Planet Princeton

Princeton Forms “Green Team”, Seeks Sustainable Jersey Silver Certification

sustainableprincetonSustainable Princeton, a nonprofit organization focused on practical solutions to reduce energy use and waste, has joined forces with the town of Princeton to promote two new sustainability initiatives for the coming year.

The town has formed a municipal green team to promote greener municipal operations. The members of the team are: Mayor Liz Lempert, Administrator Robert Bruschi, Princeton Environmental Commission Liaison Gail Ullman, Princeton Planning Board Liaison Cecelia Birge, Princeton Engineer Robert Kiser, the Princeton health officer, Princeton Infrastructure and Operations Director Robert Hough, and Sustainable Princeton Executive Director Diane M. Landis.

The Municipal Green Team is one of several local green teams working with Sustainable Princeton to encourage sustainable practices.  Other green teams, chaired by community volunteers, are the “Green Core”  for community outreach and residential engagement co-chaired by Annarie Lyles and Alexandra Bar-Cohen,  and the “Green Schools Coalition”, co-chaired by Stephanie Chorney and Karen Nathan.

Sustainable Princeton is also launching an EnergySmart Homes campaign. Ciel Power, an accredited contractor through the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Program, is offering home energy assessments at a discounted price of $49. The goal is to assess at least 100 homes in the coming year. The program is being supported with a $10,000 grant from Princeton University’s Office of Community and Regional Affairs. The campaign will feature two panel discussions with local home energy experts and the creation of a video series about the benefits of home energy improvements that will be aired during Princeton Public Library’s Environmental Film Festival in February of 2014.

Together the two initiatives will help Princeton secure the 350 points needed to achieve silver certification with Sustainable Jersey, a statewide nonprofit that helps towns and schools become more sustainable.

“The entire town can participate in achieving silver certification. Residents can take part in the EnergySmart Homes Campaign and other actions,” said Mayor Liz Lempert in a press release about the program. “The municipality, schools and nonprofit organizations can implement programs to reduce waste and energy and support walking, biking and much more. My goal is for Princeton to become a state leader and, eventually, a national model of sustainable behavior.”

Princeton is currently certified at the bronze level and will need to gain at least 350 points to reach the silver level by August of 2014. Twenty points will be earned through the  EnergySmart Homes Campaign.

Towns can receive points for more than 100 actions, such as establishing a sustainable land use policy, hosting farmers’ markets, establishing an organics recycling program, and supporting school gardens. Most of the points come from actions taken by municipal departments such as public works, health, engineering, and planning.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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