McKEONCHIVUKULA MEASURE TO PROMOTE GREEN BUILDINGS APPROVED BY ASSEMBLY
Assembly Environment and Telecom & Utilities Chairmen Say Low-Interest Loans Would Incentivize Investment in Sustainable Infrastructure, Help Stimulate Economy
(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Environment Chairman John F. McKeon and Assembly Telecom and Utilities Chairman Upendra J. Chivukula to promote high-performance green buildings in New Jersey was approved Monday by the Assembly.
The measure (A-2215) would create a program to provide low-interest loans for developers who construct high-performance green buildings.
“Green buildings are part of the green wave in the nation. It is about generating green jobs and a green economy,” McKeon (D-Essex) said.
“Buildings are one of the single-largest users of electricity and water and one of the highest carbon emitters. By investing in sustainable infrastructure like green buildings, we would deliver significant energy savings, help water conservation and generate hundreds of green jobs while protecting the environment from greenhouse emissions.”
U.S. buildings account for 40 percent of the country’s primary energy use, 72 percent of electricity consumption and 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Environmental Information Administration.
“Green buildings are one of the most effective ways to reconstruct a more energy-efficient infrastructure from the ground up by using newer and more advanced technologies. This would also stimulate New Jersey’s construction sector that has suffered a major setback in the past two years,” Chivukula (D-Somerset) said.
While construction spending accounted for $33 billion or 7 percent of New Jersey’s gross domestic product in 2007, it is projected to drop by $5.5 billion this year.
“By significantly reducing carbon emissions, green buildings provide a healthier working environment in addition to generaing energy savings and reducing water consumption. This measure would help us tap into new technologies to build a better and greener New Jersey,” Chivukula said.
According to the Green Buildings Council, green buildings can reduce energy use by 24 to 59 percent, carbon dioxide emissions by 33 to 39 percent, water use by 40 percent and solid waste by 70 percent.
“By providing low-interest loans, this measure will incentivize developers to absorb the initial high costs of going green and help them yield medium and long-term savings,” McKeon said.
Under the measure sponsored by McKeon and Chivukula, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), in consultation with the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA), would be required to create a program that offers low-interest loans to developers or redevelopers who invest in sustainable properties.
Specifically, the development or redevelopment would have to qualify as a “high performance green building.” This could be a commercial, industrial or mixed use building that is 15,000 square feet or larger in total floor area and is designed and constructed to achieve at least:
* A silver rating according to the federal Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, as adopted by the United States Green Building Council;
* A silver rating according to the National Green Building Standards, as adopted by the International Code council and the American National Standards Institute; or
* A two globe rating according to the Green Globes Program, as adopted by the Green Building Initiative;
* a comparable rating under another nationally recognized sustainable-development rating system.