Bernards Looking To Take More 'Green' Measures
Bernards Township, already given top state certification for environmental steps, looks ahead to next round.
Bernards Township already was ahead of the game when the municipality initially was certified as a Sustainable Jersey community in 2008, and then received the state's top recognition for the program when given silver certification, as one of the first six in N.J., in 2011.
But in order to keep that certification, the township will need to earn more "points" by the time Bernards is up for renewal of its silver in 2014, said Township Administrator Bruce McArthur.
The township's "Green Team," created by Mayor Mary Pavlini when she first was mayor in 2006, met on Monday to brainstorm about some of the steps to take. Those efforts included pesticide-free programs on township and school properties and the use of more energy efficient lights. Some of the 395 points earned in 2011, in excess of the 350 for the amount required for silver certification, will remain valid for the next time, but other initiatives would need to be resubmitted or would need updated documentation, said Joel Coyne, the township's registered environmental specialist.
Not all of Bernards' efforts will gain points, McArthur said. For example, he said there is no general category for "lawn chemicals education," an area in which the township has offered an example, and then information for residents.
McArthur said the township has shied away from programs that he said would force residents to take mandatory steps. For example, passing a water conservation ordinance that would only allow residents to water grass on certain days would earn 20 points in the program, but he said township officials have not wanted to "ram things down peoples' throats."
Education has been a big part of the program, and the township's zoning officer, Nancy Koederitz, will be advising anyone who seeks a permit on how to take steps for "green" construction, said McArthur and Township Engineer Tom Timko.
Information on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, in which Koederitz is certified, also is on the township website, Timko said.
McArthur added that a proposed project to have a private vendors install solar panels at the township's Pill Hill Road landfill property is due to come before the Planning Board in October, even though the Township Committee already has improved a contract with the installer.