Green Future is in Hamilton's Sights with Green Office
Hamilton Township's future is looking green...and plans for a new township office hope to keep it that way.
When the Township Council considers an ordinance on first reading this evening to create a Green Initiatives Commission, they will not only be furthering the Township’s own environmental sustainability efforts, but laying the groundwork for what could become a way to generate grant funding for the Township’s upcoming “Green Office”.
Hamilton’s Green Office will be a place for residents and local businesses to come for information on environmental sustainability, energy efficiency programs, green initiatives and grants. It will also promote Hamilton’s “Clean and Green” vision for the community.
The office will be located in a vacant room on the first floor of the Township Municipal Building, providing easy access for residents once it opens. There, residents will be able to find information on solar panels and environmentally-friendly ways to help save on energy costs. Local businesses will be able to find information on state and federal grants, as well as information on “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) building standards.
By implementing the Green Initiatives Commission, the Township Council will allow Hamilton to qualify for “Sustainable New Jersey” certification. As the program’s website states, the certification exists for New Jersey towns who want to “go green, control costs and save money, and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term.” One of the benefits of the prestigious certification is that some environmental grant funding programs that Hamilton may be eligible for give higher preference to towns with the “Sustainable New Jersey” distinction. Therefore, the creation of the Green Initiatives Commission will be a way to help fund the office’s goals in promoting a cleaner Hamilton.
“Hamilton Township is a beautiful community that we want to keep ‘clean and green’ for years to come, for the benefit of our children and grandchildren. When the Green Office opens its doors to the public, it will be a tremendous resource for providing information to residents and businesses on ways they can help protect and preserve our environment and our community,” said Mayor John Bencivengo.
Hamilton Township has been a leader in innovative green initiatives and environmental sustainability efforts. Recently, Hamilton became the first community in the state of New Jersey to require and successfully implement the use of trucks that run on clean-burning natural gas for garbage collections services. But other notable efforts that the Hamilton has embarked upon or completed are:
ü A “Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory” of all Township buildings and fleet vehicles. By using 2005 as a “base year”, the Township has set a goal of reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 25%, by the year 2020. So far, Hamilton has successful reduced its energy usage and emissions by 5%
ü A “Building Energy Conservation Plan”, which includes the replacement of incandescent lights with compact florescent lights, the installation of occupancy sensors in rooms that are not frequently occupied, the replacement of older florescent lighting systems with high efficiency electronic ballasts and more energy efficient bulbs, the use of Light Emitting Diode (or L.E.D.) technology wherever possible and improvements for the lighting systems at many Township athletic fields, such as at DeMeo Field in Veterans Park and the softball fields at Warwick Park. New lighting has produced an approximately 40% reduction in energy usage
ü A “Green Fleet Policy” for the Township’s motor fleet, which requires the purchase of automobiles that offer us the highest fuel efficiencies while meeting operational needs
ü The use of biodiesel (or B-20) to fuel remaining Township vehicles that run on diesel. B-20 consists of 80% petroleum and 20% soybean oil
ü Future plans to install Diesel Retrofits on Township Diesel vehicles to remove the most harmful of emissions they produce
ü An Anti-Idling Policy for all Township vehicles
ü A “Green Ordering Executive Order”, that requires the purchasing of environmentally-friendly cleaning products, recycled paper and other products