At a Glance
Climate Justice/Energy Equity, Commercial Energy Efficiency, Data Analysis
As an environmental justice (EJ) energy consultant for Sustainable Jersey, Trevor Harper worked with the municipalities of Vineland and West New York, to identify, develop, and implement energy efficiency projects and strategies.
New Jersey has issued ambitious decarbonization goals for all of its 565 municipalities. The non-profit Sustainable Jersey helps all of these municipalities by providing insight in relation to carbon emissions, achieving energy efficiency, and building climate resilience. Sustainable Jersey enlisted Harper as the EJ consultant for energy efficiency analysis, energy upgrades, incentive research, and sustainability goal setting for two of those municipalities, Vineland and West New York.
As an EJ fellow, both of Harper’s municipalities were in Urban Enterprise Zone’s (UEZ). First, Harper assessed the individual municipalities and met with city employees to determine the best course of action for the two communities. Upon assessment, the individual towns were at very different stages in their energy efficiency progress. Harper found that Vineland was at the very beginning of this process and decided a Local Government Energy Audit (LGEA) would be the most appropriate initial step. Harper submitted the LGEA application to get 17 of Vineland’s Municipal buildings audited with funding provided by New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program (NJCEP).
Prior to Harper’s arrival, West New York had recently undertaken some energy efficiency projects. Harper decided to focus on developing an energy tracking and management system to account for the recent upgrades. He also guided the city towards incentive programs to help fund future energy projects. Harper established connections to the utility that had not existed prior and began the process for a residential energy efficiency outreach campaign for the city of West New York.
Harper served as a bridge during the New Jersey Energy Efficiency Transition to help both West New York and Vineland navigate the new utility incentives as they rolled out.
In completing the LGEA application for Vineland, Harper took the necessary steps to initiate the audits through the NJCEP potentially saving the city around $90,000. Because the audits have not been completed, the energy savings of kWh, therms, CO2 emissions, and financial savings are yet to be determined. However, Harper used the Department of Energy and Sustainable Jersey’s energy efficiency upgrade numbers to estimate commercial energy efficiency upgrades that could save somewhere between 20%-40% in energy usage. For example, the city of Vineland’s City Hall in 2020 used over 3 million kWhs and almost 20,000 therms of natural gas. If they upgraded their systems in place, they could see savings of 670,000 -1.3 million kWhs and 4,100-8,300 therms. And this is just one building! Consequently, these upgrades would lower CO2 emissions and cost associated with the municipal buildings. Harper created an Energy Star Portfolio Manager for West New York to track and account for their recent energy upgrades. He also researched future grants and new utility incentive programs. If implemented, the grants and incentive programs could save both West New York and its residents thousands of dollars.