Climate Justice in Philadelphia: House by House, Block by Block

October 11, 2022
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Virtual Zoom
Click the link to join on Tuesday!
Organizer Penn Engineering

Weatherizing low-income homes has long been standard practice in Philadelphia with strong policy support. Service delivery systems have been refined over decades of in-field implementation. A nascent industry has matured, and an organizational infrastructure has been built that reaches into low-income neighborhoods, does workshops about how to save energy in the home, and signs up eligible residents for weatherization and energy assistance programs. Homes get weatherized, energy bills get reduced, and fewer households are faced with “heat or eat” decisions.

New challenges and opportunities lie ahead in this domain. Federal funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program increased tenfold in the Infrastructure and Jobs Investment Act of 2021. ECA currently weatherizes 400 homes a year; what will it take to increase this number to 4,000?  Workforce development will be critical. Through its Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) courses, Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships is working the School District of Philadelphia to connect graduating high school seniors with training programs and entry-level green jobs.

Weatherization has also demonstrated health benefits. New funding streams from the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP) for innovative Health Service Initiatives offer the possibility of having weatherization providers incorporate healthy home repairs such as mold remediation, lead abatement, asbestos removal, and integrated pest management with the suite of energy efficiency measures currently delivered. Issues on the horizon for ECA include switching homes from gas heat to zero-carbon alternatives (are heat pumps a solution?), and with heat waves increasing in frequency and duration, what’s the best strategy to keep homes cool in the summer? Excessive heat has major health impacts, especially for elder populations.

Please join Dr. Andrew Huemmler, Senior Lecturer, School of Engineering & Applied Science in conversation with Steve Luxton, the Executive Director of the Energy Coordinating Agency of Philadelphia, Sara Hayes, the Director of Health and Environment at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and Alina Ho from the Netter Center for Community Partnerships to discuss what’s ahead for weatherization, a form of climate justice that can be delivered to many of the 300,000 rowhomes in Philadelphia, the poorest of America’s ten largest cities.


Andy Huemmler

Andrew Huemmler

Senior Lecturer School of Engineering and Applied Science

Dr. Huemmler worked for Exelon and its predecessor, PECO Energy, for 20 years. He started his career at PECO as an energy conservation analyst and finished at Exelon's Power Team as a senior power transactor buying and selling electricity in wholesale power markets. He was a member of the New England Power Pool's Transmission Operations Committee and participated in the rulemaking process which created electricity markets in the northeast U.S. Prior to joining PECO Energy, Andy worked in the City of Philadelphia's Energy Office during Mayor William J. Green III’s administration. He authored an Energy Emergency Operations Plan for the City of Philadelphia and implemented the City's first neighborhood-based energy education program. Early in his career, Andy worked for a small hydropower developer and the Philadelphia Water Department, was elected to the Board of Directors of the Queen Village Neighbors Association for eight years and served as a Democratic committeeman in Philadelphia’s 2nd Ward. Currently he is on the Board of Directors of the Energy Coordinating Agency of Philadelphia having served as Board President from 2014-2017. ECA provides community-based energy efficiency services and assistance to low-income families in Philadelphia, the poorest of America’s ten largest cities.

Sara Hayes

Sara Hayes

Director, Health and Environment American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

Sara Hayes leads ACEEE's work related to health and the environment. Her research focuses on the human health impacts of energy efficiency in buildings and on the air quality effects of saving energy. Sara manages the health and environment program and oversees research focused on identifying opportunities to use energy efficiency to reduce pollution and improve human health. She is a licensed attorney in the state of New York and serves on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee. Sara joined ACEEE in 2010.

Steve Luxton

Steve Luxton

Executive Director and CEO The Energy Coordinating Agency of Philadelphia