Trenton Provides Example of How to Use Energy Block Grant Funds Locally
By Lina Garcia
July 13, 2009
Trenton (NJ), under the leadership of Mayor Douglas H. Palmer, former U.S. Conference of Mayors President, will be utilizing federal stimulus funds for energy efficiency related projects. Palmer, Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ), and Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes announced the plans on July 1 at a local press conference.
Trenton is expected to receive a total of $847,800 from the federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, a new program spearheaded by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. As part of the announcement, Palmer stated that they would be replacing traffic signals at each of Trenton’s 86 intersections with light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures.
Palmer said of the local announcement, “Changes will not only reduce city energy costs dramatically, but will let us leverage dollars from energy savings over time into almost $10 million for additional upgrades in the future.”
Based on the local announcement, details for local energy efficiency spending include: a traffic light upgrade project estimated at $400,000 to replace 2,887 of the city’s traffic and pedestrian countdown lights with LED fixtures; $80,000 to retrofit lights at a municipal complex; and $300,000 to replace an old, malfunctioning chiller in the police headquarters.
Menendez said, “Energy efficiency funding helps relieve local budgets, lowering costs and helping the city continue to deliver vital services. Installing new efficient lighting and replacing old lighting with LED fixtures is a win-win-win: it cuts energy costs, reduces emissions and frees up money from the city budget.”
Palmer has been a leading advocate of the energy block grant and green technology. He launched the Trenton Green Initiative, which joined state agencies, local nonprofits and utility companies to creatively plan how to become more energy efficient while simultaneously creating green jobs.
The projects the city is planning “…will not only reduce our energy costs dramatically, but will let us leverage dollars projected from energy savings over time into almost $10 million for additional upgrades in the future,” Palmer added.
Among the announcements, it was stated that Trenton’s Municipal Court would have a new home next year in a shopping center’s vacant supermarket building. The court will be one of about 20 city buildings that will get new energy'saving lighting thanks to the federal stimulus aid.