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Archive for August, 2008


Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Welcome to the first issue of Green Jobs Philly NEWS.  Our aim is to promote the greening of Philadelphia’s economy– the kind that immediately lowers the cost of living for lower-income Philadelphians.  We’re a ‘Reader’s Digest’ of local green LABOR, MANUFACTURE, GROUPS, GRANTS, EVENTS, ARTS, SERVICES, FUN STUFF, YOUR LETTERS. Got news? Send it to

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Green Roofs for Philadelphia



—Tar roofs can reach 180 degrees on an 80 degree day. This raises the cost of cooling homes. Green roofs, topped with green “sedum” plants, Green roofs can cut air conditioning costs in half.

—Over in West Philadelphia, Rasheen Crews has started Green Roof Philly to install green roofs for low-income residents– the people most needing to save money. Such roofs reflect excess heat and extend roof life.  His group is seeking donations to buy materials and sedum plants. As the program grows, thousands of green jobs will be created, to manufacture and install green roofs in our city.
—Likewise, “cool roofs” reduce air conditioning costs by applying white acrylic paint.  Cory Suter of Bioneighbors has been doing large-scale work in Philadelphia.
—Green roofs and cool roofs will become essential to Philadelphia’s survival since, at the end of next year, regional electric rates will rise 50-100%. That’s because the price of coal per ton has nearly tripled during the past year, and the PECO rate cap ends with 2009.

Sustainability Officer Karen Hagen, a student at University of the Arts, created a job for herself helping UArts recycle more fully and become more energy-efficient.

Solar Olympian
—Harold Finegan of Darby, former coach of the U.S. Olympic and national rowing teams, has moved from the fast lanes into the slow and steady lane.  He now teaches solar workshops to Philadelphians who want free heat and hot water.  His 4,000 sq.ft. training gym needs no fossil fuel for heating and cooling.  He relies on bicycle and train as much as possible.
—Dozens of super-efficient technologies prove that we can live comfortably in this latitude at little cost, Finegan says, if we rebuild and retrofit our housing.  He refers to Vacuum Insulated Glass (VIG) windows that are as energy-efficient as common walls; new walls that reduce heat loss by 90%; and heat exchangers, which extract heat from cool Alliance air.  However, he says “the United States uses thirty times more energy than Europe, which has been developing and mandating efficiencies (R70) for forty years.”  Howard refers to ‘zero fuel’ homes in Germany and Britain.  “Twenty years ago America could have begun a ‘soft transition’ to get us beyond Peak Oil, but we continued to make bad decisions based on old models that don’t work.”
—Noting that Goldman Sachs investment bank estimates fuel oil will cost 49% more this winter, Harold expects that within three years most Philadelphians won’t be able to afford to heat their homes.  Same thing for summer cooling– he cites a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists projecting that Philadelphia’s 100-degree days will rise from two yearly to thirty.
—Late in his career Harold has discovered that “the good life is not going 80 miles per hour.  The good life is at home with family.”  He believes that making Philadelphia’s homes comfortable requires immediate massive community mobilization to turn this city toward the sun.
Harold Finegan (484) 494-4880  Green Building ElementsEnergy Coordinating Agency

E J’s Vegetarian Cheesesteaks
—“My friends go crazy eating these, saying, ‘you got to sell these, start a restaurant.’” Earl Johnson’s secret natural recipes make veggie cheesesteaks that taste exactly like tuna, hamburger, baloney or bacon. “You wouldn’t even know the difference unless I told you.” He’s looking for $30,000 and a friendly landlord, to get started. “This is going to be bigger than Wendy’s– the world is ready for vegetarian if it tastes good. More people are scared of meat, and it costs so much.”
—Though he lives in Southwest Philadelphia he’s willing to open in any neighborhood: “I’m a people person; I don’t worry about the negative stuff. God will put me where it’s right.”
—A Philly native, and a vegetarian since 1978, Earl is currently a UPenn driver with a real estate credential and EKG degree. Though he says “I like to keep my life simple,” green business success could keep him busy cooking, to feed, delight and employ Philadelphians.
—Call him at (215) 680-8124.  See also

