I’ve been to Philadelphia twice in the past week to attend Globalcon and the Brownfield Conference. I can report that the new convention center is pleasant, Reading Terminal is still the best place to eat and the City of Philadelphia is putting significant effort into being green. Philly’s goal is to reclaim waterfront property, put pocket parks within a 10 minute walk of 75% of the population and become a leader in urban farming—turning vacant city space into gardens that provide fresh produce to inner city citizens, offer agriculture training to youth and reduce storm water runoff.
That’s a long winded way to get to my point: Lots of good comes from government investment. For Brownfield development, federal funding and tax credits help local government turn hazardous sites into taxpaying property. According to EPA’s Marty Stanislaus, every Brownfield dollar EPA funds is leveraged to $18 in the private sector—not a bad investment.
At Globalcon—focused on energy, power and facility management—the result of government regulation and funding are evident in the growing energy efficiency market. Exhibitors included energy and flow monitoring companies, renewable energy service companies, new lighting and lighting retrofit products, and many products that improve operational efficiency in facilities. Without legislation to force the public and private sector to become more efficient along with federally-funded research and testing, many of these products—and most of the new markets-would not exist.
It’s easy to find examples of inefficient government. But it is equally easy to find examples of successful programs and good outcomes. Let’s hope that by the time you are reading this, the 2011 budget will be passed and work will focus on 2012.
Center for Environmental Innovation and Leadership