Every day is Earth Day at the Navy Yard!

by Navy Yard
April 21, 2020

Today, the Navy Yard is a catalyst for innovation in the region and a national model for sustainability. Our assets and infrastructure make it a uniquely attractive place for businesses, with an emphasis on development, energy efficiency, and sustainability. We offer the region’s most densely populated collections of privately-owned LEED-certified buildings, a 35-megawatt unregulated electric grid, an innovative network of stormwater technologies, and events to celebrate our community’s efforts in sustainability.


PIDC strongly encourages the design and construction of high-performance, sustainable buildings at the Navy Yard.  We require our partners to construct highly sustainable projects that in most instances include LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) certifications, the rating system created by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). In total, the Navy Yard has 17 LEED certified buildings, including Philadelphia’s first developer-owned LEED Platinum building built in 2005 at One Crescent Drive, and Philadelphia’s first double LEED Platinum building built in 2013, Five Crescent Drive for GSK, in CS – Core & Shell and CI – Core & Interiors.


PIDC and several private development partners have renovated many of the former Marine and Navy officers’ quarters and historic buildings. These now provide beautiful, historic, and eclectic office space to a wide variety of commercial tenants. Notable projects include:

  • URBN Corporate Headquarters that incorporates unused rail lines as an organizing system for pedestrian paths, concrete and asphalt from old parking lots (dubbed “Barney Rubble” by the project’s landscape architect) was broken up and reused as landscaping fill, and in the large, publicly accessible amenities building, pipe-bending pits now serve as ponds where water lilies grow and koi swim, overseen by a tranquil Buddha.
  • Former Marine Barrack and Admiral Quarters on Broad Street and along the river that have been redeveloped into office spaces, that in total are home to over 50 different businesses & nonprofits.
  • Building 661 is an adaptive reuse of a former officers’ recreation hall with a gymnasium and pool shuttered in 1995, retrofitted to be an energy efficient research campus for Penn State at the Navy Yard.


Offering multiple options to get around the Navy Yard is a top priority. We operate two free bus routes that allow employees and visitors easy access from Center City and from NRG Station on the Broad Street Subway Line. In 2018, Indego Bike Share expanded into the neighborhood with stations located at Crescent Park (Rouse Boulevard & Crescent Drive), Central Green (12th Street & Normandy Place), and 15th Street & Kitty Hawk Avenue that connect to Broad & Pattison. Additionally, we installed SAE Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) chargers on 13th Street between Intrepid Avenue and Normandy Place.


Working closely with the Philadelphia Water Department’s Watersheds Initiative, the Navy Yard has piloted the use of innovative stormwater management systems. Examples of demonstrated improvements include rain gardens, sidewalk and landscape buffers, and drainage swales, all of which prevent considerable levels of runoff from reaching city sewers.


Covering 1,200 acres, the Navy Yard’s Master Plan currently provides over 20 acres of parks and a mile of waterfront trail with more to come. These parks preserve green space providing opportunities for employees and visitors to stretch their legs, expand their minds, and enjoy the outdoors.

The historic 8-acre Marine Parade Grounds along Broad Street was the birthplace of naval aviation. In 1911, Lt. Alfred Cunningham became the first marine to fly when he constructed a ramp at one end of the grounds and drove a plane successfully up the ramp and into sustained flight. Now the Marine Parade Grounds are host to weekend charity festivals and 5k races, weeknight recreational sports leagues, the weekly Lunch Truck Lineup food truck event, and much more!

At 500 feet long, 90 feet wide, and 25.5 feet deep, Dry Dock 1 was not large enough to accommodate modern naval vessels. Made of timber piling, it became obsolete as a workspace and was converted into Dry Dock Park, designed by D.I.R.T. Studio. Dry Dock Park sits at the heart of the Urban Outfitters’ campus and is a great location for lunch and dog watching.


As sustainability becomes more of an everyday intention in our daily lives, the Navy Yard continues to support and grow innovative green initiatives.  We are a certified arboretum, which enhances our ongoing preservation and protection of trees, shrubs, perennials, and wildlife at the Navy Yard.

Each fall, Navy Yard businesses come together to celebrate our green efforts at the Navy Yard Sustainability Day. At this event, employees and visitors can learn about the ways to become more sustainable, and even bring items for proper recycling and shredding. Last year, we successfully shredded 5,000lbs of paper products, recycled 5,000lbs of electronics, and 500lbs of batteries.

Our physical assets, coupled with the collaborative nature of the Navy Yard’s diverse array of businesses and organizations and the commitment of leadership, make our green community an ideal setting for demonstrating and deploying new ideas, innovative technologies, and never-before-seen partnerships. Every day at the Navy Yard is Earth Day!