County to municipalities: It’s easy being green
By: MELISSA HAYES
Burlington County Times
PALMYRA — Municipal officials will have the chance to learn about energy-saving programs during the county’s first Energy Conservation Summit today.
The Burlington County Board of Freeholders and the Burlington County Bridge Commission are sponsoring the event at the Palmyra Cove Nature Park’s Environmental Education Center at 10 a.m.
“There’s a lot of talk right now about going green, but this summit will offer tangible resources for saving energy and reducing energy costs,” Freeholder Director Joseph Donnelly said. “Municipalities, authorities and schools can’t afford to miss this.”
The free event will provide information on energy-saving programs; grants, including opportunities through the state Board of Public Utilities; and financing options, including pooled loans.
The commission has provided grant-writing services to municipalities, schools, and authorities applying for the public utilities board’s energy audit program.
Through the program, auditors determine how energy-efficient a building is and recommend improvements. The state will cover 75 percent of the audit cost, and if a county or municipality implements the proposed changes, the state will pick up the remaining 25 percent. The maximum the state will pay per applicant is $100,000.
The commission and eight municipalities applied for the audit program.
“This energy summit is the next logical step in the process,” Commission Chairman John B. Comegno II said. “Attendees will walk away with more than information - they’ll walk away with a plan to not only save energy but to save dollars as well.”
A representative from the Board of Public Utilities will present information on the New Jersey Clean Energy Program, which promotes energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. The program offers financial incentives and services for residents, businesses and municipalities.
David Gerkens, vice president of Community Grants, Planning & Housing in East Windsor, which writes grants for the commission, will speak about grants and low-interest loans.
Other speakers will include Mike Fischetti and Ray Johnson, founders of Voorhees-based Concord Engineering Group, a mechanical, electrical and energy consulting firm; and attorney Brian Kowalski of Capehart & Scatchard in Trenton, who will address financing opportunities.
June 16, 2009