High Bridge is now part of a select group of New Jersey municipalities that have achieved Sustainable Jersey certification. Sustainable Jersey is a State-wide initiative focused on helping municipalities identify and implement strategies to improve energy efficiency, reduce environmental impacts, and improve the residents’ quality of life. Most of the actions are specifically designed to be either low cost or pay for themselves through energy savings.
To achieve Sustainable Jersey bronze level certification, High Bridge formed a Municipal Green Team. The Green Team Members are:
Lisa Zambito, Chair; Lynn Hughes; Linda Lucas; and Diane Seals
The Green Team then completed ten other actions to meet the 150-point bronze certification requirement. These actions included conducting energy inventories of all municipal buildings, holding an annual electronics recycling event, adopting a tree protection ordinance, completing a natural resource inventory, hosting a local farmers’ market, and conducting educational outreach programs for the community focused on lead poisoning and living alongside wild animals such as bears.
“Over the past year and a half, the High Bridge Green Team has done a tremendous job completing the many actions required for Bronze Certification,” said High Bridge Environmental Commission Chairman John Farrell. “While achieving certification in such a short period highlights the dedication of the Green Team; it wouldn’t have been possible without the active support of the town residents, Borough Council, and Mayor.”
“None of the actions completed to achieve Sustainable Jersey certification required additional taxpayer expenditure,” noted Farrell. “We were able to leverage significantly off activities already completed by the Borough.” For example, the energy efficiency audit of municipal buildings was completed as part of efforts funded from a grant from New Jersey Clean Energy Program. Efficiency upgrades to Borough Hall, the firehouse, police station, and rescue squad buildings were completed last September. Additionally, the annual electronics recycling and town-wide cleanup day are funded through Clean Communities Program funds.
As a Sustainable Jersey community, High Bridge is now eligible to apply for grants to help fund further actions. Since 2009, more than half a million dollars has been awarded through the Sustainable Jersey Small Grants program.
High Bridge’s certification is valid for three years and was recognized at the fourth-annual Sustainable Jersey Awards Luncheon at the New Jersey League of Municipalities’ Conference in November 2013.
For more information about Sustainable Jersey, please visit their website.