TRENTON, N.J. – The Green Building Task Force, an intra-agency group formed by Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Susan Bass Levin, released its first package of policy analysis today.

The two reports, produced by the Institute for Meadowlands Studies at Rutgers University, examine how environmentally friendly construction and building maintenance can be employed in the Meadowlands District, a region of marshes, industrial parks and neighborhoods five miles outside of Manhattan. The reports can be accessed at

“I am grateful to DCA Commissioner Levin for all of the work she has invested into the Green Building Task Force,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “I am firmly committed to moving forward on a state-wide green building policy and look forward to reviewing these reports, as well as other ideas to increase energy efficiency in our residential and commercial buildings.”

According to the reports, buildings are responsible for 65 percent of annual electricity consumption in the U.S., 30 percent of raw material usage, 30 percent of waste output, and 25 percent of material transported to landfills.

“The Green Building Task Force is continuing to examine ways in which to increase green housing and renewable energy to directly benefit individuals and families by lowering utility costs and creating healthier living environments,” said Commissioner Levin. “In the Meadowlands District, where we have already made strides forward on sustainability, I will request that our regional stakeholders examine the implications of the reports and how we can pursue the best recommendations on top of the already aggressive moves we are making in renewable energy.”

The reports suggest implementation strategies to promote more sustainable development, including green building education, introduction of energy saving techniques and renewable energy programs, financial incentives, and proactive responses to global environmental issues. The warehouse and logistics sector is given special attention considering that it composes 14 percent of the Meadowlands land area and has experienced movements toward upgrades, long-term ownership and size which may be conducive to tapping into green building benefits.

“It will be important to identify significant private entities that would be willing to work with the Task Force and its members to implement a core group of recommendations and demonstrate their viability on a wide scale,” said Levin. “Beyond implementing broad policies, we must join with the business community and demonstrate that common sense energy practices, good craftsmanship and protecting our resources are not only good for our environment, but are economical.”

Several programs developed within the DCA and furthered by the Task Force are already meeting these goals.

DCA’s Green Homes Office, under the Division of Housing, is currently developing a Green Building Primer to educate architects, developers, and property owners on the financial benefits of building green and to show municipal and school officials how to implement sustainable development policies in their communities. An Urban Micro-load project is underway to utilize high-performance design principles and solar strategies and create a net-zero use of fossil fuels for 25 affordable housing units in urban areas.

DCA’s Affordable Green Program, the only statewide affordable housing program in the nation, has helped to build over 2,400 affordable homeownership and rental units using innovative green materials and technologies. The program offers a financial incentive of up to $7,500 to developers for each residential unit built green.

The Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA) offers additional incentives on the federal Low Income Housing Qualified Allocation Tax Credit program for incorporating green building or renewable energy technology. In addition, HMFA developed new sustainability guidelines for the Special Needs Housing Trust Fund. The fund creates permanent supportive housing for individuals with special needs.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission (NJMC) has created the Sustainable Meadowlands Resource Institute to hold seminars on green building and enhance public outreach. The NJMC also recently announced a commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gases 7 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2012. The NJMC solar initiative, a first-in-the-nation program that will harness enough energy to power 2,800 homes, has generated regional interest among mayors, schools, and private property owners interested in joining the Meadowlands Regional Renewable Energy District.

Additionally, as the regional zoning and planning agency for the Meadowlands, the NJMC is adapting district zoning regulations to promote green building. The NJMC will offer a voluntary incentive program to developers and building owners meeting Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) standards for new and existing buildings. Green building plans will be eligible for expedited review, as well as refunds of zoning certificate application fees and density bonuses.

The Institute for Meadowlands Studies is a part of the Center for Urban Policy Research, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, at Rutgers University of New Jersey. The primary author of the two reports, Jennifer A. Senick, is the Executive Director of the Rutgers Center for Green Building.