest products, crafts and technology.
→ Nov. 9 - 10. Tickets $8 - 25. Pennsylvania
Convention Center, 1101 Arch St. To learn more or buy tickets, visit phillybikeexpo.com .
Undercover Gluten-Free: Thanksgiving Sides
Chef Laura Hahn will go over the basics of gluten-free cooking and demonstrate with great Thanksgiving recipes like roasted apple/ sweet potato canapés, rice stuffing and rum walnut cake.
Native Planting and Invasive Clean-Up With FOW
Help the Friends of the Wissahickon restore the Philadelphia Water Department’s stormwater project. Live willow stakes will be set into the ground in the vicinity of the disturbed area in an effort to promote healthy regeneration. Meet at St. Martin’s Lane access drive. → Sat., Nov. 16, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Free. Wissahickon Valley Park. For info, visit fow.org .
Philadelphia’s only live sustainability talk show. Hosts Alex Mulcahy and Nic Esposito welcome guests Avi Golen of Revolution Recovery, Janet Milkman of DVGBC, Elliott Gold from PGW, and Philadelphia Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug, plus a reading by Sarah Grey, of Rust Belt Rising Almanac
→ Sat., Nov. 9, 12 - 2 p.m. $35. Greensgrow
Community Kitchen at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 2139 E. Cumberland St. For tickets, visit greensgrow.org/event .
Weird Waste Day
Empty your basement and garage of all those old electronic items you don’t know what to do with. All will be responsibly dismantled instead of ending up in a landfill.
→ Thurs., Nov. 14. Doors open at 6 p.m., show starts
at 7 p.m. $5. Trinity Memorial Church, 22nd and Spruce Sts.
Opening Night of Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle
Holiday light show with over 50,000 lights, a 300-foot LED-lit kite and an illuminated historical Franklin Square Fountain. Presented by Historic Philadelphia.
→ Sat., Nov. 9, 1 - 4 p.m. Suggested donation of $10
- $20. Norwood-Fontbonne Academy parking lot, 8891 Germantown Ave., Chestnut Hill. For a list of recyclables accepted, visit greeninchestnuthill. blogspot.com
Day-Off Camp: The Science of Food
Explore the science behind food. Prepare to cook, eat and take home some of your experiments.
→ Mon., Nov. 11, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. $55/person for non-
members; $45/person for members. Extended day until 6 p.m. is available for an additional fee of $15/day. Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Rd.. Visit schuylkillcenter.org for more information.
The Abolitionists Screening
Part of the “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” event series by the Envision Peace Museum, marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. A discussion led by civil rights leaders to follow.
→ Mon., Nov. 11, 6:30 p.m. Free. Philadelphia Friends
Center, 1501 Cherry St.
→ Thurs., Nov. 14, 5 p.m. Show runs through Dec. 31,
Step into the holiday season in charming Old City, circa 1777, and enjoy winter brews and festive libations. Stops include Salon 401 at Omni Hotel, National Mechanics, Victoria Freehouse and the historic City Tavern.
DEC EM BE R 2013
America Recycles Day with Keep Philadelphia Beautiful
Join Recyclebank, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful and the Philadelphia Streets Department in celebrating America Recycles Day. Activities throughout Rittenhouse Square will demonstrate the proper way to recycle in Philadelphia, why recycling is critical and the potential “second life” for any object through recycling and reuse.
Thanksgiving). $40 adults, $35 senior/military/ student. (Tastings & gratuity included, 21 and over with valid I.D.) Departs from Historic Philadelphia Center, 6th & Chestnut Sts. For information call 215-629-4026 or visit historicphiladelphia.org
Gifts in the Galleries
Modern arts and crafts meet ancient artifacts in the Kintner-Dietrich galleries at the Penn Museum. Find hand-constructed clothing, knitted and crocheted accessories, jewelry in a range of mediums, ceramics, homewares, children’s items, prints, stationery, soaps and more from Philadelphia-based artisans.
Harvest Dinner at Russet Restaurant With Slow Food Philly
Join Slow Food Philly for a five-course fixed-price menu meal. Guest speaker will be Jack Goldenberg, urban farmer and former chef. BYOB.
courses. 1521 Spruce St. Call 215-546-1521 or go to russetphilly.com/reservations for reservations. GRID PH I L LY.CO M
Hall Room 021, Temple University.
