• 04-Mar-2015 12:28 PM | Medea Villere (Administrator)
    Opportunities for Action: GSA Accepting Public Comments for LEED v4

    Following the overwhelming adoption of LEED v4, GSA initiated a review of v4 to stay current with the evolution of green building certification systems. Last fall, GSA released its review of LEED v4, showing that the newest version of our green building rating system is better aligned than ever with the federal sustainability requirements, and reaffirms LEED as a consensus standard. The report, Green Building Certification System: Supplemental Review of USGBC’S LEED v4 Systems, showed that while there isn’t direct alignment across every federal requirement, LEED v4 is well situated to help accelerate the federal sector’s uptake of the best and leading strategies in green building.

    The GSA needs to hear from you!

    CLICK HERE to contact GSA or see other USGBC Advocacy Highlights. 

  • 27-Feb-2015 10:29 AM | Medea Villere (Administrator)

    Melissa Orsen Appointed CEO of the EDA

    (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen) Feb. 26th, 2015

    The Board of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today voted to approve Melissa Orsen as the authority’s next chief executive officer.

    “Melissa is a highly regarded professional with a deep knowledge of our economic development efforts,” said Governor Chris Christie. “She will be a great asset to the EDA as it continues its work to create jobs and advance business growth in the state.”

    With over 15 years of experience in the public sector, Ms. Orsen will bring considerable knowledge and insight to the EDA. Ms. Orsen is currently deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), where she oversees a budget of more than $3.8 billion and a workforce of approximately 400 employees. In this capacity, Orsen’s duties and responsibilities were wide-ranging, including policy oversight, constituent relations, communications, and legal and procurement matters.

    “Melissa’s background, education and work experience are varied and strong,” EDA Board Chairman Al Koeppe said. “She has a wide range of both experience-based and subject-matter knowledge and an established record of leadership that will serve the EDA well.”

    Ms. Orsen previously served as chief of staff to Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, where her work focused on coordinating and implementing statewide economic growth and job creation strategies. During this time, she also served on the EDA Board as the Governor’s designee.

    Ms. Orsen joined the Lieutenant Governor’s staff in March 2012 from DCA, where she held several key roles, including chief of staff and chief counsel for the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing within DCA. A graduate of the University of Delaware and Widener University School of Law, Ms. Orsen has also served as a deputy attorney general for the state.

    In her role as CEO, Ms. Orsen will oversee the EDA’s strategic direction, leading policy and governance initiatives. She will join the authority on March 9. Ms. Orsen replaces Michele Brown, who led the EDA since October 2012 and is now serving as president and chief executive officer of Choose New Jersey, Inc., a privately funded and operated organization that works to grow investment and jobs in the Garden State.

    Timothy Lizura will continue to serve as president and chief operating officer, where he provides leadership of the EDA’s business operations, including the Authority’s incentive and financing program portfolio, real estate development, and financial and accounting matters.

    The EDA is part of the state’s results-driven Partnership for Action. Created by Governor Christie and led by Lieutenant Governor Guadagno, the Partnership is the hub for all economic development activity in New Jersey and is comprised of four interconnected and highly focused organizational elements: Choose New Jersey, the Business Action Center, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and the EDA.

  • 12-Jan-2015 1:10 PM | Medea Villere (Administrator)
    USGBC NJ Advocacy Report- January 2015

    Legislative Activity: November - December 2014

    Prepared by Advocacy & Management Group (AMG)

    USGBC-NJ was actively involved in the legislative process in October 2014, supporting three prominent bills.

    A2305 w/GR (1R) was passed on December 15, 2014 in the Assembly (71-3-0) to concur with the Governor's CV recommendations. This bill requires DEP Commissioner to periodically study and make recommendations concerning blue roofs and green roofs. This bill is sponsored by Assembly members DeAngelo (D14); Pinkin (D18); Eustace (D38); Spencer (D29). USGBC-NJ submitted Slip of Support in Committee on 3/10/14 and a desk memo on 12/15/14.

    A2579 Aca(1R) reported out of committee with committee amendments and at 2nf Reading in Assembly. The bill authorizes municipalities to facilitate private financing of waster conservation, storm shelter construction and flood and hurricane resistance projects through use of voluntary assessments. The bill is sponsored by Mukherji (D33); Pinto Marin (D29); Eustace (D38). USGBC-NJ submitted a desk memo of support on 12/18/2014

    A2580 Aca(1R) reported out of committee with committee and was referred back to the committee for 2nd reading in Assembly. The bill provides for priority consideration by DCA, DEP, DOT and municipalities for permit applications for green building projects. The bill is sponsored by Mukherji(D33) Pintor Marin(D 29). USGBC-NJ submitted a slip of support in Committee on 12/11/2014

    A3849 Aca(1R) reported out of committee with committee amendments and a 2nd reading Assembly. The bill requires BPU to provide consumer information on third-party electric power and gas supplier pricing and services. The bill is sponsored by DeAngelo (D14) ; Eustace (D38); Mazzeo (D2); Pintor Marin (D29). USGBC-NJ submitted a slip of support in committee on 12/04/2014

