As part of a $12.5 million renovation designed to free the historic Friends Center in Center City Philadelphia from reliance on fossil fuels, the campus of buildings now boasts a 10,000-square-foot vegetated roof - the first in Center City and the largest in Philadelphia.

Photo courtesy of American Friends Service Committee.

As part of a $12.5 million renovation designed to free the historic Friends Center in Center City Philadelphia from reliance on fossil fuels, the campus of buildings now boasts a 10,000-square-foot vegetated roof - the first in Center City and the largest in Philadelphia.

Using the existing structures on its campus, Friends Center hopes to demonstrate the use of sustainable strategies in renovating a National Historic Landmark without compromising its historic character.

The green roof is planted with five varieties of sedum, a low-maintenance, Pennsylvania native plant. The vegetated roof will improve air and water quality, provide insulation, reduce energy consumption, save money, and help to eliminate urban heat island effect.

The green roof is an accompaniment to a photovoltaic array that Friends Center implemented to the campus. In June 2007, Friends Center officially began generating solar power for its building using a photovoltaic array on top of the building that is turning solar power into usable electricity. This photovoltaic system is expected to produce 10,000 kilowatts of electricity per year, providing a portion of Friends Center’s energy needs. As energy costs from traditional sources rise, savings will increase.



Photo courtesy of American Friends Service Committee.

Eliminating Fossil Fuels

In addition to the solar array, the Friends Center will use several strategies designed to eliminate the use of fossil fuels, including a geothermal heating and cooling system with wells more than 1,500 feet deep. Improvements to the building’s thermal envelope will also be made, including the installation of improved insulation. The center also plans to purchase wind energy for the balance of its electricity needs.

For more information, visit www.friendscentercorp.org.