Guide to a Sustainable Philadelphia

Climate change is here and it’s affecting all of us. Scientists predict that as climate change proceeds, Philadelphia and the Mid Atlantic region will get hotter and wetter. Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is essential if we are to slow the pace of climate change. There are many changes we can all make in our daily habits that will lessen our environmental impact and allow us to live more economically and environmentally sustainable lives. This guide is designed to help you find the information you need to make changes to decrease your environmental footprint while improving your comfort and health. Living sustainably does not mean sacrificing things you love, indeed, it preserves them.

The Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) has been helping people save energy and save money for over 30 years. We work in the homes of Philadelphians, on their roofs, in their basements, and under their floors, all while training folks from all walks of life for green jobs in the green economy.

With support from the Wells Fargo Foundation, and all the organizations that helped to edit the content, ECA offers this Guide as an introduction to help Philadelphians become more sustainable. In recent years, the city has taken great strides toward sustainability. As we have become a more energy efficient and greener city, with an even stronger public transportation system, we have also increased in population and improved our quality of life. Each chapter of this guide provides basic, practical steps you can take immediately as well as listing resources to explore for next steps. 

This guide is just a starting point. Please let us know what you like about the guide, what we got right and what we missed. Your feedback is key to improving it.

We hope this will be the first edition of an ever- evolving, ever-improving guide to a More Sustainable Philadelphia. Chapters below:

1. Save Energy at Home

2. Solar Energy

3. Stormwater Management

4. Water Conservation

5. Transportation

6. Recycling

7. Urban Gardening

8. Local Consumption 

9. Health and Climate Change

For more information on how to lessen the levels and impact of climate change, visit

There are many changes we can collectively take in order to improve the state of our current and future environment.  Whether you improve the energy efficiency of your home, install a solar system, grow your own food, install a rain barrel, or simply fix a leaky faucet, there are numerous practical methods that will save you energy and money, keep you healthier, while also saving our earth.

Philadelphia  publishing its first ever Climate Aadaptation Plan in the winter 2015. The Mayor's Office of Sustainability hosts it here:

On behalf of the Energy Coordinating Agency, we would like to thank you for taking the time to read through this Guide to Sustainability that we have written to help fellow Philadelphians combat climate change in our own homes and throughout our daily lives.  We hope that this is a useful tool in guiding you in the right direction towards a more sustainable lifestyle.  Please let us know what you think and how we might improve on it.

Thanks to the Wells Fargo Foundation for making this Guide possible.

Have feedback? Direct your questions, concerns, proposed links/language to add, stories of usage, and any other commentary to Thomas Flaherty at