This site is part of the Informa Connect Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

November 12-15, 2024
Pennsylvania Convention CenterPhiladelphia, PA

Greenbuild Blog

Five Sustainability Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Philadelphia

By Nick Vener

May 22, 2024

As Greenbuild heads to Philadelphia this November 12-15, 2024, for another unforgettable green building event, we’re diving into the city’s environmental and sustainability history, including facts that you may not have known about our next host city.

Philadelphia has made significant progress in promoting green living, eco-friendly practices, and preserving its natural resources since the 1700s. From water management to carbon reduction, Philadelphia has developed momentum as the city pushes for a sustainable, equitable future.

Below are five sustainability facts about Philadelphia that you might not have known.

#1. The Philadelphia Energy Campaign aims to invest $1 billion in energy efficiency and clean energy projects.

According to Philadelphia’s City Council, the Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) spurred $89.6 million in clean energy investments and created 771 local jobs in 2022.

This progress keeps the city on track to meet its goal of investing $1 billion in energy efficiency and clean energy projects to create 10,000 jobs over the next ten years.

#2. Philadelphia has a goal to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

The State and Local Planning for Energy (SLOPE) Platform is working with the city of Philadelphia in their quest to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Philadelphia, along with many other cities, experiences inequitable access to clean energy benefits, and the sustainability office is determined to address the problem, and work towards a solution to make clean energy more accessible.

#3. Philadelphia is home to the first urban water fund in the United States.

The city established the Philadelphia Water Department's Green City, Clean Waters program, which focused on green stormwater infrastructure to manage stormwater sustainably.

Dating back to the late 1700s, Philadelphia was a pioneer for municipal water supply, leading to cleaner and more efficient water management. After planning and building, the city introduced water-wheel systems by the early 1800s, which moved the city away from the steam engines that used wood-fired boilers, saving the city trees and carbon emissions.

#4. Philadelphia’s TreePhilly program helps Philly residents plant and care for native trees.

Launched in response to the Office of Sustainability’s Greenworks Plan, TreePhilly strives to reach 30% tree canopy coverage in every Philadelphia neighborhood. TreePhilly helps residents connect with the resources to plant and care for the Philadelphia urban forest.

The program has planted over 21,500 trees, which contribute to improved air quality, reduced stormwater runoff, and enhanced urban biodiversity.

#5. Philadelphia's Climate Action Playbook outlines strategies to address climate change.

In 2021, Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability released a Climate Action Playbook detailing a step-by-step guide for how the city plans to address climate change.

According to, the Playbook is “a one-stop resource for anyone interested in learning more about City climate action, how climate change will impact Philadelphia, where our carbon pollution comes from, and where we need to go further to achieve our goals.”

You can download Philadelphia’s Climate Action Playbook here.

About the Author

Nick Vener is a Marketing Manager for the Greenbuild International Conference + Expo and a LEED Green Associate. He focuses on digital and content marketing for Greenbuild, concentrating on sustainability and the green building space.