On May 1st and 2nd 2012, the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC) for Energy Efficient Buildings, now called Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), invited a group of business owners, architects, contractors, engineers and designers from eight counties to meet and brainstorm with the quasi-government agency on how to create a market for retrofitting in the greater Philadelphia area.
Given that 1/5th of the nation’s energy consumption is from the commercial business sector, the government has been working with National Government Organizations (NGO’s) across the country to set up a strategic plan for eliminating excessive waste. As of May 1, 2012, the EEB Hub has a 2020 goal to reduce Philadelphia’s energy consumption in the commercial building sector by 20%. They plan to do this by funding energy efficient retrofits for participating companies. However, the main questions that continues to be debated is, who is going to lead these retrofitting projects and what methodology will be used to ensure each participating company gets the best retrofitting option for their building and business?
Ernest Delany, the owner and president of Probes Unlimited, Inc. was asked to participate in this meeting from both a business owner’s perspective as well as an engineer standpoint. His main concern with the retrofitting initiative is that business deals will interfere with customized plans for each building. Without oversight and auditable processes, profit could supercede energy efficiency. Who and how is the government going to regulate the architects, contractors and designers to ensure that alliances are not made that would inhibit a participating business from getting the best retrofitting plan for their needs?
One solution that he recommends may address some of these potential issues is to have the government act as the information provider. Whether it is by providing a website or guidelines for business owners to refer to and educate themselves on what products are out there and which products would best fit their needs. In addition to having a rating system, the government could create a resource on completed retrofitting projects including: the specifications the company followed and information on how business owners can market their new energy efficient building to renters, customers, etc.
Overall the meeting was both collaborative and energizing and Probes Unlimited, Inc. is excited to participate in the transformative changes that will be going on in the greater Philadelphia area in the next few years.