Going green doesn’t have anything to do with choosing a natural paint color for your kitchen, or planting herbs in your community garden. But the phrase can have many different meanings and can be done across a broad spectrum. Turning off lights in rooms you’re not occupying is a small green move; installing a gigantic wind turbine in your backyard is a bigger one. Different communities throughout New Jersey place green practices and programming at different positions on their lists of priorities—and the steps they take depend on funding, community interest, feasibility and other factors.
“I believe there has been a greater interest in going green in our industry. The Baby Boomer generation was much more sensitive to the ramifications our lifestyle has on our environment than their parent’s generation,” says George Vallone, president of The Hoboken Brownstone Company. “I believe the Boomer’s children, the Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are even more so.”
While New Jersey has had a mandatory recycling law on the books since 1987, state figures indicated that there has been an uptick in recycling efforts. In 2010, a 40 percent recycling rate for municipal solid waste was reported, which was up from 37 percent in 2009. However, the rate is still below the state’s goal of 50 percent.
A Greener State of Mind
Co-op and condominium boards are getting the message that green is not only good for the environment, it is good for the balance sheet, which mirrors a 2010 Accenture survey of 766 chief executives worldwide. The report found that 93 percent see sustainability as important for the future of their businesses, with 81 percent citing that they have already integrated sustainability into their businesses practices.
“New Jersey has fantastic green, sustainable opportunities that can save buildings lots of money,” says Allan Samuels, president of the North Brunswick-based engineering consultant Energy Squared. Working with multifamily residential facilities, developers as well as commercial and industrial property owners, the firm provides mechanical, electrical and plumbing designs, specifications, building performance modeling, energy simulations and renewable energy services. “The state of New Jersey has some of the best incentives,” he says adding that his company is currently working with 20 to 30 multifamily buildings that are benefiting from tapping into sustainable initiatives.