New and Notable

Affordable and Green in New Jersey

March 02, 2006
March/April 2006
A version of this article appears in the March/April 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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Affordable and Green in New Jersey

        New Jersey's Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which has built over 2,000 new green and affordable homes in the past five years through its New Jersey Affordable Green Program, recently announced new standards for affordable and market rate green programs.
        Instituted in late 2005, developers of affordable housing units within the State of New Jersey must now meet minimum green requirements, with the option to receive additional funding to develop a higher threshold of green affordable housing units. Commissioner Charles A. Richman of DCA also announced the New Jersey High Performance Homes Plus Program, a comprehensive and voluntary residential construction rating program that will advance high performance home building and renovation in New Jersey. The program is designed to support the green efforts of market rate builders.
        High Performance Homes Plus will establish a state green building standard and promote whole system, energy efficient building practices among builders and educate consumers about the advantages of the features in their homes. The program will coordinate with other national green building programs to address bioregional issues, and provide New Jersey builders and residents with a one of a kind program tailored to the specific needs of the State. This program will be available the summer of 2006.
        “At DCA, we are dedicated to investing in our communities for a better New Jersey,” says Commissioner Richman. “We achieve that goal through a variety of innovative programs that create quality, affordable housing for residents. Our Green Homes Office stands out by creating energy efficient, environmentallyresponsible affordable housing that is accessible to all of New Jersey’s hardworking families.”
        The New Jersey Affordable Green Program is the only statewide green affordable housing program of its kind in the country. Over the last five years, the program has increased the use of innovative green materials, and design and building technologies in over 2,000 affordable homeownership and rental units in the state.
        The voluntary program provides $7,500 per unit in funding, and offers technical assistance and training in green building design. The initiative has also become a national model for green affordable housing, where staff regularly assists other states in the development of similar programs.

DER Project Receives Funding

        The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Technologies Advancement Collaborative to foster distributed energy resources (DER) development and integration in a collaborative project it initiated.
        DER, small-scale power generation technologies (typically in the range of 3 to 10,000 kW), which are located close to homes or businesses, can provide an alternative to or an enhancement of the traditional electric power system.
        EPRI's two-year project will establish business models and regulatory approaches that reward electricity providers for integrating DER through the development of state or utility-specific business and regulatory strategies; demonstrating the most promising approaches through actual pilot projects in Massachusetts and California; and conducting outreach in public and industry forums.
        “The exciting part about this project is bringing diverse stakeholders together,” says Ellen Petrill, director of public/private partnership at EPRI.“With great minds and varying perspectives working toward common goals, we can create the path forward to the future where innovative technologies keep breaking new ground.”
        Stakeholders include the California Energy Commission, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Southern California Edison, National Grid, San Diego Gas & Electric Co., Pacific Gas & Electric,Tennessee Valley Authority RealEnergy, Solar Turbines, EnerNOC, Northern Power Systems, and UTC Power.
        The Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources will lead the project, which was initiated earlier this year.The stakeholders will fund the majority of the project.

New Funding for Sustainability Projects

        Over the course of the 2005-2006 academic year, 41 student teams from across the United States will research and develop sustainable designs through the People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) competition. The teams have been awarded $410,000 by EPA for their research. The P3 competition was first launched in 2004.
        The National Academies, which provide advisement to the country on science, engineering, and medicine, will convene a panel to evaluate and recommend the award winners, who will be chosen by the EPA. The P3 Award Competition will be held on May 9 and 10, 2006, on the National Mall in Washington,DC.
        “In an era of rising energy costs, the results of the first year of the P3 competition should make people sit up and take notice! They not only demonstrated that companies can reduce their bottom line by sustainable practices, but also the marketability of new conservation tools,” says George Gray, assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development.“In last year’s competition, four student projects became new businesses with clients, two of them marketing energy monitoring systems. Other designs explored biodiesel production, solar thermal heating systems, green roofs, and stormwater management.”
        One of last year’s winners was the Oberlin College team, which designed an energy and water use monitoring system for colleges with easy-to-read, real-time data on dormitory energy use. This system enables the school to reduce energy costs by pinpointing areas of overuse. This project is now a business whose clients include Duke University and Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC.

