Go for Gold! New Gold Star Standards Coming
We'll break new ground at the 2016 New Jersey Sustainability Summit with the much anticipated release of the first elements of the gold standard for sustainability certification in the foundational dimensions of energy and waste. Defining a gold standard for municipalities in terms of measured outcomes rather than prescriptive actions represents a bold step that no other state-level program has taken. The Energy and Waste Gold Star Standards will be the focus of two of the fifteen breakout sessions at the Summit. Attendees at these sessions can position their towns to be ready to apply for the first Sustainable Jersey Gold Stars in 2017. AICP CM credits available for most sessions. Register for the 2016 NJ Sustainability Summit: http://bit.ly/2016SummitRegister
Sustainable Jersey Honored with Top National and International Programs
The American Planning Association announced the third annual Awards for Excellence in Sustainability. Sustainable Jersey received the Leadership in Sustainability award and was selected from a group of national and international applicants. The awards honor projects, plans, policies, individuals and organizations whose work is dedicated to supporting and growing sustainable communities. See the list of award recipients: APA Award Release.
Learn Cost Effective Ways to Achieve Energy Savings in Your Home and Office
Save money and reduce your carbon footprint! An energy efficient home or office not only saves money, it also makes your living space or workplace healthier and more comfortable. Upgrading heating and cooling equipment, increasing insulation, and making sure the building envelope is properly air-sealed can significantly improve indoor air quality by reducing allergens, mold and other pollutants. We have two workshops planned in June. You will learn more about energy efficiency incentives offered by utility companies in your area. Many utility incentives can be combined with New Jersey Clean Energy Program incentives to further reduce the cost of your energy upgrades. Incentives are available for homeowners, businesses, nonprofits, and local government agencies. Registration is required.
Register for the June 21 workshop at ACUA: June 21 Workshop Registration. Register for the June 22 workshop at the Dodge Foundation: June 22 Workshop Registration.
Statewide Sustainability Report Released
Sustainable Jersey released a Statewide Sustainability Report Report that provides a comparative look at state-local sustainability rating systems and programs across the U.S. Melanie Hughes McDermott, Ph.D., a senior researcher at Sustainable Jersey and one of the report authors said, "This report is part of a multi-year effort to understand and support the growth of state-local sustainability programs and evaluate their potential. In addition to providing insights across the board, the report includes program profiles of each of the twelve state-sustainability programs. We hope to show a path forward toward collaboration across the United States to move these local efforts to the next level." To view the Statewide Sustainability Report, visit http://bit.ly/StatewideChange. Read the blog.
Regional Hubs: Monmouth Hub Starts Film Series
Collaborations and peer to peer learning have been helping green teams participating in Sustainable Jersey's regional hubs. These hubs bring together municipal green team and environmental commission members, county and municipal leaders and sustainability-minded organizations and individuals with the goal of networking, sharing best practices and exploring opportunities for collaborations. Hubs are located in Atlantic-Cape May, Burlington-Camden-Gloucester, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth and Somerset counties. The Monmouth County Regional Hub is opening its summer film series on the dangers of single-use plastics with the documentary "Bag It!" Join the Monmouth Hub and go see the film Bag It on 7/12 and Tapped on 8/9. Visit Sustainable Jersey's events page for more information about these events.
Building Local Resilience to Climate Change
Sustainable Jersey's Resiliency Program is working with communities to provide tools and actionable steps to enable towns to be more prepared for the impacts of climate change. A recent workshop titled "Building Local Resilience to Climate Change," provided a discussion on climate change impacts in New Jersey, the Municipal Resilience Cycle, identifying and communicating with vulnerable populations, Municipal Flood Risk Assessments, extreme temperature event plans and more. If you missed the workshop, you can participate in the webinar planned for June 29, 2016. Register: http://bit.ly/BuildingResilienceCCWebinar.
32 Municipalities and 34 Schools Get Sustainability Grants
Thirty-two municipalities and thirty-four schools were selected to receive a Sustainable Jersey small grant funded by the PSEG Foundation. Grants ranged from $20,000 to $2,000. Projects include: food composting, outdoor classrooms, sustainability education, rainwater collection, recycling, reclaiming paved surfaces for community gardens, protecting community tree cover, water conservation, green infrastructure, natural resources protection, park revitalization, promoting healthy lifestyles and green team capacity building. Read about the municipal recipients and the school recipients.
Board Spotlight: Maureen Hassett
Maureen Hassett is a founding member of the Sustainable Jersey Board and the senior vice president for government and communications at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). She oversees the EDA's Edison Innovation Fund technology investments, governance and communications and marketing and product divisions, as well as its urban and real estate development portfolio in New Jersey.
Maureen said, "In graduate school for urban planning, I heard about the theory known as the Tragedy of the Commons for the first time. I was struck by the notion that individuals can act independently and rationally in their own self-interest, while perhaps unknowingly behaving contrary to the common good by depleting resources needed by all." She added, "The sustainability movement, and the role of Sustainable Jersey in our state is critical in providing education to increase awareness and engage the community to preserve the common good. It's been a pleasure to serve on the Board in its formative years and to work with such dedicated and talented staff."
Maureen serves as the Chief Executive Officer's designee to the New Jersey Schools Development Authority's Board of Directors, as well as the Assistant Secretary of the Economic Recovery Board for Camden. Maureen has been involved in the community and economic development arena for more than 20 years and was also the recipient of the HUD Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship. Maureen is the vice chair of the national Council of Development Finance Agencies Board of Directors, and advisory board member of THRIVE South Jersey. Maureen holds a BA from Wellesley College and a Masters in Urban Planning from Hunter College, City University of New York.
In her free time, Maureen loves to travel. She said, "I encourage wanderlust for my two sons who have studied in London, Vietnam and next year, Germany." Maureen and her husband John spend most weekends at their home in southern Vermont enjoying skiing, hiking, kayaking and swimming at the local quarry. An avid reader, she explained, "There's nothing I like better than kicking back on the deck with a great book where my only distraction is the view of the Green Mountains!" She is a native New Yorker who moved to NJ in the '90s. Maureen and her family live in Pennington, New Jersey and are starting their third decade living there!
Who does that? Behind the Scenes
Gary Fournier is the Sustainable Jersey Energy Program Director. His career spans 40 years serving in technical and senior positions with major global engineering firms specializing in utility management. Gary is the chair of the Sustainable Jersey Energy Task Force that is charged with identifying actions that need updating, developing new actions, and keeping a pulse on the energy field in New Jersey. His work with municipal utilities contributed to his knowledge of renewable and efficient energy programs. Following Hurricane Sandy, he was involved in alternative energy solutions and resiliency of energy systems.
Gary has an A.S. in Environmental Science and B.S. in Water Pollution Control Technology, both from SUNY Empire State College. Gary currently serves as Vice Chair for the East Windsor Township Clean Communities Advisory Committee and is a member of East Windsor Green Team. Gary and his wife Geri live in East Windsor. They have two grown sons named Jason and Justin and three grandchildren: Jack, Anne Draper and Libby. In his free time, Gary likes to play golf and he is an accomplished artist; he paints with oils, acrylics and water colors. Gary is also a US Navy, Vietnam veteran. Read more at Sustainable Jersey staff bios.