In Queen Village, a number of neighbors are benefitting from the City’s Energy Works program.

When members of the Queen Village Neighbors Association (QVNA) learned the City was offering a program that cut the cost of energy audits in half, they jumped at the opportunity to arrange a program for their community. “You can pretty quickly make a decision about if you wanna improve your house and where to put your money,” said Ed Bell, chair of QVNA’s sustainability committee, also an architect.

Image from the Energy Audit Institute

Energy audits are conducted by engineers that analyze building conditions in order to produce a report that measures energy efficiency. They check for things like infiltration, a measurement of how leaky the windows or roof might be. A 2011 New York Times article reported that a study that analyzed 19,000 affordable housing units in apartment buildings that were retrofitted with sustainable elements resulted in a 19 percent change in savings in fuel bills and 10 percent savings on electricity.

Members of QVNA’s sustainability committee had been discussing offering energy audits with community members but the $600 cost was prohibitive for many. When they learned about the City’s program, they contacted the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, applied for and were approved for the discounts.

Recently audited, but in a good way

A historic house located at 223 Monroe St. is one of the first homes audited through the program. Look for more civic organizations around the city to take advantage of this program. If that happens, Philadelphia could really start to make a dent in its total energy use, a cause we can all get behind.

–Lou Mancinelli