Hamilton Sets Sights on a “Clean and Green” Future, Beginning 2010 with its Climate Action Plan
Improving Hamilton’s environmental sustainability and reducing energy costs…two goals that Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo is seeking to achieve through Hamilton’s new Climate Action Plan.
As 2010 begins, Hamilton Township will take its Climate Action Plan and embark upon a decade long mission to reduce the entire community’s carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent through initiatives that aim at reducing energy consumption and utilizing alternative energy sources. Only a few towns in New Jersey have instituted Climate Action Plans, and Hamilton will become the largest town in the state to do so. At the February 2, 2010 Township Council meeting, a resolution will be considered to formally adopt Hamilton’s Climate Action Plan.
“It makes environmental sense and financial ‘cents’ to move forward with this important sustainability initiative,” says Mayor Bencivengo. “When we talk about our Township’s ‘Clean and Green’ motto, it is not just talk. It is a commitment of mine, and our entire administration, to improve our environment, reduce our energy costs and preserve a high quality of life for our future generations of Hamilton residents.”
Over the past 2 years, the Township has worked to formulate a number of action steps that have became part of Hamilton’s Climate Action Plan.
Action Steps for a Clean and Green Future
Some steps of the Climate Action Plan include the continuation and formalizing of practices Mayor Bencivengo has started during the past 2 years, such as a:
ü 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. This includes the use of alternative clean burning fuels.
ü 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
ü A “Green Office” for residents and local businesses to come for information on environmental sustainability, energy efficiency programs, green initiatives and grants.
New Action Steps
New steps in Hamilton’s Climate Action Plan hope to build upon the successes of the Township’s current practices. They include:
ü Renewable Hamilton, which is a plan to utilize solar and biomass energy opportunities throughout the Township. The initiative plans for the:
o Installation of solar panels on various Township buildings
o Creation of a food waste to energy program in cooperation with Rutgers University, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, local supermarkets, restaurants, and schools, which all generate large amounts of biomass. Rutgers University studies indicate that a town of 50,000 people can produce enough food waste to provide feedstock for a medium-sized electrical generating plant. At the same time, this food waste comes out of the waste stream, which can reduce waste hauling and landfill expenses by as much as 50 percent.
ü Increased Bicycle and Pedestrian opportunities, a goal of decreasing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by expanding and promoting alternatives to automobile travel. Hamilton will look to expand bicycle and walking paths, as well as consider linking existing bicycle lanes to help encourage these forms of recreation and travel. The Township will investigate available State and Federal grant opportunities to achieve this goal.
ü Increased Mass Transit Access to and from the Hamilton Train Station and local shopping centers, which will reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions while also assisting Hamilton’s local economy. In particular, Mayor Bencivengo will look towards mass transit opportunities from the Hamilton Train Station to encourage the growth of the Township’s plans for its Arts and Cultural District, which may include the use of trackless trolleys. Hamilton will investigate funding opportunities that may be available through New Jersey Transit.
ü A Community Educational Program with Hamilton’s Public Schools will also be an integral part of the Climate Action Plan. Through the partnership with the Public Schools, Hamilton hopes to promote ways to reduce harmful carbon and greenhouse gas emissions to local students, and in turn, have the students educate the community on ways residents can assist in reducing such emissions.
“With this Climate Action Plan, our entire community can work together to reduce harmful carbon and greenhouse gas emission and to ensure Hamilton remains ‘Clean and Green’ in 10 years, and beyond,” summarizes Mayor Bencivengo. “Environmental and financially, it is the right step to take to protect and preserve the future of ‘America’s Favorite Hometown.”