Implementation of the CAP

Energy Star Ordinance
February 2008: The Borough of West Chester, Pennsylvania, has become the first known municipality in the country where, by law, private commercial buildings must be designed to earn the ENERGY STAR, thanks to a new ordinance passed unanimously by the municipality’s Borough Council. According to the new ordinance, a developer who is required to seek a “conditional-use” approval for a project must design the building(s) to meet the energy performance goals of the ENERGY STAR program. One year after operation, the building owner must assess energy use and apply for the ENERGY STAR label. In West Chester, conditional-use approvals are required for buildings higher than 45 feet.

Download the full press release (PDF) for more information.

Green Home Guide
December 2008: The objective of this guide is to help improve the energy efficiency of our homes and the things in it that use electricity. It does so by showing where the average home uses and loses the most energy; by showing where your home ranks in terms of energy efficiency; and, most importantly, by showing how to lower your energy use and utility bills.

A workshop was held at the Chester County Historical Society in December of 2008, you can download the version of the booklet that was handed out (PDF).

WCBLUER.ORG
May 2008: Through a collaboration with West Chester Henderson High School students and BLUER volunteers, a website was created to establish an internet presents for BLUER and act as a repository for information about West Chester's contribution to and affects of global climate change. Over it the span of its use, wcbluer.org underwent several face lifts and expansions. There is also a Facebook page where you can contribute climate change related posts and give us feedback.

Wind Power

December 2009: Borough Council unanimously approved the motion to "Consider the Renewable Energy proposals opened November 17, 2009 and accept the Community Energy 3-year proposal for purchase of wind energy."

The Community Energy Proposal is a 3-year plan to cover increasing amounts of municipal electric use with Renewable Energy Certificates. The amount of RECs purchased will cover 20% in 2010 (1,400 RECs at $1.96/REC), 40% in 2011 (2,800 RECs at $2.58/REC), and 60% in 2012 (4,200 RECs at $3.56/REC). In 2012, we will reopen bidding for at least the next 2 years to cover 80% and 100% respectively.

Energy Breakfasts

October 2009: BLUERs 1st business outreach event was held at Penn Oaks Country Club. Paul Spiegel of Practicle Energy Solutions gave a presentation about the need for energy-use analysis and gave several examples of common sense changes that can save a facility thousands of dollars and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example - having your heater and air conditioner active at the same time is probably not an efficient use of ones energy.

The event was video taped by the Great West Chester Chamber of Commerce and preserved for eternity on YouTube - part 1, part 2, and part 3.

April 2010: The 2nd Energy Breakfast was titled Smart Energy Management, a panel discussion of area experts in energy efficiency and alternative energy use. Panelists included:
  • Paul Spiegel of Practical Energy Solutions
  • Bill Ronayne of Brandywine Valley HVAC
  • Richard Potocek from Mainline Solar
  • Byron Woodman from Community Energy
Borough business owners and representatives were invited for this free event to listen to the panelists discuss prepared questions by BLUER and ask questions of their own. Several energy businesses also attended as vendors. See the press release (PDF) for this event .

BLUER Business Award Program

September 2010: The Business Outreach Subcommittee, lead by Scott Torneck, established an award program intended to recognize the efforts already taken by borough businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A selection criteria was established and a nomination form was distributed via wcbluer.org and in a mailing by the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce. In July of 2011 BLUER presented its first award plaque to The Hickman Senior Living Center, primarily for the attention to green building practices and design for the Mary Taylor House extension on Walnut St. The Mary Taylor House has achieved a LEED Silver certification. BLUER hopes to recognize many more forward thinking businesses in the months to come.

See information about the Business Award Program, and see the press releases of the awards given to The Hickman (PDF) and New Street Catering (PDF).

Green Permit Questionnaire
2011: BLUER (led by David Mazzocco) worked with the Department of Building, Housing, and Code Enforcement to create a non-binding questionnaire to be used to both educate the applicant about Green Building measures and to inform the borough about the specific green initiatives contained in a building project. The questionnaire is given to all commercial building and multifamily housing project permit applicants.

The current checklist (PDF) can be accessed for more information.

Residential Energy Improvement Checklist
2011: Our Residential Outreach Subcommittee, led by Denise Polk, compiled a checklist to help borough residents reduce energy usage, save money, and of course reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The suggestions, which mostly require no investment, are organized into several categories, including:
  • Air leaks
  • Computers
  • Heating / cooling
  • Hot Water Heaters
  • Lighting
  • Water Use and more
The checklist is being handed out in the welcome packages of several borough rental agencies and the tips are spread across the calendar given to new and returning WCU students in the fall.

Download the residential checklist (PDF) for more information.

Solar Canopies on Parking Garages
April 2011: The Phase II CAP included at item to investigate and support the development of a solar power canopy for the top level of the borough's parking garages. The first opportunity to contribute to this effort arrived in 2011 when Borough Council considered bids for constructing a 70 kW system on the top level of the new Chestnut Street Parking Garage, which had been built specifically to accommodate such a project. BLUER voiced its advocacy of the project in the March and April council meetings with contributions for solar professional and BLUER member Sean Diamond. The USA Electric bid was accepted in the April council session.

See the discussion and voting of the solar garage project in the council meeting minutes for April.

Policy Research & Recommendations

BLUER supports Borough Council, Chester County Commissioners, and State Representatives by doing research and making recommendations about issues or policy proposals that are related to climate change. BLUER is by no means a panel of expert scientists, but BLUER is comprised of several energy professionals and people that have kept up to date with policy developments that do or could affect our local or global environment.

Some of our support is done informally - through verbal or email communication. But occasionally we take on something big enough to warrant a formal position paper that is contributed to and reviewed by the whole BLUER team. Such is the case for the Marcellus Shale Legislation Position Paper done at the request of Rep. Dan Truitt and distributed in August of 2011. The research and position was drafted by Dianne Herrin. We hope that it will have some positive influence on this important issue. You can access the full report (PDF) for more information.