Marion Gibfriend with her Schwinn on her back

Marion Gibfriend with her Schwinn on her back

Beth Puleinella's bike tattoo on her forearm

Beth Puleinella's bike tattoo on her forearm

Another bike tattoo on on ankle

Another bike tattoo on on ankle

Capitalizing Bicycles

C. L. Cuper is a green fundraiser who has worked for Neighborhood Bike Works.  “I discovered Neighborhood Bike Works in 2001, when – alarmed by rising SEPTA fares – I decided to learn how to ride a bike, then how to fix one. I’ve done all sorts of things with Bike Works since then, including fundraising for the kids’ Earn a Bike programs.
—“Fundraising appeals to me because I love writing. I love talking to people, finding out what they’re really passionate about, figuring out how to act on that in a sustainable way. Money plays a role in sustainability: it’s hard to maintain passion for a cause when you’re always worrying about putting food on the table. My job is to connect people – those with the passion to act, and those with the compassion to give. If my writing can do that, I’m helping make the world a better place.
—“Bike Works relies on a whole lot of sources to make sure the kids have after-school snacks and more. Supporters include more family foundations than I have space to list here, almost every bike shop in Philly, and especially ordinary people who care. When the Kind Family Foundation pledges $10,000 a year, it makes the news – but when my neighbor pledges $10 a month, it makes my day.”

Three Bicycle Tattoos: Marion Gibfriend advertises her commitment to bicycling in Philadelphia. Three years ago she parked her Schwinn on her back. “It symbolizes the self-reliance biking provides, and independence from everything else.”  Beth Puleinella carries her bike on the forearm.  Another rides her bicycle above an ankle. These are among Philadelphia’s sturdy girls.

Philadelphia’s LARGEST BIKE RACK: 271 bicycles locked to the Rittenhouse Square fence for the August 13 concert, with 85 more locked to the Square’s parking meters.  386 total.

Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia launches daily Cyclegram.

PA Energy-efficiency grants to small businesses: Pennsylvania’s Small Business Advantage Grant Program

West Girard Food Co-op Coordinator JOB: Project Coordinator, West Girard Food Coop

Green Jobs Philly LISTSERVE:

GOT NEWS? Tell us what you’re doing.



—”Your website looks great and you’re the first to organize such a valuable resource for our area.”  –Cheri Black, SolarRental

—”I think Mayor Nutter should use abandoned lots throughout Philadelphia — and there are many — to establish year-round organic vegetable gardens.  These can be made arable via the use of compost fromFairmount Park trees, which is essentially free, and the lots can be covered with new greenhouses.  The cost of the greenhouses, seeds and flats, and gardening supplies can come both from city funds and contributed support from corporations, foundations, individuals, and other government agencies.   The workers would be low-income, chronically-unemployed, homeless, and former inmates who live in Philadelphia.  Training would be via volunteers, perhaps from the PA Horticultural Society.  The food grown would be targeted toward shelters, the homeless, and residents of low-income housing, and would be distributed by Philabundance.  Thus, this initiative would address soaring food costs, hunger, poverty, job training, and homelessness.  It is a green solution because it would provide locally-grown food with much-reduced transportation costs, no petroleum-based fertilizers, and no harmful pesticides.
—”And, as a freelance grantwriter, I’d be willing to donate my own time to write the proposals to potential funders for such an initiative.”  –Bill Dingfelder, Bala Cynwyd
[REPLY] Greenhouses would vastly expand our year-round food supply.  They can even be heated by rotting kitchen scraps.  Today, the city’s 400 neighborhood gardens are growing food only until landowner, public or private, decides to shove them aside.  There are only about 20 gardens owned by neighborhoods.
—By contrast, the Philly Orchard Project has been planting fruit and nut trees, and berry bushes, in Philadelphia’s vacant lots.  Planting such trees asserts that agriculture should be a permanent part of the city.  They’ve been seeking grants to expand the process.


  1. Grassroots action can meet Philadelphia’s needs during the huge changes coming (rising costs of food and fuel and heating)
  2. Everybody’s time and labor is needed, to rebuild our neighborhoods.


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