Anchors Away: Feds May Cut Penn State’s Navy Pet Project

The Hub is on the chopping block. No, not that HUB. Congress may strip $22 million in federal funding from Penn State’s Energy Efficient Buildings Hub, part of the redevelopment of Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, according to a Philly.com report. But, Congress isn’t likely to pass a budget this year anyway. If it does, at least 30 jobs might be lost.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has recommended that Congress cut the Hub’s funding for the next fiscal year and end the work of the research collective, which was founded in 2010. Penn State researchers have been tasked by former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to energy use in the Philadelphia region by 20 percent by 2020. Their approach would then be replicated nationally…if the university’s pet project is around by then.

A Senate panel cited a number of factors in its 151-page report: an independent review that found  the hub “poorly managed and lacked measurable goals;” a lack of “deep expertise in the buildings sector”; and, a management team based in State College, not Philly. A subcommittee report also alleged narrow thinking.

“The hub was more focused on the economic development of the Philadelphia area rather than developing a national program to improve the energy efficiency of commercial and residential buildings across the United States,” the panel said in its report.

The EEB Hub is currently undertaking 10 energy-efficient retrofitting projects on buildings in the region. It’s also worth noting that Penn State President Rodney Erickson, Governor Tom Corbett, and others celebrated the groundbreaking of two EEB buildings in Philly only last April.

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Mike Hricik

Senior in the College of Communications

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