Fishtown: Bike Shop Helps City Toward a Sustainable Future]

Jeff Rosenblum retrofitted his bike shop to operate as a sustainable business.

For one Fishtown business, going green is nothing new.

At Jay’s Pedal Power Bikes, 512 E. Girard Ave., owner Jeff Rosenblum said his bike shop has been environmentally friendly since it opened 35 years ago.

“The business itself, as it stands, is a green business to begin with,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything more energy efficient than riding a bike to work or the store or around the neighborhood.”

Rosenblum recently upgraded his business to run primarily on solar power. He installed solar panels on the roof of the showroom building, which drastically reduced energy costs for the small business owner. Energy bills for the store were cut from about $250 to $350 a month to about $75 to $85 a month.

“We’ve saved a significant amount of money going forward,” he said. “And it requires little to no maintenance.”

He also installed LED lighting throughout the showroom and made an effort to recycle and reuse all shipping and packaging materials that come into Jay’s Pedal Power Bikes.

Rosenblum’s sustainable business is just what the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability is looking toward as an example for creating the country’s most eco-friendly city.

Energy meters read how much solar power the panels on Jay's Pedal Power Bike produce.

“The big picture goal is to make Philadelphia the greenest city in America, but we always joke that it’s a friendly competition,” said Sarah Wu, the outreach and policy coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

To help reach that goal, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability created the Greenworks plan. The city developed the plan in 2008 and 2009, setting 15 goals to meet by 2015. The goals focus on five key areas: environment, equity, energy, economy and engagement. Wu said the benchmarks concentrate on quality of life issues, such as stormwater management, access to green spaces and clean energy.

When it comes to going green, Wu said the city would like to see both business and home owners make energy efficient upgrades. Philadelphia is offering various incentives to business owners to help defray upgrade costs.

“There’s a green roof tax credit. So, if you own your building and operate your business out of it and put a green roof on it, you can take a big tax deduction the next year,” she said.

Sarah Wu is working to make Philadelphia the most sustainable city in America.

Wu also said a new sustainable business tax credit is being offered for the first 25 businesses that make a variety of sustainable upgrades.

Philadelphia’s Greenworks plan is funded by the state and federal government and through donations from community organizations, such as the William Penn Foundation, Wu said.

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