→ Fri., Nov. 15, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Rittenhouse Sq. Free. → Thursdays from Nov. 14 through Dec. 26 (except
→ Thurs., Nov. 14, 7 p.m. $55/person for five
→ Fri., Nov. 15, 12 - 1 p.m. Free. Paley Library Lecture
Tippler’s Yuletide Cheers & Beers Pubcrawl
Commercial Corridor Revitalization: Turning Passyunk Avenue Into a Nationally Recognized Destination
Sam Sherman, Executive Director of the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation (PARC), will deliver a free lecture on the success of PARC’s commercial corridor revitalization efforts.
4-8 p.m. Historic Franklin Square, 6th & Race Sts. Free and open to the public.
Matt Ziemba of Philadelphia University
→ Fri., Nov. 15, 4 - 7 p.m., Sat. Nov. 15, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Happy Hour on Fri. Free, plus discounted admission to museum. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 3260 South St. For info and list of vendors: vixemporium.com/craftshows/gifts-in-the-galleries
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Restoration Volunteer Workdays at the Schuylkill Center
Help remove invasive plants from the forest, fix deer fences or maintain the trails. Wear long pants and sturdy boots and bring a water bottle.
Canning Crash Course: Holiday Gift With Food In Jars 18 Giving Learn the basics of water bath canning, plus a recipe for seasonal preserves that would make the perfect present for that special someone at the next holiday party you attend.
→ Sat., Nov. 16, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Adults Only.
→ Mon., Nov. 18, 6 - 8 p.m. $45 per person.
Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Rd. Pre-registration is required at schuylkillcenter.org .
Foraged Flavor: A Workshop with Wild Forager Tama Matsuoka Wong
Tama Matsuoka Wong is a professional forager and enthusiastic weed-eater, supplying wild edibles to top restaurants in New York and Philadelphia. Taste samples of Tama’s favorites and learn how to find and prepare common edible weeds yourself. → Sat., Nov. 16, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. $10/person for non-
members; $7/person for members. Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Rd. Pre-registration is required at schuylkillcenter.org .
Succulent Container Workshop Learn to plant a hanging succulent sphere planter. Price includes materials.
→ Sat., Nov. 16, 12 - 2 p.m. $35. Greensgrow
Farms, 2501 E. Cumberland St. For tickets, visit
Rick Nichols Room, Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th St. To buy tickets, go to bpfair-food. ticketleap.com .
Trails Less Traveled Hike with Gerry Schweiger
Hike unknown trails with a Friends of the Wissahickon guide. Wear sturdy shoes, pants and long sleeves to protect against poison ivy. No children under 10 years of age. Meet at Lincoln Dr. & Johnson St. → Sun., Nov. 17, 1 p.m. Free. Lincoln Dr. & W. Johnson St.
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DEC EM BE R 2013
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→ Mon., Nov. 18, 6:30 p.m. Free. Philadelphia Friends Center, 1501 Cherry St. RSVP requested: facebook.
Documentary Screenings With CATA Farmworker Support Committee
Screen and discussion with documentarians of The Plight of the Workers and Hungry for Justice. Panel discussion with local agricultural worker members of CATA will follow. → Thurs., Nov. 21, 7 p.m. $10 suggested donation.
Rufus Jones Room at Friends Center, 1501 Cherry St.
11th Annual Holiday Fair and Craft at the Waldorf School 22 Bazaar Juried arts and crafts fair at the Waldorf School in Mt. Airy, with a parents-only kickoff night and a Saturday kids-only shopping area. → Fri., Nov. 22 - Sat. Nov. 23; 6 - 10 p.m. Fri. (adults
only, free admission), 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (families welcome, $5 adult admission, 14 & under free) The Waldorf School of Philadelphia, 7500 Germantown Ave. phillywaldorf.com
Greensgrow Holiday Bazaar Looking for local, handmade gift ideas from some of the neighborhood’s most talented crafters and artists? Make a dent in your Christmas shopping at the Bazaar.
→ Dec. 7 - 8 and 14 - 15. Greensgrow Farms, 2501
E. Cumberland St. For more information, visit greensgrow.org/events .
Gasland Part II Premiere this award-winning sequel to 18 In Gasland, filmmaker Josh Fox updates us on the state of fracking in the U.S. and also brings us stories from around the globe. Following the film, Food and Water Watch PA will lead a discussion about fracking in Pennsylvania.
