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Assembly Panel Approves Eustace and Spencer Bill to Require New State Building Construction to Include Distributed Energy Resource

Microturbines, Fuel Cells, Solar Panels, Wind Turbines, Gas-Powered Reciprocating Engines Among Listed Distributed Energy Resources

(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel released legislation on Thursday sponsored by Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace and L. Grace Spencer to require any new building having at least 15,000 square feet in total floor area that is to be constructed for the use of a state governmental entity to include a distributed energy resource.

“New state building structures are an opportunity to improve sustainability and energy performance,” said Eustace (D-Bergen, Passaic). “When constructing new buildings we must consider environment friendly designs and look at maximizing efficiency by reducing operation costs and lessening the environmental impact.”

“New buildings designs should include techniques which promote sustainability and energy conservation,” said Spencer (D-Essex), who chairs the Assembly Environment Committee. “Reducing energy consumption and the cost of heating, cooling, and lighting buildings, without sacrificing the building’s efficiency, can save money and help reduce our environmental footprint.”

The bill In addition, the bill requires that when a state governmental entity prepares to reconstruct, renovate, repair, or improve an existing state building having at least 15,000 square feet in total floor area, that the state governmental entity must consider retrofitting the building with a distributed energy resource, and if feasible, include in its request for proposal a specification that the reconstruction, renovation, repair, or improvement include a distributed energy resource.

A “distributed energy resource” is defined in the bill to mean one or more electric power generation, management, and storage technologies, excluding diesel fuel technologies, located at or near the point of energy consumption, which are capable of providing the standard energy needs of a building or structure if the normal source of electricity is disrupted due to a power outage. Distributed energy resources include microturbines, fuel cells, solar panels, wind turbines, gas-powered reciprocating engines, batteries, flywheels, and combined heat and power systems.

The Director of the Division of Property Management and Construction in the Department of Treasury, and the New Jersey Building Authority, would be responsible for enforcing the provisions of this bill. Additionally, all plans, specifications, and bid proposal documents for applicable buildings would have to identify the distributed energy resource to be constructed or utilized by the proposed building. Finally, the requirements of the bill would not apply to any building for which a request for proposal to design, reconstruct, renovate, repair, or improve the building has been issued prior to the effective date of the bill, and are in addition to other statutory requirements that require state buildings to be designed and managed to meet standards for a high performance green building.

The bill was released by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.