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PHILADELPHIA-PECO, the electric and natural gas subsidiary of Chicago-based Excelon Corp., has launched a five-year initiative aimed at making the company more environmentally responsible with the opening of its first green building. The program, which has an estimated cost of $15.3 million, will also see the company install a green roof and new Crown Lights at its headquarters in Center City.

A spokesperson for PECO tells GlobeSt.com that the environmental initiative is the brainchild of John Rowe, the chairman, president and CEO of Excelon. Earlier this year, Rowe launched Excelon 2020, a greening initiative that seeks to offset, reduce or displace more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year by the year 2020.

“The logical step was to look at what PECO was doing on the local level in Philadelphia and how we could support the initiative,” says the spokesperson. “As an energy company, we know that our customers not only want us to be environmentally responsible, but they expect us to be.”

PECO has long supported community greening initiatives and, according to the spokesperson, PECO was the first utility in the state to offer customers the option of wind-generated power.

As a first step in its greening initiative, PECO spent eight months and $2 million transforming its service site on South Bolmar Street in West Chester, Chester County into a green building. The site, which houses 60 employees who oversee the company’s activities in Chester and Delaware Counties, now boasts a reflective roof that reduces the heat load of the building, a new layout that allows for more daylight views, energy efficient lighting and Energy STAR HVAC systems. In addition, most of the construction materials, furniture and fixtures were made with recycled materials.

Going forward, PECO plans to install a green roof on its 43,000-sf north tower on 23rd and Market streets in Philadelphia. The company’s iconic Crown Lights system on its Center City headquarters will also be turned off at the end of the year and replaced by energy-efficient LED lighting. The new system is expected to be unveiled sometime in 2009. The company will also increase its purchase of wind energy to power its Center City office and increase its use of hybrid and biodiesel vehicles. Finally, PECO plans to carry out extensive improvements similar to those done on the West Chester building to its facilities in Warminster, Bucks County; Phoenixville, Chester County; and Berwyn, Delaware County. The company will seek LEED certification for these sites in 2009 and will carry out improvements to and seek LEED certification for several other sites, including its main office, through 2012.

“This is the evolution of our continued focus on environmental efforts,” says the spokesperson. “What’s so significant about this is you really see the focus not only on what we’re doing in the community, but also on what the company’s going to do itself.”

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