• 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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