Trenton – A pair of bills sponsored by Senate Environment and Energy Committee Chair Senator Bob Smith, Senator Richard Codey and Senator Linda Greenstein, which would require an environmental sustainability plan for the Statehouse and promote energy efficiency improvements in school and government buildings, passed the Senate Environment and Energy Committee this week.
“If the state government and the Legislature want to promote sustainability for our buildings, we should start by making our existing buildings more sustainable. There is no better place to start than with the Statehouse,” said Senator Smith (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “As New Jersey’s population increases and its economy expands, so too will the state’s demand for energy. It is imperative we come up with sustainable solutions to ensure energy costs and usage decrease.”
“The goal of sustainable design, development, and practice is to join economic development with environmental health by protecting resources and systems in both the present and the future,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex/Morris). “Making the Statehouse more sustainable will allow us to walk the walk and talk the talk. We will lead by example and push others in the state to build more sustainable buildings.”
“If we are to reduce our carbon footprint and be more sustainable on a statewide level, we need to invest in making our government buildings more energy efficient,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Going green will prove critical to reducing the exorbitant energy costs in the long term for state and local governments, as well as for school districts.”
The first bill, S-331, would require the State Capitol Joint Management Commission to prepare, adopt, and implement an environmental sustainability plan for the Statehouse Capitol Complex. This would include energy savings, efficiency upgrades and water conservation techniques. It would also include the involvement of food services and the establishment of performance measures to be reported annually and made available on the Governor’s and the Legislature’s websites. The bill was released from committee by a vote of 3-0.
The second bill, S-337, would authorize the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank to issue up to $20 million in bonds to finance cost-effective energy efficiency improvements in State, local, and school district buildings. The bill was released from committee by a vote of 3-0.