Saturday, February 12, 2011

NJ Assembly Panel Advances Ambitious Package to Encourage Green Buildings Design

Here is a press release from earlier this week from the NJ Assembly Democrats Assemblyman from Ruben Ramos, etc. intended to encourage environmentally-friendly buildings. I like a good environment like the next person but here is my leading question: on its face, do you think these are a reasonable set of reforms or is government overstepping its bounds here? What would Jesus do? What would Glenn Beck do? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Ramos, McKeon, DeAngelo Bills Would Foster Development of Energy Efficient, Environmentally-Friendly Buildings

(TRENTON) – An ambitious five-bill package sponsored by Assembly members Ruben J. Ramos, Jr, John F. McKeon and Wayne P. DeAngelo, which is designed to encourage the proliferation of environmentally-friendly buildings, was approved by the Environment and Solid Waste Committee on Thursday.

The bills aim to encourage the incorporation of green and blue roofs into the design of new and existing buildings. Green and Blue Roofs use vegetation or mechanical devices, respectively, to prevent roof water from draining too quickly, not only improve storm water management but also provide cost saving opportunities, such as more efficient energy usage for heating and cooling.

The first bill (A-3678) would provide projects that include the construction and maintenance of a green or blue roof with additional weight in the ranking system used by the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program to determine which projects receive financing.

“Given the fact that this program’s funding is limited and the application process is competitive, this will enable us to foster the development of green buildings by giving these ambitious projects more weight,” said Ramos (D-Hudson). “This is a smart, forward-thinking approach that will help save money in the long-term while also protecting our environment.”

The second bill (A-3679) would require any new state government building, facility, or structure with at least 15,000 square feet in total floor area to be designed, constructed, and managed to include a functioning green roof or blue roof.

“Sometimes we sacrifice practicality for convenience,” said McKeon (D-Essex), Chair of the Environment Committee that approved the bills today. “These bills will help ensure that the two are not mutually exclusive by providing financing and incentives to create more environmentally-friendly buildings.”

The third bill (A-3680) would require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt rules and regulations within one year requiring, where feasible:

(1) any new development to incorporate blue or green roof technologies to limit the release rate of storm water runoff;

(2) the use of blue or green roofs in storm water management plans and storm water management ordinances, as established or adopted by a storm water management planning agency; and

(3) priority consideration for any application for a permit, grant, approval, loan application, or other authorization granted by DEP for a project that includes the use of a blue or green roof.

“Green buildings mean greener communities, and a better quality of life for our residents,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “We need to start thinking about our long-term future and how we can protect our environment in a manner that is energy and cost efficient.”

The fourth bill (A-3681) would require any new building, facility, or structure, which is constructed, in whole or in part, by the state, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, or the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, to be designed, constructed, and managed to include a functioning green roof or blue roof.

The last bill in the package (A-3682) would authorize the DEP to provide low interest loans to qualified applicants towards the construction or acquisition and installation of blue roofs or green roofs to be installed on single family residences or on commercial, institutional, and industrial properties, in order to conserve water or improve storm water management.

The bill would allow money in the Global Warming Solutions Fund (GWSF) to be used to conserve water and improve storm water management through the construction and acquisition or installation of green roofs. The GWSF is supported by greenhouse gas emission credit auctions.

The bill would also allow DEP to award and prioritize grants or other forms of assistance to local governments for the construction or acquisition and installation of green roofs, including through financial assistance provided by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). ◦