Informative workshop for homeowners to held in Bordentown on Aug. 14

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Bordentown City residents are encouraged by municipal members to partake in an informative meeting this month, which is aimed to educate residents about the cost benefits of becoming energy efficient.

The Bordentown City Environmental Commission and New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program will serveas the co-hosts to the meeting when residents will have the opportunity to learn about potential rebates and low-interest loans available to them through New Jersey’s Home Performance with Energy Star Program.

The event is scheduled for Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Carslake Community Center on 207 Crosswalks St. in Bordentown.

The informative session initiated from the efforts of Sruti Desai, co-chair of the Bordentown City Creative Team, a subcommittee of the city’s environmental commission. Desai explained that the city municipality is currently in the process of applying for a Sustainable Jersey certification.

Sustainable Jersey is a non-profit organization that supports local regions in their pursuit of sustainability programs. Including Bordentown City and the Township, there are 448 municipalities in New Jersey that are engaged in the program where certified towns excel in areas such as improving energy efficiency, health and wellness, reducing waste, sustaining local economies, protecting natural resources and advancing the arts.

When Desai said she became aware that local homeowners could benefit from their participation in living a more energy efficient lifestyle, she fielded the idea of a workshop event to Clean Energy’s professionals to discuss the benefits of getting involved.

“Bordentown City is applying for the Sustainable New Jersey certification again, and one of the actions they encourage the municipality to do is to educate the community on clean energy and home performance – energy efficient initiatives that are going on,” Desai said. “In doing that, I have noticed that this is something that most people in the community don’t know about any of the rebates that are available to them if they haven’t Clean Energy’s website.”

After Desai reached out to the professionals to ask if they would come to Bordentown to provide a workshop session to inform homeowners, they agreed. Instead of the monthly environmental commission meeting, the time and space for the meeting will be designated for this workshop with an aim to get people on board.

The Bordentown City Creative Team co-chairperson explained that upgrades for heating and cooling systems in the home, lighting fixtures, washer and dryer machines, hot water heaters and equipment upgrades can be the product of rebates and other cost-saving opportunities for homeowners.

“People should know that there is money out there for them to use to make energy efficient upgrades to their homes and properties,” Desai said.

Desai said she felt that Bordentown has already established multiple programs in the community to be environmentally conscious. In February, the Bordentown City Board of Commissioners even adopted legislation to become more “eco-friendly” in its groundskeeping practices with a sustainable green grounds and maintenance policy.

The resolution encourages municipal employees to adopt the principals of the Sustainable Jersey Green Ground and Maintenance Policy, which includes efficient landscape design, minimized water consumption, recycled materials and composting.

These practices involve efforts such as composting organic materials; use native species instead of exotic plants whenever possible; minimize lawn areas to reduce required maintenance and replace lawn areas with higher value landscaping; design landscaping with stormwater management in mind; avoid excessive fertilizer use; and reduce or eliminate the use of conventional pesticides.

Given the current social climate and Bordentown’s actions to have an environmental impact, Desai said this is another way for residents to pitch in and do their part.

“The overall political and national climate, just knowing the severity of climate change, its environmental impacts and energy misuse, it makes it so much more important for people to start doing their part,” she said. “I think that up until now, people felt on a one-person-scale that [their efforts] are not going to matter, but I think people are starting to realize that every drop in the pond is really having an impact. The national climate is sort of changing people’s outlook on that and wanting to get people more engaged.”

But even as the Bordentown community aims to have more of an environmental impact, Desai said that informative sessions like the one being hosted this month can provide a step in the right direction. She said she felt that with more engagement and participation, Bordentown can influence surrounding municipalities to follow suit.

“This has been a long time coming,” she said. “This is something important for small community to help set the standard –to really push the ticker on other municipalities in New Jersey to start taking advantage of these rebates and programs.

“I think that if we show in our community that we can have an impact, we can set an example. That’s our aim,” she said.