Energy and Climate Change Initiatives

DVRPC's Office of Energy and Climate Change Initiatives leads, supports, and coordinates efforts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in our region. DVRPC supports a goal to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2035, which will put our region on track to achieve the latest scientific recommendation of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a reduction necessary to keep the impacts of global climate change within an acceptable range.

Achieving this goal relies on a combination of energy efficiency, conservation, cleaner energy sources and changes in the way we organize our lives.

DVRPC firmly believes addressing this issue now as a region will help our region's long-term economic competitiveness.

This program area currently encompasses the following major tasks:

  • Regional greenhouse gas inventory, allocated to counties and municipalities.
  • Provide tools and technical support to counties and municipalities in measuring and reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Integrate climate change and energy concerns throughout DVRPC activities.
  • Incorporating energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions into DVRPC's Long-Range Plan
  • Sea level rise planning
  • Preparing the region for alternative energy

Regional Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

Tracking energy use, energy expenditures, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is the first step in developing informed regional and local policies to increase energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions. DVRPC periodically inventories our region's energy consumption, energy expenditures, and GHG emissions. This inventory is allocated to the region's counties and municipalities. DVRPC's most recent inventory is for calendar year 2010 (the most recent year for which all data are available), and updates a baseline inventory for 2005. A map-based web tool provides users with a multi-page summary of energy use and GHG emissions for any municipality in the region.

Circuit Rider for Energy Efficiency in Local Government Operations

DVRPC's Circuit Rider for Energy Efficiency in Local Government Operations (Circuit Rider) program offers no-cost assistance to local governments in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties to reduce energy costs in their municipal buildings, outdoor lighting, water/sewage treatment facilities, and vehicle fleets.

Preparing the Region for Renewable Energy

Renewable energy sources are expected to play an increasingly important role in the future of our region's energy mix. DVRPC's Office of Energy and Climate Change Initiatives supports the safe and sound development of renewable energy in our region. Through Solar Ready II, DVRPC will work with municipalities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to understand and implement best management practices that help reduce the "soft costs" of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. DVRPC's Renewable Energy Ordinance Frameworks serve as a resource for municipalities as they develop and update ordinances to govern the siting of small-scale renewable energy systems (including solar photovoltaic, small wind <100kW, and geothermal) in their communities. Learn more about Solar Ready II and how you can participate.

Integrate Energy and Climate Change Concerns Throughout DVRPC Activities

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy use are key concerns and outcomes of many activities at DVRPC. DVRPC's Office of Energy and Climate Change Initiatives will work with staff to integrate climate change and energy concerns into all appropriate aspects of DVRPC's work. This might include, for example, evaluating the greenhouse gas emission and energy usage implications of various TIP projects or assuring that projects are designed and planned taking climate change impacts into account. In addition, this effort will work to elevate the positive implications for greenhouse gas reductions and energy conservation associated with long-standing DVRPC goals, such as brownfield development, ozone reduction, and transit-oriented development.

Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Reductions Incorporated into DVRPC's Long-Range Plan

DVRPC's Long Range Plan, Connections 2040 Plan for Greater Philadelphia , approved by DVRPC's Board in July 2013, identifies Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions as one of the key goals critical to realizing a sustainable future for our region. In the plan, DVRPC outlines a regional target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2040.

Sea Level Rise Planning and Climate Ready Estuaries

Climate change and sea level rise pose serious threats to human and natural communities that are likely to materialize regardless of the success of greenhouse gas mitigation efforts. DVRPC is working with its regional partners - through such programs as the EPA-sponsored Climate Ready Estuaries initiative - to begin the process of assessing and adapting to sea level rise impacts to reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities and natural ecosystems to the worst impacts of climate change. DVRPC published Sea Level Rise Impacts in the Delaware Estuary of Pennsylvania to motivate decision makers to consider the impacts of sea level rise on tidal wetlands, water quality, and coastal redevelopment efforts. Recently, DVRPC co-authored a nationwide study analyzing both the likelihood of shoreline protection and the impacts of shoreline protection efforts on tidal wetland migration.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) use combinations of vehicle fuels and technologies to reduce the use of petroleum in on-road vehicles. These include low-carbon fuels (sometimes blended with petroleum), electricity, and hybrid technologies combining internal combustion engines with electric motors. DVRPC has conducted several projects related to Alternative Fuel Vehicles in the DVRPC Region. These projects include Ready to Roll! Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Regional Electric Vehicle Action Plan( Ready to Roll!),the Pennsylvania Partnership to Promote Natural Gas Vehicles, and a report cataloging the challenges and benefits of all available alternative fuel vehicles ( "Ready to Roll?: Overview of Challenges and Opportunities for Alternative Fuel Vehicles in the Delaware Valley").

Energy-Efficient Traffic Signals and Streetlights

This page includes resources and funding opportunities available to local governments in the region who are seeking to retrofit traffic signals, streetlights, and other outdoor area lighting with more energy efficient technology. DVRPC has developed tools and resources to assist local governments in analyzing the costs and benefits of these types of retrofits.

Profiles in Energy Efficiency

Throughout the region, schools, local governments, businesses, and residents are realizing considerable financial benefits by integrating energy efficiency into their operations and decision making. DVRPC's Profiles in Energy Efficiency series of case studies profile cost-effective and replicable energy-efficiency projects in the Greater Philadelphia region. These profiles not only highlight the projects in large, commercial buildings, but also include work done by homeowners, and by government municipalities in schools, libraries, and for street lights and traffic signals.


This page includes resources that address and inform climate change and related issues, including greenhouse gas emissions inventories, energy efficiency, alternative energy and fuels, transportation, local action plans, and statewide adaptation plans