Take sustainability home with greening program

Bolstering the University’s commitment to sustainability, Penn has launched the Greening Penn at Home program, an initiative designed to educate faculty and staff about best practices for energy efficiency at home and to make it easier for the University community to implement energy efficient home improvements.

Penn Home Ownership Services (PHOS) has enlisted the Mark Group, the region’s largest provider of home energy efficiency analysis and improvement, to present on-campus educational sessions, free home energy assessments, and energy efficiency home improvements at preferred rates.

The discounts on these improvements include a $100 credit toward energy efficiency upgrades between $1,000 and $1,999, a $200 credit toward upgrades between $2,000 and $2,999, and a $300 credit toward upgrades more than $3,000.

Thinking solar? A credit of $500 is available for a Mark Group home solar power installation.

For more information, attend PHOS’s seminar for homebuyers on Monday, May 21, at 4 p.m. in the Ben Franklin Room in Houston Hall, where Mark Group representatives will provide information about Greening Penn at Home. Pre-registration is required; email phos@exchange.upenn.edu.

Dan Garofalo, environmental sustainability coordinator at Penn, says he participated in a home energy audit last fall. The assessment suggested basement air sealing, attic insulation, and new storm windows. 

“It was about $5,000 worth of work—and worth it,” Garofalo says. “I did everything on the recommended list and more.”

“It worked out great,” he adds. “The staff was courteous, knowledgeable, clean and fast, and [they] worked around the difficult conditions in the attic and the basement without complaint.”

Garofalo estimates that as a result of the energy upgrades he may have saved $800 or more on heating oil this winter. “The house is noticeably more comfortable and also much quieter,” he says.

Greening Penn at Home is open to Penn employees living in southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and northern Delaware.

University employees who live or are purchasing a home within the Penn’s Enhanced Forgivable Loan area can use those funds toward the cost of energy efficient home improvements. To sign up for an energy audit, go to the Mark Group website and submit an audit request from your Penn email account.

Home Greening