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Philadelphia Water Upgrades are Boosting the Local Economy

April 12, 2018

SOL VISTA handles all aspects of building utility performance: checking current usage, making minor adjustments, automating local benchmarking, identifying cheaper energy contracts, and assisting with onsite projects.

In Philadelphia, a comprehensive, long-term plan to improve stormwater runoff has sent shockwaves through the industry. The city's unique problem requires the commitment of private infrastructure – building owners who must participate in the plan in order for it to work.

Philadelphia Water Upgrades are Boosting the Local Economy

Erin Williams is the manager of the Stormwater Billing & Incentives Program for the city of Philadelphia, and has witnessed the city's development and innovations aimed at efficiently handling stormwater runoff. Expanded from an initial 2012 grant, Philadelphia has notably enacted policies combined with funding initiatives that have incentivized properties to help keep the costs of water down.

The city is motivated to provide incentives because runoff is harmful: polluted stormwater enters the sewer system, increasing the total volume of water for the city's infrastructure to process. The more water-resistant surfaces there are, the more polluted stormwater runs into the sewer system. Currently, Philadelphia buildings can qualify for grants that pay for retrofits to reduce and divert stormwater runoff. One is the Stormwater Management Incentives Program (SMIP); another is the Greened Acre Retrofit Program (GARP), both of which help reduce costs for qualified non-residential customers and contractors to design and install stormwater best management practices.

Williams says that in 2012, the city approved a $5 million budget for the SMIP in 2012. Now, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) is looking to make $25 million in awards, starting July 1, 2018 – money that is supporting local green services businesses. "As the program was completed, word traveled to customers that this isn't a farce, it isn't a gimmick," she says. "Business owners are saying, 'Hey property owners, do you know about this? Let me design this for you, build this for you, get this done for you.'"

The main reason, she says, is because efficiency upgrades are saving Philadelphia property owners money. Additionally, they're seeing the following benefits:

Whether your building is inside or outside of Philly, you can leverage SOL VISTA's Skywalk® platform to identify these types of money-saving opportunities, and our expert team can help you implement projects to reduce ongoing utility use and cost.

Every city is different, and as more jurisdictions implement laws related to building performance, the importance of energy and water efficiency is growing beyond just cost savings, and into legal compliance.

Skywalk®, SOL VISTA's proprietary SaaS platform, empowers commercial building owners and managers to improve the performance and profitability of their buildings.

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