Sustainable Design can be described through three categories: energy efficiency, renewable energy and the term 'green building'. Energy efficiency is understood as reducing energy demand, or consumption, and creating a building that has lower utility bills. Renewable energy is the active production of electricity through a process that does not generate pollution and from a source that is plentiful and is unlimited/or easily renewed - such as the sun, wind, water and human waste (landfills). Solar hot water and solar photovoltaics (PV) are a good example of energy efficiency versus renewable energy. Solar hot water systems use the sun's heat to pre-warm a building's drinkable hot water. A solar hot water system can look like thick panels on the roof with pipes running behind a glass face. By reducing the amount of heating that needs to be accomplished by a water heater - you can reduce the amount of energy you need, thereby reducing utility bills. Solar PV systems are thinner panels that convert the sun's energy into electricity. The PV system is a renewable energy source because it is generating electricity (changing the source of electricity) and is not reducing a building's demand for energy. Please visit the 'Resources/Renewable Energy' tab for more information on solar PV systems and look under the 'Programs' tabs for energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives and programs available in New Jersey.
Green Building encompasses a much more comprehensive look at sustainable design. If a building is called specifically a 'green building' then it would typically include features in all of the following categories: energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, sustainable siting, and durable/sustainable building materials. A green building can also include renewable energy systems. This approach considers how the building will affect its surrounding environment and community; considers the healthiness or local-sourcing of building materials used; as well as the health and resource efficiency of the residents. Please visit the 'Resources/Green Future' tab for more information on the benefits and implementation of green building features within whole-building sustainable design.
- The 'Green Links' tab provides descriptions and links to other state sites that have sustainable design initiatives. Check out where New Jersey is headed!
- The 'Homeowner Programs' tab lists financial incentive programs available to homeowners and/or first-time homebuyers.
- The 'Developers Programs' tab lists programs available to developers of single-family or multifamily residences.
- The 'Resources' tab has information on various topics, including Green Living, Green Future, Renewable Energy, Energy Benchmarking and other general green building topics and initiatives.
- The 'Training' tab provides the description, speaker introductions and slideshows presented at sessions organized by the GHO.
- The 'News' tab tracks the conferences, events, partnerships and new resources provided through the GHO.
- Contact Us! We are always looking to improve the website and the resources the GHO offers. Please feel free to contact us with your sustainable design & green living questions!
In February 2007, the New Jersey Green Homes Office (GHO) moved from the DCA Division of Housing to the offices of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. NJHMFA is dedicated to implementing policies and practices to help transform the market and aid the development of more sustainable and energy efficient affordable housing. To that end, NJHMFA is placing a higher priority on financing developments that bring about efficient, safe, healthy, prosperous and livable communities while simultaneously maintaining and enhancing the environment. Green affordable housing directly benefits individuals and families by lowering utility costs and creating healthier living environments. Project developers and operators gain both directly and indirectly through higher quality, more efficient, and more durable projects. Green building strategies add value through increased tenant satisfaction, improved marketability, reduced turnover, lower operating costs, and increased longevity.
The goal of the GHO is to create programs, resources and building guidelines to be used by residents, developers, and government entities to make New Jersey a leading example of resource efficient, healthy, and cost conscious residential new construction and rehabilitation. NJHMFA and the GHO have several programs that provide financial and technical assistance with sub-metering, solar photovoltaic, healthy interior, and other energy saving materials and practices - for the rehabilitation and new construction of affordable, market rate and special needs housing. To that end, the GHO works with state and local agencies to incorporate, encourage, and standardize the inclusion of sustainable design practices.