Shoemaker Green is being unveiled today, and it's what Penn President Amy Gutmann calls "the latest step in making Penn the most environmentally sustainable urban campus in the country." The project incorporates a slew of environmentally sustainable elements: a central lawn of fescue (a drought-tolerant durable turf grass); 103 new trees as well as 13 existing mature trees that were saved and protected forming tree-lined walkway; a rain garden, porous pavers, and a 20,000-gallon cistern for rainwater reuse.
Read more about Shoemaker Green and enjoy the space!
Ever wonder what happens to the price of electricity with escalating temperatures and increased demand on the electrical grid? Well, now you can track the wholesale price of electricity on your computer and see in real time how the price of electricity fluctuates with weather, time of day, and overall changes in consumer demand.
The Electricity Price Ticker is a web-based and desktop app to inform consumers of the real-time price of electricity, created by the Penn Institute for Urban Research and PJM Interconnection (the electric grid operator for wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia), along with a group of industry and academic partners. The Electricity Price Ticker can be found on the Penn IUR website and can also be downloaded directly onto your desktop.
Installation is simple: 1) visit http://www.powerisknowledge.com ; 2) click on the download link; 3) open the PJMWidget.zip file; 4) double click and install the PJMTicker.gadget file. After following these steps, the gadget (for Windows 7 and Vista) will appear on your desktop.
The availability of real time information is essential to informing electricity consumers about the market forces that impact price. During this period of energy uncertainty, instability in fuel prices and supplies coupled with an ever increasing demand for energy necessitates unique solutions to ensure the stability of our energy supplies. Part of the solution is making real-time information easily accessible. In proven applications, providing this information to consumers has led to the reduction in the amount of energy used during high-demand periods.
Power is knowledge! Get informed about electricity prices and see how it affects your consumption.
Smart Grid News, an industry leading press, covers Penn IUR and PJM's "Electricity Ticker," which was designed to track wholesale electricity prices in real time and to build consumers' understanding of how power is generated and distributed.
Read more here
Penn Praxis has a plan for adding 500 acres of open green space to Philadelphia in the next four years. The plan is laid forth in Green 2015: An Action Plan for the First 500 Acres, a report commissioned by Philadelphia’s Department of Parks and Recreation and backed by the administration of Mayor Michael Nutter.
The full article appears below with the permission of The Pennsylvania Gazette.
PHILADELPHIA -- Following this week’s release of the Office of the Executive’s “A Policy Framework for the 21st Century Grid,” Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will address Urban Smart Grid and Energy Innovation, a conference organized by the Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) at 6 p.m. today, June 14. Responding to Wellinghoff’s report, panelists will address cutting-edge energy technologies taking hold in cities across the country, including right here in Philadelphia, where the recently announced Energy Conservation and Development Zone will transform how energy is used in Center City. Panelists include Brewster McCracken, executive director of Austin’s Pecan Street Project, one of the most progressive smart grid projects in the country; Audrey Zibelman, president and CEO of Philadelphia’s Viridity Energy, which just last month launched a downtown microgrid project with Philadelphia’s Center City District; and Sara C. Bronin, co-director of the Center for Energy & Environmental Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law, and a leading national thinker in state and federal energy policy.
The discussion will address how smart grids and microgrids hold the key to our country’s downtowns’ energy future. It will explore what new technologies will pave the way for energy use that’s not just smart, but interactive, with people, buildings and grids responding in real time both to human behavior and to energy prices that change by the minute.
Tuesday’s public event will be followed tomorrow by America’s Sustainable Future: How U.S. Cities Are Making Energy Work, an invitational conference of public-private partnership efforts from U.S. cities pursuing innovative energy management and smart grid initiatives. The assembled leaders in industry, research and policy-making will explore the diverse energy strategies emerging in Philadelphia and across the United States.
Featured speakers include Mayor Michael Nutter, City of Philadelphia; Stockton Williams, U.S. Department of Energy; Paul Levy, Philadelphia Center City District; Mark Hura, General Electric; Wayne Gardner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission; Mark Alan Hughes, PennDesign/Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster; Bracken Hendricks, Center for American Progress; Brewster McCracken, Pecan Street Project.
“We’re really looking forward to both learning from the great examples set by other cities represented in the conference, and showing off the groundbreaking work happening right here in Philadelphia,” says Laurie Actman, Viridity Energy’s director of strategic partnerships and public policy. “With smart ideas and smart policy, we should be able to build support for smart grid projects and microgrids at the federal, state and local level.”
"Energy technology is changing at such a rapid pace, it's crucial to examine who's doing it right in smart grid and microgrid projects all around the country," says Eugenie Birch, Penn IUR co-director. "With the right policy moves—which we'll be exploring at the conference—Philadelphia can be a national leader in energy innovation," noted Susan Wachter, Penn IUR co-director.
Penn IUR and PennDesign celebrate the 41st annivesary of Earth Day with the release The Penn Resolution, A Landmark Sustainabilty Manifesto to Guide the Training of 21st Century Urban Designers
Philadelphia, PA– The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) and PennDesign celebrate Earth Day with the release of The Penn Resolution: Educating Urban Designers for Post-Carbon Cities, a richly illustrated roadmap to guide 21st century urban design education.
The Penn Resolution contributes to the field's rich heritage of manifestos. Each manifesto, in its own era, has transformed urban design practice by offering timely responses to changing social, economic, and environmental conditions.
