OARC implements projects that form a comprehensive strategy to transform Northwest Philadelphia into a sustainable community, and position OARC as a leader in the local green economy. By advancing sustainability in our community, we seek to balance the social, economic, and environmental impacts of our revitalization efforts. This triple bottom line approach helps preserve resources and alleviates the burden on our region’s aging infrastructure.
We advocate sustainable practices through education as well as through our development projects. Our ongoing initiatives include the following:
"Clean Kitchen, Green Community" Pilot Program for InSinkErator Food Waste Disposer
In the Spring of 2012, the City of Philadelphia selected West Oak Lane and Point Breeze as the two neighborhoods to launch its "Clean Kitchen/Green Community" program. Mayor Nutter kicked off the campaign with a launch event on Ogontz Avenue. This program provided 100 homeowners in each community with free Insinkerator food waste disposers as part of the city's efforts to reduce the amount of food waste going into landfills. Over the summer, OARC conducted outreach and educational efforts in the targeted area which consisted of approximately 400 homes. By the early fall, all 100 food waste disposers had been installed at no cost to the homeowners. The City will then track the impact the program had on reducing the amount of trash being picked up in the target neighborhoods.
Urban Energy Conservation Block Initiative
OARC works with organized blocks to retrofit homes with energy- and water-saving devices such as CFL bulbs, low flow shower heads, faucet aerators, programmable thermostats, window and outlet insulation. These devices are installed during a full day of energy events, including vendors that set up educational tables and displays. Rain barrels are also installed to reduce storm water runoff, and vacant lots are cleaned to prepare for community gardens. OARC then monitors the residents’ utility bills to help homeowners achieve best practices in energy efficiency.
Over the past few years, OARC worked with six organized blocks throughout Northwest Philadelphia to provide homes with energy and water saving devices such as CFL bulbs, low flow shower heads, faucet aerators, programmable thermostats, window and outlet insulation. Devices were insta;;ed during a full day of energy events, including vendors that set up educational tables and displays. Rain barrels were also installed to reduce stormwater runoff, and vacant lots were cleaned to prepare for community gardens. In total, OARC helped over 200 homeowners save energy and distributed over 800 energy saving devices.
Our past achievements include:
OARC recently brought Zipcar car sharing service to the Ogontz Plaza Shopping Center. This is Zipcar’s second location in Northwest Philadelphia, and there has already been great demand for the service. This provides a convenient service for residents and shoppers, and positively impacts the environment. Car sharing services such as Zipcar reduce the number of cars on the road, which means less congestion, less pollution, and less dependence on foreign oil. On average, each Zipcar takes 15-20 personally owned vehicles off of the road.
OARC will be bringing another Zipcar location to our new headquarters at the Gateway.
Installation of a Rain Garden
The John F. McCloskey Elementary School and Dorothy Emanuel Recreation Center share a large asphalt courtyard. During any rain event, this area became flooded. OARC partnered with the school, the recreation center and Awbury Arboretum to install a rain garden on the site in the summer of 2010. The new rain garden is a beautiful and functional green space that provides green infrastructure for stormwater management, wildlife habitat, and educational opportunities. The garden’s design allows water to be slowly absorbed by the soil and plants, thereby reducing pollution and the amount of water entering the storm drains.
Learn More About Stormwater Management:
EPA – Stormwater Management
PWD green stormwater management for homeowners
Homeowner stormwater management guide (PDF)
Learn More About Rain Gardens:
EPA – Glossary
SOCWA – Rain Gardens for the Rouge River
URI Healthy Landscapes – Rain Gardens
EPA – Bioretention Rain Gardens
Homeowner rain garden guide (PDF)
Research and Reports
OARC conducts research in our quest to become leaders in sustainability. We have prepared the following reports, all available in Adobe PDF format.
Community Outreach Assessment
Urban Infrastructure Report
We encourage you to visit the following websites for more information about sustainable living.
Carson Valley Children’s Aid - http://www.cvca-pa.org/
Primex Garden Center – http://primexgardencenter.com/contact/
Weaver’s Way Co-op –http://www.weaversway.coop/
Zipcar – http://www.zipcar.com/
Overview of Sustainability-Related Issues
EPA – Sustainability Basic Information
EPA – Learn the Issues
EPA – Energy Portal
Greenable – What is Green?
Sustainable Measures - Introduction to Sustainable Development
TED – Environmental Justice Activist Majora Carter
EPA – Greening Glossary
Mayor’s office of sustainability – greenworks
University of Delaware - human benefits of green space
USDA vegetable garden guide (PDF)
Renewable energy and efficiency rebates and incentives
Carbon Footprint Calculator
Water footprint calculator
Conserving Energy and Water in the Home
Department of Energy – Energy Savers Info
Rutgers rain barrel guide (PDF)
Rain barrel guide (PDF)
Water conservation tips
Department of Energy Home Energy Use Info
Homeowner energy savings guide (PDF)
Homeowners insulation guide (PDF)
Energy Savers fact sheet (PDF)
Online home energy audit
Planning Commission – Guide for Philadelphia Row Houses
ECA – Home Product Fact Sheets and PECO Rebates
ECA – Heating Ventilation and Cooling Fact Sheet
ENERGY STAR – Common Home Problems and Solutions
ENERGY STAR – Heat & Cool Efficiently (Basic Steps)
ENERGY STAR – Guide to Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling (In-Depth Guide)
ENERGY STAR – Air Seal and Insulate
ENERGY STAR – Roof Products
Retrofit Philly – Cool Roof Energy Efficiency Fact Sheet
PDF Available Here
EPA – WaterSense
Alternative Transportation Modes
SEPTA – Sustainability
Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
Carpooling rides - erideshares
Carpooling rides – carpool connect
PA Commutes – alternative transportation in PA
Philly Recycling Rewards
Streets Dept – Recycling Benefits
Streets Dept – Info on recycling
PADEP – Waste reduction
EPA – Waste
Waste reduction checklist (PDF)
PHS – Benefits of Trees
PHS – Mini-Guide to Tree Planting
PHS – Caring for Your Tree
PHS – Tree Tender Training
Philly Compost – Why Compost?
Philly Compost – Do it Yourself
Philly Compost – Backyard & Neighborhood Answers
Philly Compost – Neighborhood Compost Map
Care2 – “Buy Local” is an Economic Stimulus, by Safa S.
New Rules Project – Stacy Mitchell on Big-Box Stores and the Local Business Movement
SBN –Local Living Economies, by Judy Wicks
SBN – Regional Economic Development, Competitiveness and Prosperity through Local Business Ownership