Going green in New Jersey is getting a bit easier, thanks to a range of public and private programs offering economic help and other incentives.
The New Jersey Sustainable Business Registry promotes eco-friendly businesses and offers free consultation on best practices for pollution prevention, waste reduction and energy conservation.
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ Office of Clean Energy administers the state’s Clean Energy Program, which promotes increased energy efficiency and the use of clean energy. The program has awarded grants to companies using natural gas vehicles instead of diesel-powered trucks.
The New Jersey Sustainable Business Council advocates for sustainable business practices.
“There are significant economic advantages that come from making your business more sustainable,” NJSBC Executive Director Richard Lawton said. “Being good citizens, protecting this planet for our children’s children and running a successful business are not mutually exclusive.”
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop recently announced that the city’s Office of Sustainability, Small Business Services and Environmental Commission were launching a Green Business Certification Program to help local businesses implement sustainable practices in energy, waste and water use.
Also recently, representatives of the state Clean Energy Program visited the city to detail tax-free funding of energy-efficiency business improvements.
And reps from the New Jersey Sustainability Business Registry — a partnership of Rutgers University’s New Jersey Small Business Development Centers and the state Department of Environmental Protection — were in town to schedule appointments with businesses for sustainability consultations.
“Businesses are a key part of the Jersey City community, and engaging with local business is integral to the city’s sustainability program,” Fulop said. “The Green Business Certification program and sustainable business classes will help local businesses save money, reduce their environmental impact and help make Jersey City a leader in urban sustainability.”
The city’s Office of Sustainability is helping to lead and develop the program, developing certification tiers, exploring incentives, developing marketing and business education materials and conducting outreach to the business community.
Elsewhere, Ewing Township in Mercer County has a program that recognizes businesses for practices such as installing energy-efficient windows or heating and cooling systems. Participating businesses are noted on the town’s Green Team website and get stickers declaring their green-mindedness.
“[The program] gives us an opportunity both to promote the work our outstanding local businesses already do towards keeping Ewing sustainable, as well as encourage future environmentally friendly practices,” according to township officials.
Said program coordinator Evan Crumiller: “The business leaders of our community deserve recognition for the work they do. And this effort will not only provide that recognition but also incentives for local businesses to turn towards sustainable practices for the benefit of future generations of customers.”
Green Team members include The Robbins Pharmacy, which “utilizes reused, refilled and remanufactured supplies, reduces everyday printing and prints on recycled paper, appropriately recycles electronic equipment, and used low-emissions building materials when remodeling,” according to the website.
The pharmacy also has a 220-panel solar array on the roof to power the building.
Paul’s Liquor Store in Ewing Township replaced standard fluorescent lights with low-mercury fluorescents; it also prints on the back of previously used paper and utilizes timed lighting controls. Additionally, the shop has installed high-efficiency faucet aerators and low-water usage toilets.
Summarized NJSBC’s Lawton: “Increasing energy efficiency, switching to renewable energy, protecting water resources and creating ‘high road’ workplaces that value long-term employee and environmental health are crucial components for financial success in today’s marketplace.”