New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Consolidates Renewable Energy Efforts

The New Jersey DCA has created a Green Building Task Force to build upon nationally-recognized programs and policy intiatives for green building and renewable energy. Some of these are already underway, including a plan to harness enough solar energy in the Meadowlands to power 2,800 homes.

TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Susan Bass Levin announced the creation of a Green Building Task Force designed to build upon DCA's nationally recognized green programs and policy initiatives while continuing to break new ground in those efforts. The Task Force is in accordance with Governor Corzine's recent Executive Order to increase energy efficiency in state government.

"Through its various affiliates and agencies, the DCA is positioning the State to meet the challenges ahead while providing healthy, environmentally advanced and economically sustainable homes today," said Levin. "Green affordable housing and renewable energy directly benefit individuals and families by lowering utility costs and creating healthier living environments. It is important that we coordinate these nationally significant environmental efforts to ensure we achieve Governor Corzine's mandate to increase energy efficiency in New Jersey."

Governor Jon S. Corzine signed an executive order on Earth Day that created the post of Director of Energy Savings and outlined significant steps to increase energy efficiency in state government. The Governor tasked the Director with finding savings through energy efficiencies while taking steps to establish New Jersey as a leader in its responsible stewardship of natural resources.

The DCA Green Task Force will be comprised of representatives from DCA's Housing and Codes Divisions, the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA), New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA), and the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC). The Task Force will also consult with other departments across state government.

The Task Force will be charged with building upon two first-in-the-nation programs developed within DCA. Recently, the Meadowlands Commission unveiled a plan to generate enough renewable energy using solar power in the Meadowlands to serve 2,800 homes and reduce energy costs for municipalities and schools, as well as become an economic engine for renewable energy businesses.

This initiative follows in the footsteps of DCA's New Jersey Affordable Green program, the only statewide affordable housing program in the country. The Affordable Green program is a national model for green affordable housing and has increased the use of innovative green materials and building technologies in over 2,000 affordable homeownership and rental units in the state.

DCA's Green Homes Office is currently developing a Green Building Primer to work in partnership with municipal officials to illustrate the benefits of green building practices and offer their resources on how to implement sustainable, green development principles and policies in their communities.

HMFA administers the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund, which creates permanent supportive housing residences for individuals with special needs. In an effort to encourage energy-efficient project design, HMFA partnered with the New Jersey Institute of Technology to supplement the fund's guidelines with three general categories to maximize efforts: sustainability, user needs and design excellence. This design supplement will be available in the next few weeks.

The Task Force will also be charged with examining the viability of incorporating the New Jersey Affordable Green program into the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund to have special needs projects be required to build to green standards.

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