First-Ever "Energy Conservation Summit" Draws Crowd
More than 50 representatives from municipalities, authorities, and schools packed the Palmyra Cove Nature Park Environmental Education Center for Burlington County’s first-ever Energy Conservation Summit on June 16th. Hosted by the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Burlington County Bridge Commission, the program showcased a top-notch panel that offered in-depth explanations of energy-saving programs, grants available to fund program applications, and financing options to implement green initiatives.
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Freeholder Director Joseph B. Donnelly, who opened the program, set the stage: “The game plan is to provide insight not only into energy audits and energy saving programs, but also how to land the grants and low-cost loans that make them all the more attractive.”
Presenters outlined programs offered through the State and the Board of Public Utilities, grant opportunities which may assist organizations in meeting the new challenge, and money-saving financing opportunities like pooled loans. Commission representatives sought feedback from attendees as far as how the Commission could assist them in taking advantage of these offerings.
Joseph Sullivan, NJBPU's Business Energy Ombudsman, provided details about energy-saving improvement programs like the NJ Clean Energy Program, outlining the purpose of the program, potential audit findings, and how organizations can comply with audit recommendations.
Mike Fischetti of Concord Engineering Group presented "Next Generation Performance Contracting in New Jersey" in which he explained steps to take for energy-saving projects (energy audit preparation, project implementation, bidding process, and selection process) and offered suggestions for better energy performance controls. Ray Johnson, also of Concord Engineering, clarified the Local Governement Energy Audit (LGEA)---what it entails, what recommendations result, and what steps organizations need to take to perform such an audit.
David Gerkens, Vice President of Communities Grants Planning and Housing (CGP&H), talked about grants and programs available for energy conservation projects such as the Energy Efficiency Conservations Block Grant (EECBG), LGEA Program, NJ SmartStart Building Program, Renewable Energy Incentive Program, Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC), Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), and Energy Saving Improvement Program (ESIP). CGP&H is an East Windsor-based firm with expertise in soliciting county, state, federal, and private sector grant and low-interest loan programs; in its work with the Bridge Commission, CGP&H has secured more than $5.8 million dollars in grants for Burlington County municipalities.
Brian Kowalski, Esq., addressed money-saving financing opportunities available through the Bridge Commission such as pooled lease purchase and governmental loan financings. Both are designed to achieve a lower cost of capital money through economies of scale, lower interest rates, and/or lower cost of issuance---with no shared liabilities. This allows public entities to get and do what they need, all with the benefit of property tax relief.
Previously, the Bridge Commission sponsored preparation of applications for municipalities, authorities, and schools for the NJBPU’s Energy Audit Program, coordinated and procured contractors to implement the energy-conservation measures identified in the audits, and offered attractive, low-cost financing to purchase equipment related to implementing audit recommendations. Applications are in process on behalf of the Bridge Commission and 8 municipalities.
“This Energy Summit is the next logical step in the process,” said Bridge Commission Chairman John B. Comegno II. “Attendees will walk away with more than information—they’ll walk away with a plan to not only save energy but to save dollars as well.”
He added, “Now more than ever, our taxpayers need the relief this kind of shared service brings.”
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The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of approximately $13 million dollars.
Freeholder Director Joseph B. Donnelly opened the first-ever Energy Conservation Summit, hosted by the Freeholders and Bridge Commission.
Take the Family to PCNP this Summer Vacation
On consecutive Monday mornings in June PCNP will offer Summer Vacation Family Fun Programs. While school may be finished for the year, we invite visitors to join us from 10:00 AM until 11:30 AM for a family learning experience that features hikes with fun names like Woods Walk, Meadow March, River Romp, and Wetland Wading.
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Our resident naturalist Kristina Merola created this experience, which replaces “Cove Caterpillars” and promises a larger turnout and a wider range in the age of the children. There’s still time to get in on the fun June 22 and June 29, but call now! (856) 829-1900, ext. 270.
Delaware River Sojourn Members to Pitch Camp at PCNP
2009 marks the 15th year of the Delaware River Sojourn, a week-long paddling excursion on the wild and scenic Delaware River. This year, when Sojourn Members make their traditional 300-mile paddle down river from Hancock, NY to Penn’s Landing, PA, they will camp overnight on the grounds of PCNP’s Environmental Discovery Center on Friday, June 26th.
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After dinner and a program in the Center Friday evening and breakfast on Saturday morning, they will depart for the final leg of their trip. We have hosted this group 5 out of the past 6 years and look forward to doing so again this year. The Sojourn has become a sure sign for us of the beginning of summer.