The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has been launched a federally funded mechanism to help schools and small businesses in the state repair and replace heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, plumbing, and certain appliances.
More than $135 million of the $180 million allocated in the School and small business incentive program for energy efficiency will be earmarked for the Garden State’s most underprivileged communities, according to NJBPU President Joseph Fiordaliso.
Fiordaliso said many of the eligible locations are in older cities where the infrastructure is outdated without being sufficiently updated.
“I find it much more exciting because it targets underserved communities and offers what I think is more equality,” he said.
And not only are these systems outdated in many cases, according to Fiordaliso, but they may also not meet modern efficiency or health standards.
“When you talk about water, we’re talking about conservation. In fact, water consumes the most energy of any other industry,” he said. “If they are old cities, you would think the pipes must be old. So it is important that we rectify this as much as possible.”
The program is based on legislation signed by Governor Phil Murphy in August, and supported by Senate Speaker Stephen Sweeney, Senator Troy Singleton, and Assembly members Wayne DeAngelo, Thomas Giblin and Pamela Lampitt.
While the timeline under which each individual school or company will make these repairs will vary, NJBPU plans to begin approving applications on Wednesday, December 1.
Fiordaliso said swift action is needed to get these buildings and their communities up to speed — and up to code.
“We need to attack climate change from many different directions if we are to be successful, and we need to engage every segment of our population if we are to be successful,” he said.
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