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KYW Regional Affairs Council

“Growing A Green Economy”

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia area lost thousands of jobs in the transition from a manufacturing economy to a service economy.  But now, a new economic transition is taking place — the conversion to a green economy.

And a major new project promises to put the region in the “win” column this time around.

If the film The Graduate were being made today, that one word of advice offered to Dustin Hoffman’s character probably wouldn’t be “plastics” — it would more likely be “energy.”

Finding alternatives to polluting, expensive oil — and finding ways to use less energy — have become major economic forces.

And in that latter category, Philadelphia is poised to become not just a national leader but a global leader.

knapp christine side loeb Part 3:  One Major Boost For Our Region

(Christine Knapp of GPIC. Credit: Pat Loeb)

“We’ve been hosting probably one international delegation a week, so there’s a lot of interest, especially from the Chinese,” says Christine Knapp (right), spokesperson for the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy-Efficient Buildings (“GPIC”) — one of just three federal Energy Department research hubs in the country.

GPIC, located at the former Navy Yard in South Philadelphia, is receiving $130 million to come up with ways to cut in half the energy used by buildings.

“It really is a game-changer for Philadelphia, and for the region potentially, in that it is going to become a hub of activity,” Knapp says.  “There’s research, deployment, job growth…”

GPIC will develop and test ways to retrofit old buildings for energy savings, affordably.

Knapp says one reason that Philadelphia beat out all the other cities competing for the project is its location at the Navy Yard.

“It’s a playground for us,” she says.  “It’s 270 buildings that we can actually play with.”

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gpic hq at navy yard loeb Part 3:  One Major Boost For Our Region

(GPIC's headquarters is a retrofitted building at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Credit: Pat Loeb)


But that’s not all:  “The Navy Yard has its own electrical power grid, so we can play with smart grid technologies.”

And Knapp says having GPIC, in turn, is helping the Navy Yard attract business and, yes, green jobs.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060

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