(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly members Raj Mukherji, Eliana Pintor-Marin, Elizabeth Muoio, Jamel Holley and Nicholas Chiaravalloti that would fast-track environmentally friendly municipal construction projects was advanced by the Senate Energy and Environment Committee on Monday.
“Fast tracking green construction jobs will give a much needed boost to our state’s economic engine,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “Ensuring that engine is fueled with environmentally friendly projects is an added bonus that will pay economic and environmental dividends for years to come.”
The legislation (A-2081) would instruct the state departments of Community Affairs (DCA), Environmental Protection (DEP), and Transportation (DOT) and municipal agencies to give priority consideration to permit applications for green building projects.
“Creating new, green jobs in New Jersey is a win-win for our economy and the environment,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “Moving projects like these forward in an expedited manner will help prove to other manufacturing sectors that economic stimulus and environmental protection don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”
“This is a great incentive that will help encourage the building of environmentally-friendly buildings in the state,” said Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “By expediting the permit process for these specific projects, we can help strengthen our economy while being considerate of the environment,”
“This is a step in the right direction,” said Holley (D-Union). “Fast-tracking these projects not only helps create jobs and stimulate the economy, but will hopefully encourage developers to focus more on sustainable building designs which are much better for the environment.”
“Bureaucratic hurdles can often stall development,” said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “Prioritizing these projects will help the state reap the economic benefits more efficiently, and encourage more green building projects which are good for the environment and the economy.”
Under the bill, a project would qualify as a “green building project” if the project has documented incorporation of site, water, energy, and resource efficiency measures and demonstrable practices to promote the health and well-being of the building occupants.
Such documentation would have to be submitted and demonstrate that the project has been registered for certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System as adopted by the United States Green Building Council, or an alternative compliance path in accordance with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 189 minimum requirements, compliance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 700 National Green Building Standard, or compliance with minimum performance requirements of the International Green Construction Code.
The bill would require an application receiving priority consideration to include a letter from a licensed architect or engineer describing how the project qualifies as a green building project and a narrative outlining the sustainable attributes of the project in accordance with the rating systems and standards set forth in the bill.
The bill would take effect immediately.
The bill was approved 54-19-1 by the Assembly on May 22 and now awaits further consideration by the Senate President.