Urban Fold

Philadelphia Quakers Set An Example Of Green Efficiency

A religious group known for embracing simplicity presents a bold green vision for Center City.

According to the "Quaker principles of peace, simplicity and social equity," Philadelphia's Friends Center is renovating its Cherry Street headquarters through environmentally responsible design. This $12.5 million project, which includes an array of photovoltaic cells, six geothermal wells, and Philadelphia's largest vegetated roof, is expected to save the Center about $5 million in maintenance costs over the next 20 years.

"This is the 21st century," said Patricia McBee, director of the Friends Center's capital campaign. "There are wars and illness and disease and global warming that are consequences of our behavior."

"Moreover, McBee said, as Quakers they could not expect others to change their environmental conduct unless the Friends did so themselves. "We want to be a model for other property owners and building professionals to come here, kick the tires, learn that these things work, that they're cost-effective, they're beautiful, there's nothing you're really sacrificing and it's worth doing," she said."

Thanks to Benjamin Cromie

Full Story: Friends, indeed, to conservation

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