Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Montclair Sets Pace as Environmental Leader

For Immediate Release
April 19, 2011
Virginia DiBianca

Montclair certainly has a lot to live up to this Earth Day. The town, along with Cherry Hill and Highland Park, has been chosen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as a Climate Showcase Community in New Jersey. In gaining that distinction, the town established an organization called OurPowerMontclair that supports and promotes environmental efforts at the local government level.

As a Climate Showcase Community, Montclair is tasked with a leadership role in the way communities manage and reduce energy consumption. The town receives federal funding towards the project and has a timeline that spans from February 2010 to November 2012. The goal is for these municipalities to stand as models of efficiency for other communities on sustainable energy use and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging businesses and residents to be conscious of their energy consumption while implementing efforts to reduce their usage as a way of life.

Montclair is a town that takes pride in its role towards environmental awareness and has taken strong steps towards innovations in sustainability. It is one of the few towns that include an Environmental Coordinator, Gray Russell, on its fulltime staff. As the town supports sustainable programs, its appeal to solid, community minded residents can only benefit its future.

Other efforts towards greening include renovating old buildings that have obtained LEEDS certification. Robert Silver, a resident of Montclair found himself looking for an office in town when he came across an old rundown building that was previously home to an auto parts store. Commissioning a local LEED contractor, Jack Finn, to renovate the space, it was revealed during demolition that old etchings and artistic remnants of a prior brass works company were hidden behind the old walls. The salvaged pieces were recycled as decorative additions. Now, its hallways support a gallery of works by local artists.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program is a national benchmark rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that certifies the design, construction and operation of building systems as high performance. It looks at five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

Mr. Silver proceeded to refurbish two other Montclair buildings that qualified for LEED Certification. One called GreenWorks was constructed with rooftop solar panels and insulation made from recycled paper. A plan is in the works for another building, Hillside Square, to include a charging station for electric cars in the parking lot.

Montclair has a website and a Facebook page devoted to their commitment to the Climate Showcase program. For more information:

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