The Philadelphia Navy Yard, once home mainly to mothballed ships and notorious for asbestos contamination, has undergone a gradual transformation in the last ten years since the site was cleaned up and new businesses moved in. Now things are really starting to heat up. The U.S. Department of Energy will put up $122 million for a new “Energy Innovation Hub” to be located at the Navy Yard, featuring a partnership between United Technologies and Pennsylvania State University.
The Philadelphia Navy Yard and New Green Jobs
At its peak during World War II, the Philadelphia Navy Yard had a workforce of 40,000, but things trickled down to a crawl after the war and the last Navy ship was built there in 1970. The site was cleaned up in the 1990′s and by 2000 the first of about 80 new businesses started to move in. The current workforce is about 7,500, and that seems due to shoot up with additional clean energy investments. Aside from new green jobs generated by the Energy Hub, the Navy Yard has just been tapped to host the largest urban solar energy installation in the U.S.
A Miniature City to Test-Run New Clean Technologies
The new Energy Hub is one of three such facilities being developed by the Department of Energy. Its full name is the Energy-Efficient Building Systems Design Hub, and the Navy Yard was selected as an ideal location because it includes more than 200 buildings that are powered by an independent electric microgrid. This “virtual municipality” will become a real-life testing ground for new energy saving technologies as well as greenhouse gas reduction related to building systems, presumably in United Technologies’s areas of expertise which include heating and air conditioning systems as well as elevators and escalators, along with various aerospace products.
Image: Philadelphia Navy Yard by Kevin Burkett on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.