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Senate Panel Okays Turner Bill Requiring The Design Of Energy Efficient & Environmentally Friendly Schools

TRENTON – The Senate Environment and Energy Committee today approved a bill sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner requiring the design of all new public schools to follow industry recognized standards for green building practices.

“These new design standards are both environmentally and fiscally responsible in the long run,” said Sen. Turner (D-Mercer). “Not only do our children deserve first-rate educational facilities, but they deserve to inherit a planet that hasn’t been damaged by irresponsible practices that could have been avoided. This bill will ensure that environmentally responsible building practices are followed for years to come.”

The bill, S-239, would require all new public schools in New Jersey to incorporate green building practices that would significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact on the environment and the building’s occupants. The green building practices could include standards developed by the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program or an equivalent program such as Green Globes or the federal Energy Star program. At a minimum, these practices would incorporate:

a) sustainable site planning;

b) water and water efficiency safeguards;

c) energy efficiency and energy renewability;

d) conservation of materials and resources; and

e) indoor environmental quality.

The LEED for Schools program, for example, promotes schools that are healthy for students, comfortable for teachers, and cost-effective by addressing issues such as classroom acoustics, master planning, mold prevention, and environmental site assessment.

Although similar requirements were instituted by executive order under the previous administration, this legislation would codify these practices into law and ensure that they are incorporated for years to come.

The bill now heads to the full Senate for approval.

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