ORANGE, NJ — Sustainable Jersey announced that three school districts and eight municipalities — including Orange Township — have been selected to receive an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps fellow. Sustainable Jersey is pairing five EDF fellows with municipalities and school districts to provide expertise and support for evaluation, planning and implementation of projects that will help improve the energy performance of their facilities. This year’s Climate Corps fellows are coming from graduate school programs at the following universities: Columbia University, Duke University, Indiana University, University of Michigan and West Virginia University.
New in 2020, EDF and Sustainable Jersey are directly supporting two fellows to work with distressed municipalities participating in Sustainable Jersey. The New Jersey Municipal Revitalization Index was used to identify community distress levels when considering applications. The two New Jersey municipalities that will be paired with an EDF fellow funded by the Environmental Defense Fund in 2020 are Orange and Trenton.
Since the Climate Corps program’s inception in 2008, more than 1,000 graduate students have been placed in more than 500 leading organizations spanning the United States and China. Together they have helped identify energy savings worth more than $1.6 billion, the equivalent of 2.3 million metric tons in carbon emissions.
The EDF fellows will begin work with township staff sometime this June. To accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, the fellows will work remotely. Sustainable Jersey provides guidance to the EDF fellows to help them advise participating municipalities about resources specific to New Jersey, as well as initiatives that earn points toward the Sustainable Jersey certification program. In particular, the EDF fellows help the towns access the many incentives available through New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program and the New Jersey Natural Gas SAVEGREEN Project. In recent years the EDF fellows have helped the host towns and school districts reduce their own energy usage and also promote energy-efficiency projects within their communities.
“Now more than ever, we need our municipal and school district leaders to emphasize and more importantly to showcase how solving climate change also builds a healthier, stronger economy and a more resilient future for all,” Sustainable Jersey Executive Director Randall Solomon said. “Over the course of the summer, EDF fellows will get energy-efficiency projects on the fast track to accomplishment — simultaneously lowering energy costs and environmental impact.”