Light Up Philly


Business owners have many choices for different types of energy intelligence measures, so the best starting point is to benchmark the current status of any given property. A building energy benchmark is like a doctor’s checkup that evaluates a current health and determines the right path forward. Each case is often different, so the solutions are tailored accordingly.

Technology in isolation does not necessarily solve energy problems, but the right technology applied in the right context can make dramatic differences. As an example, high efficiency LED tube technology that saved 65% over fluorescent and other lighting yields the best ROI when it is replacing long run time lights. This would be like using a hybrid car on a long commute to work, vs just a few errands a day. The car costs the same amount, for either user, but the owner with the long commute is saving more each day. So, the highest and best use of the LED tube and LED fixture technology is longer run time areas such as 24/7 LED parking garages, convenience stores, call centers, hallways in hospitals, dorms, and apartment buildings. Plus exit stairs and multiple shift industrial facilities such as warehouses, distribution centers, and factories are ideal for LED fixture technology. Gymnasiums, and retail stores that are open on the weekends and grocery stores, which often have extended hours, are all well suited for LED fixture technology. Overall commercial lighting and industrial lighting are all well suited for LED tube and LED fixture retrofits.

Impact of Benchmarking: More on Benchmarking

The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) commissioned a study by Econsult to help identify the extent to which mandated building energy use disclosure in Philadelphia could foster economic activity and other benefits. Findings from the study include:

The estimated energy efficiency improvements undertaken as a result of the legislation would result in the retrofit of approximately 5.3 million square feet of office space for a total cost of $1.9 million, supporting 157 direct jobs. The ripple effects of that activity would generate an additional $1.6 million in activity, for a total of $3.5 million in economic value to the Philadelphia economy.

Rent reductions spurred by increased competition between landlords would induce a one-time absorption of 443,000 square feet of office space, supporting 1,480 to 2,950 new office jobs, with an annual payroll of $66.8 million to $133.5 million. The multiplier effect of the new jobs would mean an additional 1,150 - 2,230 jobs and $29.7 to $59.4 million in earnings, for a total of 2,630 to 5,250 new jobs and $96.5 to $192.9 in jobs and earnings in Philadelphia.

If owners must disclose energy costs, tenants will be able to choose between paying higher rent (but lower utilities) for a more efficient space or paying lower rent (but higher utilities) for a less efficient space. Consequently, some building owners will be incentivized to make their spaces more efficient so that they can command higher rents, thereby increasing the overall energy efficiency of Philadelphia’s commercial properties

One of three sample obstacles to success identified in the report:

High Cost – “In the current market, most retrofits do not pay for themselves within a reasonable amount of time. While the retrofit may increase the value of the building, the rate at which the benefits are capitalized is typically either too low, too slow, or both, for the owner to be incentivized to undertake the retrofit at their own expense.”

The Light Up Philly FIX:

The Light Up Philly commercial lighting initiative, with specifically ‘The Right Discounts’ is a direct response to the High Cost hurdle that to date has stalled the adoption of energy intelligence measures in Greater Philadelphia as well as other cities and regions across the U.S.