By Robert Gluck
Hopewell is going green, with as the Beatles have succinctly put it – a little help from its friends at Rutgers University.
According to an article titled “Hopewell Changes Local Laws to Be Environmentally Friendly”, published in New Jersey’s The Star-Ledger, if the officials in this Mercer County town are interested in showing off the central New Jersey borough’s brand new green-conscious land usage laws, they need only wait until it rains!
The borough’s pavement is composed of a porous material that absorbs rainwater effortlessly, while also conveniently preventing runoff and recharging the water supply at the same time.
Well, that’s how LEED certified buildings work – healthier work, better utilization of resources, increased productivity and of course, much better (read – greener) lifestyle choices.
Now the question that arises is – are they pursuing a LEED certification yet?
Any strenuous efforts from their end to score the maximum LEED points/ratings or strain for a LEED exam prep?
While we wait with bated breath on those crucial queries, let’s talk about the major innovative (very green-focused) design & structure changes taking place at Hopewell.
Basically a rural ‘upper middleclass’ town, Hopewell, redesigned its land-use ordinances and adopted other environmentally-friendly rules with the helping hand of the Rutgers Center for Green Building and a grant from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions.
The Rutgers’s website puts across these viewpoints about the Center’s programs: “The Rutgers Center for Green Building, housed at the E.J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, forms a common umbrella for existing and proposed initiatives being carried out through separate Centers at the Bloustein School, the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (formerly Cook College), the School of Engineering and other Rutgers units that are integral to developing and implementing innovative green building strategies.
The Center conducts applied research utilizing planned and existing green building projects, works with industry and government to promote these concepts, and develops undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs.
Initial funding was provided by the Rutgers University Academic Excellence Fund and subsequently by our strategic partners and clients and through various grants.
The Rutgers Center for Green Building seeks to establish itself as the pre-eminent interdisciplinary center for green building excellence in the Northeast, while serving as a single accessible locus for fostering collaboration among green building practitioners and policymakers.”
For more vital ‘green’ information on Rutgers, follow this link - http://www.greenbuildingrutgers.us/.
Hopewell’s administrator and engineer Paul Pogorzelski believes that working with Rutgers helped immensely.
“They worked with us on creating a package for land-use criteria, like recycling, building design, pedestrian circulation, bike ways and pedestrian ways,” Pogorzelski informed. “It’s a big deal to change our land-use ordinances.”
Since March, 227 of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities have taken part in the Sustainable Jersey program, which teaches local leaders how to go green.
Hopewell has also installed solar panels on its public works building and is planning to purchase alternative-fuel vehicles.
Now, a LEED AP certification would just about make Hopewell’s precious green efforts truly green!