    A3850 Aca (1R) reported out of committee with committee amendments and a 2nd reading in the Assembly. The bill requires BPU to establish procedures allowing electric power and gas suppliers to switch energy suppliers. The bill is sponsored by DeAngelo (D14); Eustace (D38); Mazzeo (D2); Pintor Marin (D29). USGBC-NJ submitted a slip of support in committee on 12/04/2014

    A3851 Aca (1R) reported out of committee with committee amendments and for a 2nd reading in the Assembly. The bill imposes contract standards between customers and third-party electric power and gas suppliers. The bills sponsors are DeAngelo (D14); Eustace (D38); Mazzeo (D2); Pinto Marin (D29). USGBC-NJ submitted a slip of support in committee on 12/04/2014

    South Jersey Branch Event January 28
    The second South Jersey Branch Event has been confirmed for Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at the Wyndham Philadelphia-Mount Laurel. BPU Commissioner Fiordaliso and Executive Director of the Energy Resilience Bank, Mitch Carpen, will be the guest speakers at this South Jersey networking event. Commissioner Fiordaliso and Executive Director Carpen will discuss the priorities of the Board of Public Utilities, the Energy Resiliency Bank and the impact of BPU policies on South Jersey residents and businesses. We look forward to another successful event. (NOTE: This event was postponed due to inclement weather. Check here for the rescheduled date.)

  • 02-Jul-2014 9:52 AM | Medea Villere (Administrator)

    NJ Chapter - Advocacy Update

    Florence Block, LEED Green Associate
    Executive Director, USGBC-NJ

    USGBC NJ has been committed to spreading the word about LEED v4, the newest version of the LEED green building program, which launched in November 2013. In an effort to better inform key influencers around the state, the New Jersey Chapter has actively engaged the legislature and Commissioners of various State departments on the importance of LEED and sustainable building. Since February, USGBC NJ has met with 12 members of the New Jersey State legislature, as well as staff of the NJ State Departments and partisan staff.

    Meetings with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs provided an open dialogue about possible public-private collaborative efforts in educating those interested in achieving LEED credentials. We look forward to similar meetings with the Department of Transportation and the Board of Public Utilities in the coming months.

    New Jersey has also been very engaged in legislative efforts to promote green building. Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36), and Senator Bob Smith (D-17), Chair of the Environment and Energy Committee, have introduced legislation that would provide tax credits for certain green buildings. The “Green Building and Infrastructure Tax Credit Act” (S-754) was reported out of committee in March and now awaits second reading by the Senate in the Budget and Appropriations Committee. USGBC NJ strongly supports this legislation and looks forward to working with both Senators as the bill progresses.

    USGBC NJ is continuing to work to better educate legislators, staffers and other influences within the State House on the economic benefits of green building and inform them of current green building efforts in New Jersey.

    Our next advocacy-related event is coming up on July 22nd. USGBC NJ’s South Branch will be hosting a presentation by Senator Donald Norcross and Networking Dinner in Mount Laurel, NJ. Senator Norcross will discuss the topics of economic development, green building, and school construction, particularly in South Jersey. Come out and enjoy a night of networking and socializing with others in green building and advocacy related fields. (More info and register here.)

    If you would like to know more about LEED v4 or New Jersey’s advocacy efforts, please contact me at (973) 290-0013, or

  • 16-Aug-2013 6:28 PM | Medea Villere (Administrator)
    On August 15th, USGBC NJ Vice Chair Wayne DeFeo, on behalf of our Advocacy Committee, attended a joint New Jersey Senate/Assembly committee meeting in Atlantic City.

    As a result of our ongoing advocacy work, USGBC NJ was able to present testimony to this body of legislators to illustrate that sustainable buildings (LEED®, in specific) are more resilient- specifically in relation to storms such as Hurricane Sandy. 

    Our testimony helped to show that LEED is flexible enough to apply to all project types including healthcare facilities, schools, homes, and even entire neighborhoods. LEED addresses resiliency in a number of ways, including: sustainable site credits; smart location and linkage credits; green infrastructure and buildings credits; and for Homes- location and linkage credits. We also profiled a sampling of NJ case studies demonstrating how LEED certified buildings fared in the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy. 

    The Center for Lifelong Learning, a LEED Platinum public school in Sayerville, had no structural damage or flooding, despite the heavy winds and pummeling rain. The LEED Gold Jersey Shore University Medical Center managed to keep their facility powered completely, regardless of the local power outage, by switching over to their co-gen center and a small handful of generators. A LEED Silver private home in Toms River came through with none of the wind damage or flooding experienced by some in the neighborhood, due to its LEED-based durability measures. In fact, even though the house had no electricity for days, a number of sustainable design features allowed it to maintain comfortable temperatures and sufficient natural light. In addition, a school in Bayonne served as an emergency evacuation center when the rest of the town lost power. The otherwise average school had been equipped with a unique solar power system designed to work in conjunction with a diesel generator in the event of a power failure.  

    These are just a handful of examples of how green features can improve the resiliency of public and private buildings and help safeguard these buildings and their inhabitants in the event of extreme storms.  

    Also, please see this blog post on Enviro Politics from Saturday, the 17th. It includes a 3 minute video interview with "Wayne DeFeo on LEED-certified structures and Hurricane Sandy". The interview is following the testimony on the 15th: New Jersey environmentalists on what Sandy taught us.    
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