Biofuel Company Wins Platts Global Energy Award

        World Energy Alternatives is the first biodiesel producer and distributor to receive a Platts Global Energy Award. World Energy Alternatives supplies biodiesel for many sources, including home heating oil.
        The Platts Global Energy Award is run through Platts, the world leader in energy information, which has offered independent industry news and price benchmarks for nearly a century. The Platts Global Energy Awards have been presented for the past seven years. An international panel of judges chooses 15 out of 200 global companies who have demonstrated the most extraordinary and innovative energy initiatives. The Global Energy Awards judges note that “World Energy has taken an exceptional and pioneering role in moving a newcomer fuel from green pipe dream to commercial reality.” World Energy’s highlights the mainstream adoption of biodiesel blends and cleaner energy practices in the petroleum industry and by consumers.
        “This award is a testament to the astounding growth of renewable fuels and the petroleum market’s mainstream adoption of greener energy initiatives,” says Gene Gebolys, president and founder of World Energy. “Biodiesel shows tremendous promise to improve emissions, fuel performance, and energy security.”
        In the United States, biodiesel is primarily made from soybean oil and is typically used as a supplement to petroleum diesel fuel in blend levels up to 20%.World Energy Alternatives produces BioHeat, a blend of No. 2 heating oil and biodiesel fuel, usually with a 10% blend of biodiesel to a 90% blend of No. 2 oil.

Schools Stays Toasty With Biomass

        Thanks to voters in Idaho's panhandle, who overwhelmingly approved an $8.6 million bond issue late last year, the Kellogg School District has the funds to convert its boilers to new high-efficiency units fueled with wood byproducts.The school district will also receive funding for the project from a $380,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service’s “Fuels for Schools” program.
        In addition, the Forest Service is providing at least $4 million in grants for projects that increase the use of woody biomass from or near national forest lands.The funds will provide a use for small-diameter and low-value trees from forest thinning projects by turning them into either marketable forest products or energy.
        Kellogg is the second school district in Idaho to adopt a biomass boiler plant powered by woodchips. Given the rising cost of fossil fuels, biomass was a cleaner, more sustainable, and more economical fuel source for this forest-based community. Supporters of the technology believe that it will help provide economic development and sustainable forest industry jobs to the community while cutting costs through energy savings, and reducing impact on municipal landfills due to reduced biomass dumping.
        The original pilot project began in Darby, Montana, where the first school wood heating system in the western states was installed.The elementary, middle, and high schools, which are all located on the same campus, were all heated with one wood-heat plant. Piping from the woodheat plant was extended to serve all three schools.With biomass heating, the school system was able to cut its school heating and hot water bills in half.

Learn LEED Online

        The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has partnered with Turner Construction to launch the USGBC's first web-based training course designed to educate building industry professionals about Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Professional Accreditation requirements. LEED accreditation allows industry professionals to demonstrate their understanding of integrated design and green building practices and principles, and ensures that they have the knowledge and skills needed to successfully steward a building project from design to LEED certification.

        The web-based course,“Essentials of LEED Professional Accreditation,” is three hours long and includes selected case studies, interactive learning exercises, and a practice exam with questions similar to those one would find on the LEED Professional Accreditation exam.
        “The On-line LEED training is one of the many innovative programs USGBC is undertaking to broaden its scope,” says Peter Templeton, vice president of education & research at USGBC.“We are excited about the potential to reach a broader audience and educate as many people we can about the green building process.”
        The course is divided into seven lessons and covers topics such as the LEED rating system, managing the LEED certification process, coordinating a LEED project through its design and construction, and verifying that a project meets LEED requirements.The course is suitable for those who wish to supplement their knowledge of the LEED rating system as well as those who have little knowledge of green building.

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