Mouth of the Wissahickon Hike With Scott Quitel
A mildly strenuous hike with a Friends of the Wissahickon guide. Visit Lover’s Leap and Hermit’s Cave, and enjoy breathtaking views. Meet near the Battle of Germantown Tablet, in the parking area where Forbidden Dr. meets Lincoln Dr. → Sat., Nov. 23, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Free. Lincoln Dr. & Forbidden Dr. More information at fow.org .
Orange Trail Hike With Merritt Rhoad
Walk along Forbidden Drive to Bell’s Mill Rd., and then along the Orange and White Trails to the Indian Statue then return to Northwestern Ave. along Forbidden Dr., with Friends of the Wissahickon guide. Difficulty: moderate; four miles. Meet at Northwestern Ave. and Forbidden Dr.
→ Sun., Nov. 24, 1 - 3:30 p.m. Free. Northwestern
Ave and Forbidden Dr., Springfield, PA. More information at fow.org .
Meandering in the Wissahickon Hike With Shelly Brick
Meander Wissahickon park and listen to a “talk story,” a Hawaiian tradition. Bring water and wear sturdy shoes. Meet at Springside School’s Cherokee St. parking lot.
Running of the Santas Mega Festival
Two-time Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum-selling rock band Tonic will highlight a long list of musical performances. → Sat., Dec. 7 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. General admission
→ Sun., Nov. 24, 1 p.m. Free. Children welcome
accompanied by a responsible adult. 8000 Cherokee St. More information at fow.org .
Black Friday Celebration with The Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County
Skip the shopping and join TLC for an outdoor hike. Collect natural items to create holiday cards and ornaments to decorate TLC’s evergreen tree for the Winter Solstice Celebration.
tickets are $15, VIP tickets are $40 and Premium Package tickets are $125. Begins at Finnigan’s Wake (“The South Pole”) located at 537 N. 3rd St. Visit runningofthesantas.com for more information.
SBN Holiday Party/Grid Issue Release Party
Celebrate the holidays and the latest issue of Grid with food, drinks and great company. Cosponsored by Grid and Sustainable Business Network.
→ Fri., Nov. 29, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. $5 TLC members, $10
non-members. Bucktoe Creek Preserve, 432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA. Registration required. Visit tlcforscc.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
Create a Pinecone Wreath
Learn to create a pinecone wreath. Bring gardening gloves, pruning shears and light wire cutters if you have them.
Go West Craft Fest
Featuring local handmade wares like jewelry, ceramics, prints, ornaments, stationery, knitted and crocheted accessories, edibles, children’s gifts and more, by a handpicked selection of local vendors. Presented by VIX Emporium and As The Crow Flies & Co.
→ Sun., Dec. 15, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Rotunda,
4014 Walnut St. in West Philadelphia. Visit gowestcraftfest.com for more information.
GMO Free PA Monthly Meeting
GMO Free PA is a grassroots group whose mission is to educate people about genetically engineered foods and advocate for legislation that requires mandatory labeling of such foods.
→ Tues., Dec. 17, 7 - 9 p.m. Free. Ludington Library, → Thurs., Dec. 12, 6 p.m., Reading Terminal Market,
12th and Arch Sts.
Cresheim Valley: The Other Gorge Hike With Scott Quitel
Hike the gorge carved by the Cresheim Creek, one of the major tributaries of the Wissahickon, with a Friends of the Wissahickon guide. Meet in front of the Valley Green Inn.
→ Wed., Dec. 4, 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. $30 per person.
Mt. Cuba Center, 3120 Barley Mill Rd., Hockessin, DE. Visit mtcubacenter.org/calendar for more information.
5 S. Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr. For more information, visit facebook.com/gmofreePA
Winter Solstice Celebration
Celebrate the longest night of the year with TLC a bonfire, hot cocoa and decorating and lighting an evergreen tree atop Crossfield Hill.
→ Sat., Dec. 21, 5–7 p.m. Cost: $5 TLC members/ $10 → Sat., Dec. 14, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Free. Valley Green Rd. More information at fow.org .
non-members/kids under 12 free. Stateline Woods Preserve, 814 Merrybell La., Kennett Square. Visit tlcforscc.org for more information.
