A member of Federation's real estate affinity group connected the agency to a PECO program that helped install a new rooftop cooling unit and 160 Energy Star refrigerators at the Robert Saligman House, where more than 180 low-income seniors reside.
Jeff Bartos is the North American CEO of the Mark Group, a global provider of home energy efficiency solutions. He also is a member of the executive committee of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s real estate affinity group, colloquially known as JFRE.
In his business dealings, Jeff has worked closely with the Philadelphia Electric Company and knew of a PECO program that would help JFRE fulfill its mandate of enabling older adults to age in place and remain connected to their communities.
The PECO Default Service Provider program, or DSP, invests resources in helping low-income residents of multifamily dwellings to replace “energy-guzzling” heating and air-conditioning systems and appliances with more efficient models.
“I thought that this would be a great way for Federation Housing, Inc., to conserve energy and save on their utility bills,” said Jeff, who personally pitched the project to Valeria Bullock, senior business analyst for PECO’s Low Income Usage Reduction Program.
Jeff sat down with Eric Naftulin, executive director and CEO for the housing agency, to determine which facility would reap the most benefits from this program. Together, they looked at past utility bills and selected the Robert Saligman House in Northeast Philadelphia, where more than 180 low-income seniors make their home.
Eric has profound praise for Jeff’s commitment to helping Saligman House maximize energy savings. “He put together a great team of technicians who conducted an energy analysis from the building’s rooftop to its basement,” Eric explained.
Based on their findings, it was decided that DSP funds would best be used to install a new rooftop cooling unit and 160 new Energy Star refrigerators. Eric added that the team worked closely with the Saligman House staff and residents to make certain that the installations and transitions would be as easy as possible.
“Mark Group employees personally visited with those residents impacted and helped them to transfer the contents of their existing refrigerators to their new appliances,” he said, describing the program as “a true mitzvah to residents and management alike.”
Eric commented that the residents are enjoying their brand-new refrigerators while management is deciding where to redirect the projected energy savings. “The money we save will be put to very good use,” he stated.
Jeff said that while he “was thrilled to get Mark Group behind this wonderful initiative,” he cautions against giving him and his company too much credit. “This project would not have been possible without the commitment of PECO and the dedication and vision of the JFRE leadership team.”
JFRE’s immediate past chair, Bradley Krouse, said the group is “extremely excited about the success of this project” and hopes that “it can serve as a model for future projects to help upgrade deteriorating or inefficient building systems of residences, schools and synagogues in the Jewish community, resulting in a better quality of life and significant savings in energy costs.”
Partnerships like these are “an ideal way to leverage funds to impact a significant number of people in need,” Brad concluded.