Last week New Jersey Governor, Jon Corzine, toured a very special construction site in the town of Hillsboro in central New Jersey. He came to inspect an energy efficient, accessible home being built by Homes for Our Troops, in partnership with New Jersey’s Climate Choice Program, for Marine Corporal Visnu Gonzalez, a wounded Iraq war veteran.
This particular home is the first to be built as part of the Climate Choice Program, It features high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, well-sealed duct systems, special windows, improved air sealing and insulation, plus ENERGY STAR appliances and lighting. In addition, renewable energy systems will account for 50 percent of the home’s electrical load cutting both pollution and the owner’s utility bills drastically. Once completed,it will be 70 percent more energy efficient than a conventionally built structure. No wonder New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program serves as a model for the nation.
Building more new homes to the Climate Choice Home program standards will go a long way towards meeting Governor Corzine’s Energy Master Plan goal of reducing energy consumption by 20 percent and generating at least 30 percent of the State’s energy from renewable sources by the year 2020.
During the Corzine administration, 16,822 homes have been built to New Jersey ENERGY STAR standards with assistance from New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program. A total of 37,622 New Jersey ENERGY STAR Homes have been built since the program began in 2001.
Corzine tours Homes for Our Troops
I’ve lived in New Jersey for about a decade now and have been impressed by the State’s commitment to renewable energy. New Jersey was offering rebates and tax credits to homeowners for installing solar panels long before the current green movement. Though you may think of New Jersey as urban and industrial– especially if you see it only from the Jersey Turnpike on your way out of Manhattan– the state is tremendously varied and has one of the highest per capita incomes in the nation. It is second only to California in commitment to and support for renewable energy for individual homeowners and small businesses.
The Climate Choice Program is merely a continuation of that long standing commitment. Beginning with one green home for a New Jersey vet, the program will no doubt grow and will benefit not only homeowners, but also the rest of us by creating green jobs and cleaner air.
Welcome home to New Jersey, Corporal Gonzalez. Thank you for your service and may you be happy and prosper in your new home.