Warren Township's Green Team has won the prestigious award 2013 Environmental Achievement Award from The Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) at the statewide organization's 40th Annual Environmental Congress, based upon its creation of a checklist of practices for making new construction within Warren more "green."
The township Green Team won this award for its "Low Impact" checklists for construction and planning which encourages applicants submitting development plans to incorporate environmentally friendly practices into building projects.
The award presentation for "an outstanding environmental project by nonprofit or community organizations or boards" was given out at Middlesex County College last Saturday, according to Laura Mandell, chair of the Green Team, and Warren Township Committeewoman Carolann Garafola.
Over an eight-month time period, the Green Team created two Low Impact Checklists, one for planning and one for construction, Garafola said.
Input came from the Warren Environmental Commission, Township Committee and staff from the planning, engineering and construction departments, she said.
The checklist currently is handed out as advisory information and as recommendations when residents and builders apply for construction permits, Garafola said.
Checklist given to Watchung Hills HS for $12-million referendum project
The checklists have been provided to the Watchung Hills Regional High School's business, operations and architecture representatives for guidance as WHRHS begins to develop and implement a $12-million infrastructure construction program approved by voters in September, she said.
The checklists to encourage individuals and other developers submitting site plans for development proposals to incorporate environmentally friendly practices prior to planning and construction, Mandell said.
The Low Impact checklists, comprised of a planning and a construction list, in addition to being developed with the participation of the Green Team, Environmental Commission and assigned Township Committee members Garafola and Mick Marion, also received professional input from the township's administrator, planner and engineer, and the construction official, Mandell said.
Mandell further explained that the Low Impact Checklists are intended as resource for homeowners and developers to implement environmentally friendly practices in construction projects in an easy to use approach.
“The Low Impact Checklists for building and construction offer suggestions to create buildings that that are designed to fit their locations and reduce impact to the environment during construction and for the life of the building," Mandell said.
Mandell said the cost to implement environmentally friendly items in the planning and pre-construction phases in many cases is the same as conventional products and in most cases reducing the operating costs and increasing the efficiency fo the building.
"In the long run, working with the environment reduces loads on storm water systems, reduces waste, and reduces energy consumption," she said.
The checklist is handed out when residents and builders apply for construction permits, the two said.
Lists being shared for further circulation
The lists are being shared with ANJEC so they might be widely circulate throughout the state and used by other municipalities when considering the environmental impact during pre-construction stage of building projects.
The Warren Green Team already had bee awarded the bronze level of certification in the Sustainable Jersey program in 2012, Mandell said.
In addition to creating the Low Impact Checklists the Warren Township Green Team through volunteer efforts has hosted environmental films and an annual Green “Recycling” Fair.
This April 27's Green Fair brought in record amounts of recyclingat 25,000 pounds of electronics, 170 pounds of used medicine, 4,200 pounds of shredded paper, 2,000 pounds of books, and 960 pounds of cloth.
The Environmental Congress brought together about 200 environmentalists from throughout the State to learn about emerging environmental issues and to gain practical knowledge to help in efforts to protect natural resources, Mandell said. This year’s theme was “Planning in a Changing Environment.”
ANJEC is a 42-year old, statewide nonprofit organization based in Mendham Township that supports local environmental commissions, municipal officials and other environmentalists in efforts to protect the environment, preserve natural resources annual awards since the mid-1970s.