Ridgewood’s Wastewater Treatment Facility Goes Green and Saves Green

Ridgewood, NJ – “It’s a win-win situation,” the Ridgewood Mayor Paul Aronsohn said. “It really gives new meaning to a green initiative.”

Eco Ed was the main Sustainability Consultant for this win-win situation

Eco Ed was the main Sustainability Consultant for this win-win situation

Ridgewood’s wastewater treatment plant, the largest public consumer of electricity in the Village, officially welcomed a new look this week.

The facility now captures waste methane, and uses it on site, through a new Combined Heat & Power Generator, to offset most of that electricity. The new solar field also adds to the renewable energy produced on site, which is located on Village-owned property on Prospect Street in Glen Rock.

Public-Private Partnership

“This is the first setup where a municipality in New Jersey obtained their renewable energy through a public-private partnership,” said Donald Rodgers, NSU’s chief development officer.

Private companies Natural Systems Utilities, Middlesex Water Company and American Refining and Biochemical funded the capital cost of the project. Through a Power Purchase Agreement, the village in turn purchases the electricity at a below-market price, according to officials.

These savings will accrue well into 7 figures over the 20-year life of the contract.

“The challenge we faced,” said Eco Ed Schwartz, Sustainability Consultant, “was to coordinate this sustainability project with no budget. We were able to package this in a way that benefitted both the investors and the Village.”

The public-private partnership was praised by Village officials and representatives of the companies involved, who said the financing arrangement had no precedents in New Jersey, and few if any in the country.

A public-private partnership creates a sustainable future

A public-private partnership creates a sustainable future

Chris Rutishauser, the Village of Ridgewood Engineer adds that, “Instead of waste going into the air and increasing our carbon footprint, we’re getting another use out of it.”

Mayor Paul Aronsohn, speaking to a small crowd on hand for the event Friday, noted that by going green, the Village was saving green – cutting costs while reducing its environmental impact.

“It’s a win-win situation,” he said. “It really gives new meaning to a green initiative.”

The overall Sustainability Project also included installing solar panels at Ridgewood’s Village Hall, the EMS building, fire department headquarters and other Village-owned locations.

Top 10 Home Energy Saving Tips

Want to improve your home’s energy efficiency but you are unsure where to begin? A professional energy audit may be the first step for your home. Also, learn small projects you can do by yourself.
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Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Guidelines for Historical Homes

Ask Eco Ed transformed his 245 year-old Victorian home into “The Most Energy Efficient Historic Home in NJ.” His home generates money through its energy bill (+$2000), maintains a comfortable temperature, and is safe against dangerous molds and toxins that are common in old homes.

There are always inexpensive and easy renovations that can be made to improve a home. These small projects can help you avoid expensive projects that are burdensome financially and emotionally. Ed provides other renovation tips that he has learned through his years of experience. Ed’s knowledge is here to help you, so you can do it right the first time.

Read the Energy efficiency and sustainability guidelines for Historical Homes.

Remember, feel free to contact Ed and ask him a question about your home. He will provide a professional response that will help save you time and money.

Ask Eco Ed: Renovating Our Home – Is Energy Efficiency Important?

Dear Eco-Ed:

We are planning a renovation, and were wondering if we should be looking at efficiency upgrades at this time.  Our budget is already stretched for the work we’re doing, and we would like to put off what we can, until a later date.

- “Movin’ On Up” in Ridgewood

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Ask Eco Ed: Beating the Summer Heat and Keeping utility Costs Down!

Dear Eco-Ed:

Oh My God , can it get any hotter?  Please help!!!  Is there any way to beat this heat, without breaking the bank?   My air conditioner is running constantly, and my family is still uncomfortable.   Our PSE&G bill is through the roof.  What is a family to do?

- Sweating in Ridgewood

Dear Sweating:

This heat certainly has been oppressive.  Not to worry, though, as there are many things you can do to beat the heat and control your costs.

-        Start your day earlier, when it is cooler.  Errands and outdoor activities are much more bearable before it gets scorching out.

-        Use a programmable thermostat.  If you have a formal schedule, lower your air conditioning (and heat in winter) in the hours while you are away.  Set them to bring it back to comfortable levels by the time you come home.  If your thermostat is manual, then raise it when you leave.  Keep in mind that heat pumps work more efficiently at steady temperatures.  **NOTE – WHEN REPLACING OLDER MERCURY (TYPICALLY CIRCULAR) THERMOSTATS, DISPOSE OF THEM AT HAZARDOUS WASTE PICK UP SITES, AS THEY CONTAIN HIGH AMOUNTS OF MERCURY, ALTOUGH IS SEALED INSIDE A GLASS BULB.

-        Follow the sun – draw blinds or curtains to minimize direct sunshine.  This heats up floors and furniture very quickly.  Eastern (early morning sun) windows should be drawn early, and western exposures later in the day.  For a more long term solution, plant shade trees and shrubs in proper areas to provide this benefit for you.

-        Keep lights and other electric appliances off, and switch to compact fluorescent and LED bulbs.  Have you ever touched a light bulb? 90% of its energy creates heat.  This heat is being dissipated into your living space constantly.  All those bulbs add up in a hurry, and increase the burden on your cooling system.

-        Use solar lights in your yard to minimize electricity used at night.  The selection is becoming greater and quality is improving constantly.  Start small and add lighting features as desired.

-        Be sure that your cooling equipment is properly maintained, refrigerant levels are good, filters are changed, etc.  An efficient system keeps you cooler, at a lower cost.

-        Get an energy audit.  This will identify where heat is getting in, cold air is escaping, the condition of your heating/air conditioning systems, along with many of the other items.  Proper insulation and air sealing works well in summer also.  It keeps the cold out in winter, and the heat out in the summer.

-        Take a nice cold shower.  It’s refreshing and lowers your body temperature, without using much hot water.

-        Do your laundry in cold water.  Newer, front loading machines with proper detergents get the same results with cold water.  Always do full loads of laundry to keep water and energy use down.  Same goes for dishwashers.

-        Dishwashers, dryers, and other heat producing appliances could be used at night, when it is cooler.

And my most favorite solution is to get to water!  Go swimming, play in a pool or even just a touch of cool water on your wrists and neck goes a long way towards keeping your body temperature down.

Ask Eco Ed your own question <<>> Read the Ask Eco Ed Column

Ask Eco Ed: My heating bills are out of controI, is there anything I can do?

Dear Eco-Ed:

My heating bills are out of control, and my house is still not a comfortable temperature. Is there anything I can do?

- Broke in Glen Rock

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