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’s long-range plan supports a goal to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions by 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 individual behavior changes and how the built environment is organized. Addressing this issue now as a region will help Greater Philadelphia's long-term economic competitiveness.
Municipal Energy and Emissions Profiles
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.
DVRPC works with municipalities in Southeastern Pennsylvania to identify ways to reduce energy use in buildings, outdoor lighting, and water/sewage treatment facilities.
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 works 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 in their communities.
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 AFVs 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, a report cataloging the challenges and benefits of all available AFVs.
As part of our ongoing work with municipalities, DVRPC has developed tools and resources to assist local governments in analyzing the costs and benefits of retrofitting traffic signals, streetlights, and other outdoor area lighting with more energy efficient technology.
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.
Sea level rise caused by climate change poses serious threats to built and natural environments throughout Greater Philadelphia. More severe storms, increased precipitation, sea level rise, and extreme heat will lead to increased flooding, wetland loss, erosion, short-term drought, heat-related stress, and loss of life and property. Fortunately, adapting to climate change will not require wholesale new efforts. Existing initiatives like smart growth, floodplain management, asset management, and urban greening will make our communities more resilient to climate-related threats. DVRPC is in involved in a number of planning efforts in communities, throughout the region, and with national partners.
There are many resources that address climate change and inform related issues, including greenhouse gas emissions inventories, energy efficiency, alternative energy and fuels, transportation, local action plans, and statewide adaptation plans.