Trenton – In an effort to lower the carbon footprint of the New Jersey State Capitol Complex, the Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Bob Smith and Senator Richard Codey that would require an environmental sustainability plan for the State House Complex.
“As a state, we have big plans to combat climate change, with the goal to have 100% clean energy by 2050 looming ahead,” said Senator Smith (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “With this goal in mind, we should be implementing strategies to make the State House more environmentally friendly as well. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and starting with our own capital building will set a precedence for all of New Jersey.”
The bill, S-417, would require the State Capitol Joint Management Commission to prepare, adopt, and implement an environmental sustainability plan for the State House Capitol Complex. The plan would be required to include the following: initiatives to improve energy savings and efficiency, water conservation techniques, applicable principles set forth by the United States Green Building Council, involvement of State Capitol Complex food services, consideration of methods to lower the level of carbon emissions and reduce the carbon footprint of the capitol complex, and the establishment of performance measures to track the progress of each aspect of the environmental sustainability plan.
“Our State House is currently around 230 years old, and it is safe to say that a lot can be done to make it more environmentally friendly,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex/Morris). “On the Federal level, there have been a growing number of initiatives being made to incorporate sustainable designs and practices, such as the United States House of Representatives’ ‘Green the Capitol Initiative’. As we continue to move forward and create new buildings with ‘green’ plans, it is equally important for us to also look back at the buildings that have been here for centuries and come up with ways that they can exist sustainably for centuries more to come.”
The senators also stressed the importance of wanting to have a future for their grandchildren, and the best way to achieve that is through sustainability.
Under the bill, the environmental sustainability plan would be revised as necessary at least every four years, and an advisory committee with expertise in environmental sustainability would be appointed to assist the commission.
The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 35-1.