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D ECE M B E R 20 13
A Change in the Weather Climate change hits close to home by sam bernhardt
s someone who works to fight against the extraction of fossil fuels, the issue of climate change is never far from my mind. Last year, however, it hit particularly close to home. In fact, it literally hit my home. During Hurricane Sandy, a 90-year-old pine tree smashed through the roof of my parents’ Long Island home, into the living room of the house where they had raised my brother, my sister and me. My parents were on the other side of the house when it happened. My mom called that evening to assure me everything was okay. “We heard a thud, went to check it out and the living room was gone,” she reported. The tree — a familiar part of the scenery of my childhood — had destroyed the roof and torn through both side walls of the house, leaving just the wall of exposed brick where our chimney stood. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only hit. Once the house was stabilized, my mom turned her attention to the small knitting store she owned. During the storm, the surging Long Island Sound had flooded it, ruining more than half of her merchandise. I wanted to come home from Philadelphia to help them, but day-long traffic jams and the prospect of being unable to find gas to get back posed a significant obstacle. There wasn’t much we could do, other than wait. Still, my family was luckier than many. We got out of the storm with just some property damage — the house is repaired and the business reopened. A year later, some around Long Island and the New York metropolitan area still have yet to return to their homes. In retrospect, it was only a matter of time before climate change found me. Because climate change is finding us all. Rising sea levels, droughtinduced crop failure and, as species continue to die off, perhaps the greatest mass-extinction event in biological history — these will be just some of the effects of this catastrophic trend. And the science tells us storms like Sandy will only get stronger and more frequent. Millions will feel seriously tangible effects, billions, even. And for many, those effects will be more destructive and disruptive than a tree through the roof or a flooded store. The rest of us might be less devastatingly impacted, but make no mistake: from now on, climate change will be a part of our lives. While climate change is already happening, if we act swiftly and effectively, we can avoid the worst projections. But we can’t leave this up to our elected officials to figure out, and we can’t rely on scientists to convince them what is right. We need to get organized against fossil fuels to stop climate change now. For me, this experience has been motivation to redouble my efforts to fight fracking, an affirmation that this is the most important struggle of our generation, a fight that I cannot imagine sitting out. Pennsylvania has been hijacked by the fracking industry, leading to water contamination, pipelines crisscrossing our state and polluting compressor stations pumping gas down those pipelines. That all hurts Pennsylvania now. But fracked gas is also a significant contributor to climate change. Some have
estimated that when all the impacts of extraction are considered, fracked gas is as bad for climate change as coal or any other fossil fuel. That is why our team at Food & Water Watch believes that stopping fracking is the most important thing we can do to fight climate change in Pennsylvania. Extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy make climate change about real people, putting a face on those seriously impacted today. If you want to see the face of those who will be seriously impacted tomorrow, you need only look in the mirror. Luckily, that’s also where you will find those who can help. sam bernhardt is the Pennsylvania Organizer at Food & Water Watch, based in Philadelphia. He coordinates campaigns on food and water issues and empowers communities to hold their elected officials accountable.
Each month, Dispatch features personal reflections on adventures in sustainability. Have a story you’d like to share? E-mail email@example.com
GRIDPH I L LY.CO M
DEC EM BE R 20 13
IL LUSTRATION BY ST EV E STREISGUTH
A CHANGE WILL DO YOU GOOD When you’re out to change the world.
Lenny Kolstad Master of Environmental Studies ‘13, University of Pennsylvania To read more about Lenny’s work with green buildings, like Building 101 in the Navy Yard, visit www.upenn.edu/grid
Lenny Kolstad had his degree in engineering from Yale and a good job in IT. But something was missing. More and more, Lenny found himself thinking about climate change – and how the natural world he loved as an outdoorsy kid was being transformed forever. He wanted to work finding solutions to global warming, but he didn’t have any environmental science background. Then he found Penn’s Master of Environmental Studies program. “MES was a leading environmental program, but I also knew it could offer me the broad understanding I needed to enter a whole new field,” Lenny says. The flexibility of the program allowed him to learn key scientific and economic concepts, try a variety of courses – including city planning courses in The School of Design – and connect with internships at the Energy Efficiency Buildings Hub in the Navy Yard and the Institute for Market Transformation in D.C. Lenny has set his sights on working with a sustainable design firm. Was the change worth it? “I get to work in a field that fascinates me,” Lenny says. “Sustainability is the only way we’ll grow our economy while preserving the natural world around us.” Staff from Penn’s MES Program are here to answer your questions face-to-face on the second Wednesday of each month. Walk right in.
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Published on Oct 31, 2013
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