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(TRENTON) - A two-bill package sponsored by Assembly Democrats Ruben Ramos, Jr, John McKeon, Wayne DeAngelo, and Connie Wagner, which is designed to encourage the proliferation of environmentally-friendly buildings, was approved by the full Assembly on Monday.
Both bills aim to encourage the incorporation of green and blue roofs into the design of new and existing buildings. Green and Blue Roofs use vegetation or mechanical devices to prevent roof water from draining too quickly, not only to improve storm water management but also to provide cost saving opportunities such as more efficient energy usage for heating and cooling.
"It's time to start making forward-thinking, eco-friendly solutions a priority for today, not a promise for tomorrow," said Ramos (D-Hudson). "Blue and Green roofs are a smart approach that will help save money in the long-term while also protecting our environment."
The first bill (A-710), approved by a vote of 70-3-2, would require, to the extent feasible, that any new state government building, facility, or structure with at least 15,000 square feet in total floor area be designed, constructed, and managed to include a functioning green roof or blue roof. The bill would also allow buildings to have solar panels, provided that the solar panels do not interfere with the functions of the green roof or blue roof.
"Practicality and convenience do not have to be mutually exclusive," said McKeon (D-Essex). "In the long run, buildings with environmentally-friendly designs end up saving more money. It's time to start looking at the bigger picture and encouraging development with a conscience."
The second bill (A-711), approved by a vote of 61-14-0, would require the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), to adopt building standards for the installation of a blue roof or green roof. The bill would also require DEP to adopt rules and regulations to include the consideration of any planned or operational blue roof or green roof in the calculation of runoff volume and rate control, groundwater infiltration, water quality, and nonstructural storm water management strategies.
"When you consider the record amount of flooding we've received in recent years, and the rising temperatures we've been experiencing, it's critical from both an environmental and fiscal sense, that we incorporate measures that help regulate storm water runoff and mitigate the urban 'heat-island' effect," added Ramos.
"Green buildings mean greener communities, and a better quality of life for our residents," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "We need to start thinking about our long-term future and how we can protect our environment in a manner that is energy and cost efficient."
Priority consideration would also be given to any application for a permit, grant, approval, loan application, or other authorization granted by DEP for a project that includes the use of a blue or green roof.
"Given the fact that priority consideration will be given to projects that incorporate blue or green roofs, hopefully more project developers will be encouraged to adopt this environmentally-conscious approach," said Wagner (D-Bergen/Passaic). "We need to do everything in our power to promote eco-friendly designs."
The measures now await consideration by the Senate.
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