Two more buildings get greener

Mercy  Philadelphia Hospital, built in 1918 no less, has received an Energy Star rating from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for energy efficiency.  It signifies that the building performs in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide.

Here are some of the ways they did it:

• Replaced various equipment with more efficient models.

• Programmed fans throughout the hospital to shut down at various times throughout the evening.

• Developed a daily patient room repair program to identify and repair steam leaks and lowe water usage.

• Replaced all exit lights with new LEDs. Installed light sensors, timers, photo light controls, and motion sensors throughout the hospital.

• Established an Energy Conservation Team made up of facility personnel utilizing the phrase “Turn It Off, Turn It Off, Turn It Off.” 

Meanwhile, the Crane Arts Building in Kensington is turning it on -- the building's new solar panels are being unveiled Feb. 24 with a "Flip the Switch" gala.

Solar States, a power purchase agreement firm that built the 81 kw array -- 450 solar panels on the roof -- boasts it is the largest in the city and will power all the building's needs. It took $500,000 in private investment and matching grants from state and federal partners.

Typical of such power purchase agreements, Solar States will own the array, selling the power back to the Crane at a reduced rate and funneling any additional power into the local power grid. Solar States projects that the agreement will save the Crane 20 percent over PECO rates.

“Our mission is point-of-use solar, which is distinctly different from solar arrays outside of the city, in fields somewhere. It is possibly the most overlooked piece of our energy portfolio because there is so much space in cities,” said Solar States CEO Micah Gold-Markel in a press release.

“When you produce your energy on-site, you are doing it the most efficient way possible because you are not losing any energy through long-haul transmissions over transformers," he said. "The Crane provided an excellent location because of the size of its roof and the commitment of its ownership to sustainability. The ownership structure here has been an excellent partner to us all through this process.”