Union County Embarks On Energy Master Plan

ELIZABETH– The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced last week that the county has initiated a comprehensive energy master plan. The goal of the master plan is to achieve increased efficiency, conservation, and use of alternative energy sources in county operations.

“The Energy Master Plan will give us the tools we need to help cut costs in an era of spiraling fuel prices,” said Freeholder Chairman Angel G. Estrada. “At the same time, we have every intention of leading the way toward a future of cleaner, healthier, more sustainable operations by our county government.“

Union County has already taken a number of measures designed to cut utility costs, conserve resources, and reduce greenhouse emissions. In January, the Freeholder Board introduced the 2008 Go Green Initiative, which includes applying the highest LEED green standards to the county’s construction and renovation projects.

The energy master plan will examine over 60 county-owned properties. This includes 31 buildings that cover a vast range of styles, periods, and uses, such as the Union County Performing Arts Center, the courthouse complex, the administration building, and the new Juvenile Detention Center.

The properties also include 35 parklands, encompassing open space as well as playing fields, swimming pools, golf courses, a stable, a planetarium, a skating rink, and other facilities.

“There is a tremendous potential to retool our operations with sustainability in mind, and make all of these diverse properties work together to conserve more resources,” said Estrada. “We expect the master plan to bring about significant changes.”

The energy master plan will be designed by the engineering firm PMK Group of Cranford. Funding in the amount of $157,397 has been authorized by the Freeholder Board for that purpose. The master plan is expected to be completed within one year from the start of the work.

For more information on Union County’s environmental programs, along with general tips on going green, visit www.ucn.org/greenconnect.

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