Green awards: Some WOW! projects

There were 70 nominations, a dozen finalists, and now, the five winners of the Philadelphia sustainability awards sponsored by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council are:

Bob Pierson for Farm to City: Pierson works to connect the region’s farmers with customers, and he does it through farmers’ markets and CSA — for community supported agriculture — farms, which typically have members that pay a fee and collect produce weekly. This season Farm to City will operate 15 farmers’ markets, including two new ones at 15th & JFK Blvd Plaza plus 10th and Chestnut.

Energy Coordinating Agency: Established by Liz Robertson in 1984, the ECA provides about $21 million a year in home heating, weatherization and other energy assistance. It also has significantly expanded and now provides energy conservation services. It also offers training for architects, builders and home energy field inspectors.

Eagles Go Green: You’ve probably seen one of their signs at the football games: “When we recycle, everybody wins.” Launched in 2003, it was Christina Lurie’s mission to reduce the footprint of the team. Did they ever. The team instituted recycling programs, installed solar panels on the headquarters building, began buying enough renewable energy to power all functions, began planting a forest in Bucks County, switched to non-toxic chemicals for the fields, made bio-diesel from cooking fats in the team’s kitchens and more.

Schuylkill Banks Greenway:   Surely you’ve seen it. Maybe you’ve been there. It’s the 1.2-mile stretch (so far) of green along the river from Locust Street to MLK Blvd. It’s been transformed from an abandoned mess into a destination that attracts 16,000 people a week. It’s been described as “an alternative transportation corridor, urban wildlife habitat, pollution management plan, and community asset that unites diverse Philadelphians.” It’s a project of the city, Fairmount Park and the Schuylkill River Development Corporation.

Onion Flats (Thin Flats):  This nine-unit residential development in Northern Liberties is a trophy among trophies, the first LEED platinum duplexes in the country. Platinum is the top level in the U.S. Green Building Council’s program. The idea is to show that “green” design is good design that isn’t necessarily more expensive and isn’t weird, just common sense.

The winners were announced last night at a ceremony at the Philadelphia Flower Show, and they’re all explained in more detail at

The nominees and finalists are listed there, too. Take a look. It’s inspiring. Indeed, taken together, the nominees illustratate a “green groundswell” in the  region, according to the PEC. “This year's finalists demonstrate the breadth of initiative to make Philadelphia the greenest city in America,” Patrick Starr, vice president of the southeast region of PEC, said in a statement.

The award program is done in collaboration with the city,  the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, PennFuture, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, The Reinvestment Fund, and Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.