15 More Make 108 Sustainable Jersey Certified Communities. Congratulations!
The network of certified towns is growing. It was down to the wire as the final towns submitted and were accepted for the 2011 certification year. Of this group of certified towns, Berkeley Heights achieved the Silver-level certification, raising the total to nine Silver-certified towns. The newly certified Bronze-level towns include: Bethlehem, East Brunswick, East Windsor, Edison, Fair Lawn, High Bridge, Middle, Mountain Lakes, North Plainfield, Ramsey, Shrewsbury, Upper Saddle River, Warren and West Amwell. Congratulations to the Green Teams, municipal staff, and community members that worked hard to get certified.
New Board of Trustees Provides Leadership
In November, Sustainable Jersey was strengthened with the addition of a Board of Trustees. Led by Chair, Pam Mount of Lawrence Township, the Board includes New Jersey's most accomplished leaders in municipal governance and sustainability, including mayors, sustainability experts, accomplished scholars, corporate leaders and innovators. Each Trustee brings extensive experience and valuable insights to enhance and grow Sustainable Jersey. Review the Board list.
Implement Energy Conservation Improvements at No Cost
Using an Energy Savings Improvement Plan (ESIP), a municipal entity can finance energy conservation projects and repay the project costs through energy savings. Sustainable Jersey is offering outreach and technical assistance to any municipality that is interested in pursuing the ESIP financing option. We hope to facilitate a pooled ESIP program in summer 2012. This pool option will allow the completion of ESIPs of various sizes and generate savings to municipalities through economies of scale. With construction costs at the lowest level in recent memory, and with available rebates and incentives for energy efficient projects, local governing bodies in New Jersey should take advantage of this no cost opportunity to implement energy saving projects. Interested in learning more? Contact Robbi Acampora.
Six Programs to Help Schools Save Money and Energy
Each March, New Jersey school districts have to present an itemized budget. It's a stressful time when hard decisions are made regarding shrinking resources. Energy is often one of the top expenditures in a school district budget. More money is spent on energy than on books and computers. Although energy costs continue to rise, this line item is a controllable element in a school's annual budget when energy conservation and efficiency projects are implemented. And for finding savings, energy costs are the first place a school district should look. Read the full Sustainable Jersey article on the six energy saving programs in the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation blog. Join the Tools for Schools webinar on Friday, March 30, 2012 at 12:15 pm, register here.
Going for Gold
Sustainable Jersey has received a grant from the Surdna Foundation/Pace University Land Use Law Center. The project will link technical and training resources developed by PACE with the Sustainable Jersey program in support of the work of the Sustainable Jersey Land Use and Transportation Task Force. Additionally the grant will provide funding to start the development of the Gold-level certification standard for the Sustainable Jersey program.
What we mean by Sustainability
Sustainability is one of those words that can be overused and vague. The "sustainable" in Sustainable Jersey is about something much larger than just a focus on energy efficiency and green design choices; it also encompasses a concern for health and wellness, diversity and equity, access to fresh food, support of the local economy, arts and culture, stewardship of the land, animal welfare, and long term, environmentally-sensitive community planning.
The program encompasses the three equal, interrelated components of sustainability: prosperity (support your local economy and use community resources), planet (practice responsible environmental management and conservation) and people (embrace social equity and fairness). Rather than quality of life being controlled by external forces, Sustainable Jersey provides a platform and a wide range of actions for communities to make their own individual choices for a sustainable future.