Cape May awarded Sustainable Jersey award

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CAPE MAY – Cape May will be awarded the Champion Award from Sustainable Jersey in the small municipal category at the annual Sustainable Jersey Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the League of Municipalities Conference.

“Cape May City has a long history of making the right decisions to be a sustainable community, due in large part by our very active Environmental Commission,” said Mayor Ed Mahaney. “Being a sustainable city is just good government and good business. Cape May has already seen savings as result of this effort and we expect to see more in the future.”

Cape May scored the most points of any small community in New Jersey and is one of only four communities in 2012 to have achieved the highly regarded Silver Certification. Each of these achievements requires that the city comply with dozens of actions.

In 2011, city council established the Cape May City Green Team and retained a local planning firm, Rutala Associates, to assist the city to become more sustainable. The Green Team met monthly and worked establish new efforts to save on energy costs, market the city as a green community and adopted new purchasing and building guidelines.

Currently, 62 percent of New Jersey’s towns and cities - 378 communities across all 21 counties – have registered to become Sustainable Jersey certified. The Sustainable Jersey Program has distributed over $500,000 to New Jersey communities to support an estimated 1,400 actions taken to make communities more livable, environmentally friendly and prosperous.

Cape May recently was awarded a $10,000 Sustainable Jersey grant to erect a small wind turbine at the Cape May Elementary School. The city was also awarded over $100,000 in grant funds for energy efficiency upgrades to City Hall, the Public Works Complex, the Fire Station and the Franklin Street School. These improvements are projected to shave $25,000 off the city’s electric bill annually.

The city also received a $26,000 grant to complete an energy audit of a dozen city owned buildings. Recently, the city participated in a seminar at the Convention Hall to help local businesses learn how they can also take advantage of these energy savings programs.

To further save on electric costs the city has solar panels on the Public Works Building, the Life Guard Headquarters and the new Convention Hall. The Green Team has also worked to reduce idling emissions, encourage recycling, and revise the city’s website to include many of its green initiatives.

Sustainable Jersey is a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey. Launched in 2009, Sustainable Jersey is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports community efforts to reduce waste, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and improve environmental equity.

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