Green Buildings

Municipal buildings that excel in energy efficiency and environmental conservation.

In 2009, the city of Philadelphia passed Bill No. 080025, requiring City-owned projects over 10,000 square feet to achieve LEED-silver certification. The ordinance applies to capital projects undertaken by all departments and agencies across the city, including the airport, water department, and public property. Projects that do not fit the criteria laid out in this legislation can choose to meet or exceed this standard. All city construction projects will be encouraged to consider energy efficiency during design initiation.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building rating system for all building, community, and home project types. Projects pursuing LEED certification earn points across several categories, including energy use and air quality. Based on the number of points achieved, a project then earns one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.


ENERGY STAR®  is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions.  ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager normalizes energy usage data for building size, use, and weather. The program compares information to other similar buildings nationwide and calculates a 1-100 ENERGY STAR® score for their facility type.  A score of 75 or above indicates it’s in the top 25 percent compared to other peer facilities in the US and can become ENERGY STAR® certified.


Barry Playground  

People carrying trees at Barry Playground

Barry Playground, located in South Philadelphia, is the first Philadelphia Parks & Recreation building to attempt LEED certification. This 2,700 square foot building which is situated on a full city block includes a pool, playground, and field spaces. In 2015, this building underwent a major renovation transforming a small building into a high-performance public amenity.

The renovation improvements included:

  • Geothermal HVAC system – to reduce energy use from heating and cooling of the building, a geothermal heat pump replaced  baseboard heating and window AC units
  • Improved insulation – the exterior envelope was outfitted with insulation to conserve energy used to heat and cool the building
  • New LED lighting and occupancy sensors – energy-efficient LED bulbs replaced incandescent bulbs and new sensors automate lighting, turning off when not in use
  • Full site stormwater infrastructure – a stormwater infiltration bed was installed to stormwater capture roof rainwater and site run-off from a largely paved site
  • New restrooms – new restrooms improve occupancy comfort
  • Ceiling fans – ceiling fans improve airflow and increase the capacity to heat and cool with building
  • New insulated windows – new windows replaced inoperable ones and increased insulation

And all improvements were finished with non-toxic materials.

The design for the building renovations was initiated by the Department of Public Property Capital Projects team and was coordinated with the Office of Sustainability and the Philadelphia Water Department Office of Watersheds. The full building renovation sets a new example for sustainable city building renovations and cross-departmental cooperation. The success of this pilot project will help to encourage similar renovation projects across the city and will serve as an educational model for the surrounding community. As the first city recreation site to attempt LEED certification, Barry exemplifies how a small urban building can contribute significantly to the neighborhood and its residents.

1800 Bigler St.
Philadelphia, PA 19145

One Parkway Building

ENERGY STAR® Certified

One Parkway Building received the ENERGY STAR® label in 2017 after major retrofits through the Quadplex Guaranteed Energy Savings Project and the Energy Efficiency & Sustainability Fund (EESF).

Improvements include:

  • Upgraded building control systems – Facilities managers can control and automate essential functions of the building for more efficient energy use
  • Improved insulation and weatherization- the exterior envelope was outfitted with insulation to conserve energy used to heat and cool the building
  • Improved lighting – replaced inefficient lighting with CFLs, LEDs, T8s
  • Water conservation – high-efficiency, low-flow plumbing fixtures were installed along with aerators for lavatory and kitchen faucets
  • Steam system insulation
  • High-efficiency air filters and concourse VFDs
  • Concourse area vestibule improvements – reduced the time period automatic doors remain open, provide
    a tighter seal when fully closed, and provide updated
    safety controls

On average, ENERGY STAR® certified buildings and plants use 35 percent less energy, cause 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and are less expensive to operate than their peers—all without sacrifices in performance or comfort. 

1515 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102