Wednesday, February 10, 2016


POSTED: Thursday, July 25, 2013, 5:55 PM
Filed Under: Hearth | Tech
Conference attendee Alison sits beside her hand-painted rain barrel. (Photo courtesy ECA)

Here's another update from the Energy Coordinating Agency, this time bringing you more information than you thought you needed about rain barrels, courtesy of ECA's Matthew Wilk.

I had been working with Liz Robinson, Executive Director of the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA)  and a few other ECA staff members  to coordinate displays for “The Art and Science of Rain Barrels”; an exhibit at the Environmental Protection Agency to raise awareness on the importance of managing storm water in Philadelphia.

 I was expecting a small, intimate gathering with just a handful of people, so when I walked into a room filled with teachers, children, artists, community members and executives of non-profits, all mingling and reading information on rain barrels, I was quite surprised! It was really incredible seeing people from all different walks of life all gathered together for a single cause.

POSTED: Saturday, June 22, 2013, 9:20 PM
Filed Under: Advice | Hearth | Policy
Workers from EarthTech out of Ocean View, NJ drill and drive foundation piling at a new construction homesite on the bay in Ocean City June 4, 2013. Post-Sandy construction guidelines suggest pilings instead of blocks, even in “A” flood zones like this which are not subject to the same direct wave impact as in the "V" Zone (Velocity Zone) ( TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer )

Earth to Philly presents another update from our partners at the Energy Coordinating Agency:

With summer rolling in, thoughts turn to the beach, backyard barbecues and warm summer nights with friends and family. This summer though, we’re also remembering that Hurricane Sandy hit 8 months ago and thousands of people are still rebuilding their homes and communities.

We are glad to have some good news to share with you about the Sandy Recovery effort.  New Jersey’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has unrolled the reNew Jersey Stronger program, which provides up to $150,000 in grants for qualified homeowners to retrofit and rebuild their homes to an acceptable energy standard.

Vance Lehmkuhl @ 9:20 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Saturday, May 11, 2013, 10:10 PM
Filed Under: Advice | Hearth | Policy

Here's another update from the Energy Coordinating Agency.

Will 2013 be the Best Year Yet to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency?

 Now that spring has sprung, things are really looking bright for home energy efficiency in the Philadelphia region.  The EnergyWorks Program has been extended through September of 2013 by DOE.  Starting on April 1st  the first six monthly payments of the EnergyWorks loan are on the house!   As if that’s not enough, both PGW and PECO are getting ready to announce new rebates that are bigger and better than ever.   EnergyWorks, the region’s whole house energy efficiency program has already helped more than 1,400 area homeowners save energy and increase the comfort of their homes.  EnergyWorks will save homeowners millions of dollars over the life of the improvements.

Vance Lehmkuhl @ 10:10 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, April 22, 2013, 12:39 PM
Filed Under: Advice | Food | Hearth | Policy | Tech | Trends

Frances Moore Lappe kicked off a whole subgenre of ecolocgy literature with her beststilling Diet for a Small Planet in 1971. The book challenged assumptions about the redistribution of food and how people's everyday actions might impact the global picture. Her latest, EcoMind, is a book devoted to overcoming mental habits that become obstacles to sustainable progress, and it's just out in paperback. We spoke by phone a few days ago.

Earth to Philly: When you originally wrote Diet for a Small Planet you were pulling together a lot of info on food and economics that people hadn't examined to such an extent. Did you see your main mission as conveying this data or changing the way people were thinking about these problems?

Frances Moore Lappe: I would say the latter, although I wouldn't have had that phrase then. But I was sitting in the U.C.-Berkeley library with my dad's slide rule, putting numbers together while the headlines were blaring to us that the world is running out of food famine is inevitable, scarcity is the cause of hunger, and my youthful intuition was that if I could just figure food out -- food is so basic, if we can't figure out why we're not feeding ourselves, all of us, that's a problem -- if I could just figure that one out then that would unlock the mysteries of economics and politics for me.

So I started with that one question, why are people hungry? Is it true that we're running out of food? And within a few months of putting the numbers together I had this shocking moment when I realized that we were actually creating scarcity out of plenty - that there was more than enough for all of us, but we had created this incredibly inefficient food system because the concentration of wealth and power meant that people couldn't buy the food they needed and it got diverted into feed -- and now, of course, into fuel -- and so today we have 20 to 30 percent more food for each of us, and yet there are as many people hungry today as there were when I wrote Diet for a Small Planet.

Vance Lehmkuhl @ 12:39 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 6:31 PM
Filed Under: Hearth | Policy

Guest post by the Energy Coordinating Agency.

The Philadelphia History Museum’s Philadelphia Voices Community History Gallery is now featuring an exhibit on The Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA)!

ECA has worked to transform homes and neighborhoods into sustainable, affordable and healthy environments for almost 30 years, saving energy and water, using the best techniques and technologies available, and training thousands of men and women for the clean energy economy.

Vance Lehmkuhl @ 6:31 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, May 17, 2012, 11:16 AM
Filed Under: Hearth | Trends

Experts from EnergyWorks, which helps homeowners make their homes more energy-efficient, will chat live today starting at 12:30 p.m. On a mobile phone? Click here to join the chat.

Vance Lehmkuhl @ 11:16 AM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 11:57 AM
Filed Under: Hearth | Policy | Trends
Photo courtesy of the TreePhilly web site.

Does this happen to you? I sometimes go past a corner in Roxborough and think, something's wrong. This doesn't look right. At first I may not be able to put my finger on it, but then I realize that a big tree that used to be part of the scenery has been cut down. The scene now has too much sky, and less character than before.

As trees age, cutting them down does sometimes become necessary. And I hope the ones involved were removed for reasons of health and safety rather than commercial expediency. But either way, we need to be sure we're keeping up on the other end, planting new trees that will help beautify our neighborhoods in addition to other benefits (like, you know, oxygen).

If you have space in your yard for a tree, you have until the end of the month to apply for a free one from TreePhilly. Here's the key pitch from their press release.

Vance Lehmkuhl @ 11:57 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, March 9, 2012, 4:17 PM
Filed Under: Hearth | Policy
An artist's rendering of the new Penn's Landing is part of a detailed Philadelphia master plan that would reshape the central Delaware riverfront as the flagship of a 21st-century lifestyle city. (KieranTimberlake, Brooklyn Digital)

Here is today's Editorial from the Daily News about a victory for fans of the Delaware waterfront.

THE SYMBOL of our squandered, inaccessible Delaware waterfront is not so much the presence of the big-box stores like Walmart, but what lies directly behind Walmart: a hurricane fence plastered with large "No Trespassing" signs (and plastered, as well, with trash). That fence and those signs say everything about how we have, until recently, treated one of the city's great treasures, especially people's access to that treasure.

Slowly but surely, that began to change five years ago, when thousands of citizens participated in creating a new master plan for the central Delaware waterfront, which in turn has led to new trails, a new park, and plans for much more. Last week that very parcel behind Walmart was acquired for a new wetlands park with a $1.25 million grant from the state's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (and a donation from the property's owners). The park's plan and creation will be overseen by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, which acts as the steward of the waterfront.

Sandra Shea @ 4:17 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to

Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.

Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.

Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.

Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.

Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...

Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.

Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.

Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.

In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man

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