Building a Greener Future

by NJBA Sponsor BPU

We hear the words a lot. But what does a greener future look like? In many ways, the answer is up to you. Embracing a greener future benefits you, your clients and all of New Jersey and, in no small part, the planet.

We’re already seeing the effects of climate change here at home and around the world. But it’s not too late to change the course of our future. The State of New Jersey is already proving to be a national leader in the move to a greener future, with a commitment to 100% clean energy by 2050 across the state. Through the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) and its Clean Energy Program (NJCEP), our local utility providers, residents, and builders like you, we can make that important goal happen.

As a builder, architect, supplier or subcontractor, if you’re involved in a new construction project or substantial renovation, there are choices you can make and steps you can take to make a positive difference—and save money at the same time. NJCEP is here to help you do just that.

Residential Construction

ENERGY STAR Incentives

New Jersey has a great incentive program to help builders build ENERGY STAR homes. Despite this, only 4,000 out of 20,000 homes are built to ENERGY STAR standards every year. The opportunities and incentives to build more energy efficient homes has never been greater—and getting started has never been easier. Depending on your project, there are a variety of designations you can aim to achieve when you build with clean energy in mind.

New Jersey ENERGY STAR Homes are designed to achieve 15% more energy efficiency than the building code. These homes meet ENERGY STAR version 3.0 or 3.1 standards, which means they are ENERGY STAR certified.

New Jersey Zero Energy Ready Homes require a high energy efficiency achievement in new home construction. The program requirements include meeting or exceeding all U.S. DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes technical standards, building in compliance with the ENERGY STAR Homes Program checklists, meeting 2015 IECC insulation levels, and certifying under U.S. EPA’s Indoor airPLUS Program.

Zero Energy Home +RE (ZERH+Renewables)
This pathway has the same requirements as the ZERH pathway with the additional requirement that 100% of the building’s modeled energy usage is met by renewable energy systems installed prior to completion of the home.

Multi-Family High Rise (MFHR) Program requires 15% increased energy savings above code. This pathway will satisfy the requirements for ENERGY STAR Multi-Family New Construction (MFNC) Version 1.1 certification. Multi-Family new construction projects that do not qualify for the MFHR program may qualify for one of the other cand industrial new construction programs.

If you have questions about the NJ Residential Construction Program, please contact a Qualified Rater, professionals who are specially trained to assess homes using the Home Energy Rating System (HERS), the system officially recognized by the State. If you are a working with a builder, encourage them to learn more about the NJ Residential New Construction Program. Find out more information about the program through the Program Guide.

Commercial and Industrial Construction

NJCEP also offers a variety of financial incentives to encourage more energy efficient construction of new commercial and industrial facilities in New Jersey. Opportunities exist for building owners, designers, and architects to adopt cost-effective, energy efficient design choices in qualifying new construction and substantial renovation projects. By providing incentives to support design beyond the minimum efficiency required by building codes, NJCEP aims to produce the most efficient buildings in the nation.

New Construction Energy Efficiency Programs

The three programs offered for energy efficiency projects in new construction are outlined below. If you’re not sure which track is best for your project, contact NJ’s Clean Energy  Program outreach team or an approved trade ally today.

These programs serve new construction and/or substantial renovation projects only. For assistance with new projects in existing buildings, inquire with your electric and gas utilities.

Whole Building/Comprehensive: Pay for Performance Program

This program is designed for commercial, industrial, and multi-family buildings with 50,000 square feet or more of planned conditioned space. NJCEP staff and our approved partners can provide guidance and help you earn incentives when constructing your building to exceed current energy code requirements (ASHRAE 90.1-2016). The Pay for Performance Program (P4P) incentivizes building owners, developers, or other applicants to take a comprehensive, long-term approach to incorporating energy efficiency in their buildings.

Multi-Measure: Customer Tailored Energy Efficiency Program

This program allows customers over 50,000 square feet to bundle multiple prescriptive and custom measures—including energy efficient lighting, HVAC, and other energy efficient technologies into a single, streamlined application without enrolling in a whole-building program. Customers are also eligible for technical assistance incentives to help offset soft costs associated with custom measure development.

Eligible sectors may include but are not limited to K-12 schools, colleges or universities, hospitals, large office buildings, multistory retail, industrial and manufacturing. There is no minimum energy savings requirement per measure or per project.

Single Measure: SmartStart Buildings Program

SmartStart offers prescriptive and custom incentives for projects addressing individual electric or gas equipment upgrades. This program provides fixed incentives for the installation of popular energy efficient technologies with well-established energy savings, such as lighting, HVAC, and food service equipment.  Additionally, custom incentives are offered for non-standard, complex, or specialized technologies that perform beyond code requirements.

Become a Trade Ally

NJCEP maintains a list of trade allies that perform energy efficiency and renewable engineering, design, installation, and maintenance services for commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities in New Jersey. The Trade Ally Sign-up and Search Tool resides on the NJCEP website.

This list is available to prospective program participants as an informational source and to encourage trade allies to participate in New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program.  The Trade Ally Search Tool aids in identifying trade allies who may be able to assist potential NJCEP participants in specific program offerings.

Achieving 100% clean energy by 2050 may seem like a lofty goal, but it is well within our reach. When we work together to build more energy efficient buildings, we all benefit—our businesses, our clients, our communities, our economy, and our future.