Berkeley Heights Achieves Sustainable Jersey® Silver-Level Certification Again

TAP into Berkeley Heights

Friday, December 26, 2014

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ -  Sustainable Jersey representatives announced that Berkeley Heights has again met the rigorous requirements to achieve Sustainable Jersey certification at the silver level. Berkeley Heights is one of only 27 New Jersey municipalities that have attained the silver-level certification.

“I want to thank the Environmental Commission and the green team members for their dedication and hard work on behalf of the Township,” said Mayor Bruno. “These people are volunteers who have given thousands of hours of their time to reach the silver level of certification and, in the process, have helped to make Berkeley Heights a better community.”

To become Sustainable Jersey certified at the silver level, Berkeley Heights created a Green Team and completed 36 actions worth 415 points, exceeding the 350 point minimum. Actions included: 1) a complete inventory of the street trees on township roads and identification of hazardous trees, 2) inspection of all conservation easements in town, 3) an inventory and evaluation of all brownfields in town, 4) calculation of the carbon footprints of both municipal government and the entire town, 5) energy audits and upgrades of municipal buildings, 6) inventory of natural resources in the township, 7) installation of no idling signs, 8) installation of a rain garden at the Hughes school, 9) publicizing and promoting recycling, and 10) outreach to local businesses for potential energy saving installations. Berkeley Heights was one of the first municipalities in New Jersey to be bronze certified in 2009, and one of the first nine towns to be silver certified in 2011.

“Becoming Sustainable Jersey certified is a significant achievement, especially at the silver-level,” said Pam Mount, chair of the Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees. “The certified towns demonstrate tremendous leadership and are a testament to how much we can accomplish with impressive sustainability initiatives in New Jersey.”

Certified towns excelled in areas such as improving energy efficiency and health and wellness, reducing waste, sustaining local economies, protecting natural resources, and addressing diversity and equity. “Collectively the 417 participating Sustainable Jersey towns are a powerful force in New Jersey,” said Dona Drewes, co-director of the Sustainable Jersey program. Randal Solomon, co-director of the Sustainable Jersey program, congratulated the certified towns. “I commend the towns that have achieved certification for their demonstrated commitment towards the long-term goal of a sustainable New Jersey.”

Ranked sixth in Money magazine’s 2013 list of “Best Places to Live – America’s Top 50 Small Towns,” the Township of Berkeley Heights, in Union County, NJ, has a population of 13,000. Nestled in the Watchung Mountains, the community of comfortable homes and quiet tree-lined streets provides the ideal setting for raising a family and enjoying life. With an area of 6.3 square miles, Berkeley Heights boasts an excellent school system consisting of our elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. Residents benefit from spacious parks and outstanding recreational programs for all ages.

About Sustainable Jersey
Sustainable Jersey is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support communities as they pursue sustainability programs. Currently, 417 of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities are participating in the sustainability certification program. In 2014 the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program will be launched in partnership with New Jersey School Boards Association and other statewide educational organizations. 

Sustainable Jersey’s partners include the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, The Sustainability Institute at The College of New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) Clean Energy Program. Program underwriters include the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Surdna Foundation and BPU. Previous Sustainable Jersey Small Grants program cycles have been underwritten by Walmart, PSEG and the New Jersey Department of Health. Sponsors include South Jersey Gas, New Jersey Natural Gas, Church and Dwight, Covanta Energy, Energy Solve, Terhune Orchards, Bayshore Recycling, Good Energy, EcoMatters, Spiezle Architectural Group, Waste Management of New Jersey, Pennoni Associates, Inc., Investors Bank, and Concord Engineering. The program underwriters for Sustainable Jersey for Schools are the New Jersey School Boards Association, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Clean Energy Program and Bayer Foundation. The founding sponsors for Sustainable Jersey for Schools are South Jersey Gas, New Jersey Natural Gas and NJM Insurance Group with additional support coming from Pennoni Associates, Inc.

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What are Trees in Berkeley Heights Worth? A Million Dollars?

by Richard Leister

Berkeley Heights, NJ (July 21, 2014) -- Over the past three years trained volunteers under the auspices of the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission have been carrying out a survey of the trees along the right of way on Township streets. When residents see the volunteers measuring the trees, they often ask what’s happening.
The easy answer is the Township wants to know the condition of the trees, which so far number more than 4,600. But much more is involved in this survey.
To learn more click here


About the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission

 The Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission was established to protect, develop or use natural resources, including water resources, located within the Township. The Environmental Commission is an advisory group with the responsibility to recommend plans and programs to the Planning Board for the development and use of open lands and wetlands. The commission is a statutory board of seven regular and two alternate Berkeley Heights’ residents. One regular member is designated as the Chair, and one is also a Planning Board member. All the members volunteer their time on a variety of projects and tasks, including:

- Reviewing all applications for development filed with the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment and recommending steps to assure the preservation and protection of natural resources to the appropriate board before the public hearing of the applications;

- Recommending policies and practices to the Township Council, the Planning Board and Board of Adjustment concerning open space preservation, water resource management, air pollution control, solid waste management, noise control, soil and landscape protection, environmental appearance, marine resource and protection of flora and fauna. Recent examples include the drafting of an update to the ordinance protecting trees in the Township and support of the new ordinance regulating construction on steep slopes;

- Promoting environmental awareness programs in the Berkeley Heights Schools; 

- Maintaining a Natural Resources Inventory, the Community Forestry Management Plan and Tree City USA status;

- Assisting with the street tree planting program;

- Working together with various other groups to preserve and improve the open space in Berkeley Heights. Some examples include the Passaic River Park Walkway and Peppertown Park. Both of these projects won ANJEC awards.