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Jeffrey M. Vinocur | CC BY-SA 3.0

Philadelphia has won a $2 million award as a result of the city’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The funds will be used to advance sustainability initiatives in the city. 

The award, which was part of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, was also given to 19 other U.S. cities, including Pittsburgh, Boston, and Washington, D.C. The challenge was created by Bloomberg Philanthropies, a foundation for former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg’s charitable donations.

Bloomberg Philanthropies selected Philadelphia as one of the winners “because of [its] innovative and ambitious climate action plans to reduce air pollution and city-wide emissions," WHYY reported. The foundation specifically cited the city's projects to reform transit and building sectors, which have been responsible for 80 percent of Philadelphia's emissions. 

The city’s 3,000 biggest commercial buildings account for 17 percent of all carbon emissions, Christine Knapp, the director of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability, told Knapp added that although the city has mandated that commercial properties report their energy and water usage since 2012, adherence to the directive has waned in the last few years. 

Much of the new grant from Bloomberg will go towards expanding the city's efforts in "reducing carbon emission from buildings and from transportation," Knapp said. 

Earlier this month, Philadelphia unveiled a new transportation program, CONNECT, which will place an emphasis on reducing traffic and providing affordable and efficient transportation options for residents, according to a press release. As part of this plan, the Indego bike share program will expand with as many as 250 stations throughout the city by 2019. 

In recent years, Penn has also made efforts to invest in environmental sustainability. New College House was built in 2017 as a part of Penn’s Climate Action Plan 2.0, which focuses on waste management, transportation, and the physical environment. Last week, Penn Sustainability also launched its 'ReThink Your Footprint' campaign to minimize the impact of the University's waste. 

A report released by Penn in April 2018 said the school has become more sustainable and environmentally aware in the past ten years, though experts said Penn still lags behind many of its peer institutions.