BPU to Invest $8M to Enhance Energy Efficiency at Two State Buildings

Tom Johnson | February 23, 2017 | Energy & Environment
Hughes Justice Complex, New Jersey DEP — both in Trenton — to get makeover to increase energy conservation, save on electric and gas bills

New Jersey Supreme Court at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton
The Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection building are in store for energy makeovers that are expected to save more than a half million dollars annually.

The state Board of Public Utilities yesterday approved plans for energy conservation projects for the two prominent Trenton buildings, along with the East Hanover school district and two buildings in Jersey City, totaling $8.2 million through the New Jersey Clean Energy program.

The program provides a range of financial incentives to help fund energy-efficiency projects for residents, businesses, and government entities, enabling them to conserve energy and reduce utility bills. It is funded through a surcharge on customers’ monthly gas and electric bills.

The savings from the latest round of incentives are projected to run approximately $835,000 a year, according to the BPU.

“Through the implementation of the Christie administration’s state Energy Master Plan, the board continues to encourage and offer significant financial incentives to residents, businesses, local governments, and school districts to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings,’’ said BPU President Richard Mroz.

The plan to adopt energy efficiency measures at the two state buildings was undertaken in a memorandum of understanding between the board and the state Department of Treasury. As part of the agreement, the board will commit $7.5 million of its fiscal year 2017 clean energy budget to cover the costs of the two projects. The justice complex will receive $5.7 million, the DEP $1.8 million.

Currently, the total utility bills for the Hughes justice complex are roughly $4.2 million. With replacement of its heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning controls and other improvements to its heating/cooling and lighting systems, it is projected the savings yearly will amount to roughly $496,000.

The DEP building on East State Street spends nearly $1 million on utility expenses annually. Energy conservation projects at the building are expected to save $148,900 a year, according to the board.

“The equipment upgrades to these buildings will result in energy, operation, and maintenance cost-savings for the state,’’ said Chris Chianese, director of the Division of Property Management and Construction in the Treasury Department.

The board also approved an application by Summit Plaza in Jersey City to install three natural-gas-fueled engines to serve two multifamily buildings. The combined heat and power (CHP) system will cost about $2 million and save roughly $180,000 a year in energy costs. The incentive amounted to $600,000.

In addition, the BPU approved a fuel-cell/CHP system for the East Hanover school system with an incentive of $135,537.