Philadelphia’s Clever Use of High-Tech Gadgets for Green Initiatives

It seems that the more time passes, the more necessary it becomes to keep up with that ever-changing passage of time. Recently, the city of Philadelphia has devised several time-saving, ingenious green tools to allow homeowner’s better control of the use of products which contain harmful contaminants.  Philadelphia neighborhoods are now able to assess various amounts of contaminants by using a new footprint calculator. This is essentially a downloadable spreadsheet which consumers can use to document the types of products they have in their homes and calculate the potential water-quality impacts of those chemicals.  The clever students at Penn State University introduced the calculator as a means to preserve the environment from chemicals during combined sewer overflow events and wastewater irrigation. Numerous studies have also documented the harmful effects on marine life from chemical substances. During the study, the products were classified under three categories: cleaners, laundry, and health and beauty. After which, the calculator helped to identify the specific products that were contributing the most harm. Subsequently, replacing traditional products, if necessary. Employing the use of scholarly research, collected data and technology is proving to be a successful combination in paving the best way forward in these ever changing times; for the benefit of ourselves and the environment.


Fun fact: The Philadelphia Water Department, which is trying to reduce stormwater runoff citywide, is helping property owners install green infrastructure on their properties. Those that take part in this initiative are being offered a credit on their monthly stormwater bill. Interestingly, there is an App that can now be used to determine specific (green) upgrade costs. Such as determining the cost for a virtual green roof, rain garden or permeable pavement. Once a specific upgrade is selected and sized, the app shows the square footage of green infrastructure and calculates a new stormwater fee based on a reduction in the percentage of the impervious area.


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