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The Assembly Education Committee has approved a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora, Pamela Lampitt, Annette Quijano, Thomas Giblin, and Ruben Ramos, Jr. requiring the design of all new public schools to follow industry recognized standards for green building practices.

“From an environmental and fiscal standpoint, these design plans are the responsible way to go,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer). “This bill will ensure that environmentally responsible building practices are followed for years to come.”

“Our kids deserve first-rate educational facilities,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “At the same time, they also deserve to live in a world that hasn’t been irreparably altered by irresponsible environmental practices.”

The bill (A1076) would require all new public schools in New Jersey to incorporate green building practices that would significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact on the environment and the building’s occupants. In doing so, new public schools would be required to incorporate the guidelines developed by the United States Green Building Council known as the “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED).

“This is a forward thinking bill that will ensure that we take the most responsible approach possible when planning our children’s educational environment,” said Quijano (D-Union).

“Smart designs will pay dividends for years to come, creating less of an impact on our environment and fostering a more sound learning institution for students,” said Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic).

“This is about sustainability, but also making sure that the buildings that our kids spend the majority of their day in are safe and environmentally sound,” said Ramos (D-Hudson).

The LEED for Schools program promotes schools that are healthy for students, comfortable for teachers, and cost-effective by addressing issues such as classroom acoustics, master planning, mold prevention, and environmental site assessment. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in key areas, including: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and reDests, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design.

The United States Green Building Council is a non-profit organization composed of leaders from every sector of the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible and healthy places to live and work.

Although similar requirements were instituted by executive order under the previous administration, this legislation would codify these practices into law and ensure that they are incorporated for years to come.