The Penn Resolution's sharp focus on sustainability frames clear principles for educating designers, both in school and in practice, to shrink the carbon footprint of the urban world. Its inventive integration of text and imagery — apt quotations, exemplary projects — illustrates the translation of the principles into new ideas, approaches, and connections.
The Penn Resolution highlights the challenges posed by changing climate patterns and diminishing supplies of inexpensive oil and outlines the skills that both new and practicing urban designers will need to meet these challenges. An essay places the book in historical context, discussing the use of manifestos throughout the history of urban design.
With the issuing of the Penn Resolution, Gary Hack, Dean Emeritus of PennDesign, observes that “over half the world’s population now lives in cities, a percentage that will increase to two-thirds in the next two decades." The Penn Resolution answers an urgent need to rethink urban design education. He warns: “If we are going to meet the dual challenges of reducing our over-reliance on oil and reversing the growth of carbon emissions, we are going to have to design cities differently. That means acquiring new knowledge and skills.”
A PDF of the book can be viewed or downloaded for free below. Readers will also have an opportunity to buy a softcover book online in early May. Details will be posted on the Penn IUR website when available.
The Penn Resolution was developed by attendees of the Re-Imagining Cities: Urban Design After the Age of Oil conference hosted by Penn IUR and PennDesign. The conference and publication were made possible with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.
To download full .pdf, select the "View on Slideshare" option in the lower left of the window above.
A collection of working papers that were solicited after the conference are available here>>
Testimony prepared for
“STATE OF THE HOUSING MARKET”
MARCH 9TH, 2011
COMMITTEE ON BANKING, HOUSING, AND URBAN AFFAIRS
Will the housing market ever hit bottom? We’ll look at still-sinking home prices in Seattle and Atlanta, and White House plans to wind down market makers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Earlier last year, the federal government awarded $129 million to the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC), an array of academic institutions, laboratories, industry partners and regional economic development agencies, to spend the next five years researching how to make buildings more energy efficient. The Penn Institute for Urban Research — and the larger Penn community — will be among the key players in launching this energy efficiency hub, one of eight national Energy Research Innovation Cluster initiatives sprouting up around the country.
While the Penn State-led larger project, known as the “GPIC Hub,” will aim to improve building energy savings by 50 percent by 2013-2015, Penn IUR’s work will focus on creating a repository of policy and practice that both inventories current energy policies and lays out what new policies will be needed in order to reach efficiency goals. Penn IUR will work most directly with researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, and United Technologies Research Center, who will assist in providing both technical expertise to the repository construction and case studies to populate the repository.
The extent of Penn’s GPIC effort, coordinated by architecture and city planning professor Mark Alan Hughes (see Faculty Profile, p. 10), includes researchers from across the university, including the School of Design, the Wharton School, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the T.C. Chan Center, and the Wharton Small Business Development Center.
The grants were covered extensively in both The New York Times (“Build ’Em and They’ll Come,” by Thomas Friedman, Oct. 12, 2010) and The Philadelphia Inquirer (“Penn State to lead ‘energy innovation hub’ at Navy Yard,” by Susan Snyder and Jane M. Von Bergen, Aug. 25, 2010). In the Times Friedman wrote: “The idea behind the hubs, explained [Energy Secretary Steven] Chu, is to ‘capture the same spirit’ that produced radar and the first nuclear bomb … That is, ‘get Nobel Prize winners in physics working side by side with engineers’ — not to produce an academic paper but ‘to solve a problem in a way that will actually be deployed’ and do it much faster than the traditional academic model of everyone working in their own silo.”
The first year of the grant focuses on the retrofit of the Navy Yard’s Building 661, a former athletic facility last used back in the mid-’90s. The space, which includes an emptied pool, a basketball court, and locker rooms, looks frozen in time — a kind of postapocalyptic ghost building from which a whole town just up and left one day. As retrofit efforts commence in the first year, 661 will be converted into a mixture of office and commercial space that becomes the first central building in the GPIC Hub. Over the next five years of the grant, researchers will be able to play with energy delivery systems and demand response pricing on the Navy Yard’s isolated energy grid — a geographical and infrastructural feature that gave GPIC a leg up in the grant competition. As a pilot project, Penn IUR will be partnering with Viridity Energy and the Center City District to put on a conference this spring about energy provision in downtown microgrids (see sidebar, left).
As the 661 retrofit moves forward, Penn IUR will need to collaborate with virtually all of the different GPIC partners. The repository falls under the “Policy, Markets and Behavior” team, which is one of seven larger tasks within the GPIC Hub. The others deal with 1) management of the entire project; 2) tools for integrated design, verification, and modeling; 3) controls, components, subsystems and integrated building-level systems, performance monitoring, and diagnostic systems; 4) education and workforce development; 5) deployment and commercialization of the project; and 6) reporting progress back to the Department of Energy (DOE), where the grant originated. Since nearly all of these tasks touch policy in some way, Penn IUR will be working with all of the different member and partner organizations to craft a repository that is both useful and comprehensive, where researchers can both put information in and take information out, and where the public can access new knowledge generated at the Hub.
If the Hub is able to achieve its short-term goals of 50 percent building operational energy savings — and can do it in a way that is scalable, repeatable, and cost-effective — the DOE will be well on its way to its desire to reduce the annual energy use of buildings by 80 percent in the year 2050. And with a project as far-reaching and high-profile as the GPIC, both Philadelphia and the Penn Institute for Urban Research will stand to be at the forefront of energy efficiency research for building retrofits.