City of Philadelphia Honored by the White House as a ‘Champion of Change’

Investing in American innovation and ingenuity is crucial to winning the jobs and industries of the future. Which is why the White House highlighted communities who have embraced innovative clean energy as an economic driver. These Champions of Change have already taken big steps to help create a secure energy future and reach the President’s goal of reducing the amount of imported oil by one-third in the coming years while creating jobs and growing the economy.

For the issue of Clean Energy, Philadelphia and Miami, FL, were the only two cities honored for their commitment to sustainable energy–the other five honorees were individuals from across the U.S. In attendance, on behalf of Philadelphia, were Katherine Gajewski, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Clarena Tolson, Commissioner of the City’s Streets Department, and Steve Buckley, Deputy Commissioner of the Streets Dept.

Philadelphia was selected and honored for its use of a portion of its EECBG grant, to change out over 50,000 traffic bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs and save $1 million per year in energy savings.

Katherine Gajewski is responsible for the implementation of Greenworks Philadelphia, the city’s sustainability framework unveiled by Mayor Nutter in April 2009. The framework sets goals in five areas — energy, environment, equity, economy and engagement — and encompasses more than 150 achievable, measurable initiatives. Implementation of these initiatives will reduce the city’s vulnerability to rising energy prices, limit its environmental footprint, and reposition its workforce and job development strategies to build upon Philadelphia’s competitive advantages in the emerging green economy. As Streets Commissioner, Clarena Tolson is responsible for the overall implementation of the City’s LED program. Steve Buckley was the project manager for the City’s LED program.

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