Eustace, Spencer, Lampitt & Benson Bill to Help State Facilities Go Green Clears Assembly Panel

March 24, 2015

Measure Would Oversee the Transition to Environmentally Sustainable, Energy Efficient Practices at All State Offices

Legislation Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace, L. Grace Spencer, Pamela Lampitt and Daniel Benson sponsored to help New Jersey "go green" by maximizing the environmental sustainability of state offices recently was approved by an Assembly panel.

Specifically, the bill (A-4047) would create an Office of Sustainability in the Department of the Treasury that would be responsible for developing and implementing environmental sustainability measures in all state buildings and coordinating with the owners of property in which state agencies are located in an effort to implement environmental sustainability practices in those buildings.

"Pursuing sustainability, and the healthier, non-toxic, energy efficient products that go along with it, will ultimately improve the quality of life for everyone throughout New Jersey," said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). "This approach should also be embraced as a responsible economic tool given the cost savings associated with sustainable materials. This is a sound, long-term investment for our future."

Environmental sustainability is a concept that provides for economic growth without an adverse impact upon the environment.

These environmental sustainability measures and practices shall include, but need not be limited to: using resources efficiently and minimizing raw material resource consumption, maximizing resource reuse, creating healthy working environments and protecting and restoring the natural environment.

Under the bill, the office would be charged with, among other things, developing and implementing initiatives to:

- improve energy efficiency, reduce energy usage and improve the procurement of energy in state buildings;
- increase water conservation in state buildings; and
- reduce the carbon footprint of state buildings

"As we seek to lead the way in implementing environmentally-friendly policies throughout the state, New Jersey must commit to setting an example with its own properties," said Spencer (D-Essex). "This measure will help lower both our carbon footprint and costs to taxpayers."

"The threat that climate change poses makes it essential that we implement measures to advance sustainability," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "This legislation builds on our efforts to create a greener New Jersey by promoting energy efficiency, water conservation and the overall reduction of the state's carbon footprint."

"This bill will advance methods that can cut costs at facilities statewide, ultimately decreasing the burden on taxpayers," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "Instituting the Office of Sustainability will help the state to carry out its goals of protecting the environment and restoring the economy."

The office also would be required to oversee standardized energy audits, to be conducted at least every three years at all state buildings, and the subsequent implementation of recommendations contained in the audits in the most cost-effective manner practicable.

The office would also help coordinate the procurement, by every state agency, of energy efficient products and equipment, renewable energy products, recycled products, low toxicity products and alternatives to products that contain mercury, lead or other persistent bio-accumulative toxics, and other products manufactured through environmentally sustainable methods.

The bill also specifies that the office shall assist state agencies in transitioning to these products as soon as possible, but in a manner that avoids wasting of existing inventories and allows the phase-out of products that do not promote environmental sustainability.

The measure was advanced Thursday by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee, of which Spencer is chair.

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