Did you know? You can charge your electric car in town

For those not already aware, the Chambers Street Garage has hosted a battery-charging station for electric cars, or EVs, since fall 2012. Developed by the Melville, NY–based company Leviton and sold at its website (www.leviton.com), the Fleet 2 unit charger delivers 240 volts at 30Amps (ranging approximately from 38-90 miles to the gallon, depending on the vehicle). Conveniently, the charging station is compatible with all leading EVs—thanks in part to the standard “handle,” or charging nozzle, which fits all EV ports, and is approved by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE J1772).

So how long does a full charge take? While the time differs for each EV, the overall range is convenient and manageable. Here is a timetable for charging most leading vehicles: Nissan Leaf (7.2 hrs); Chevy Volt (3.15 hours); Ford Focus (3.48 hrs); Toyota Prius Hybrid Plug-in (1.5 hrs); Honda Fit (3 hrs); Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid (less than one hour); Ford Fusion, Energi, and S-MAX Energi (2.5 hrs); and Toyota RAV 4, which takes a Tesla battery (7.3 hrs). As for the Tesla, the Leviton station charges the vehicle with the addition of a special adapter supplied by Tesla.

What does a charge cost? At Chambers Street, the Leviton charger offers $1.50 minimum/first hour and $12.00 maximum.  To pay for a charge, you must purchase a ChargePoint card, available at www.chargepoint.com (the website also lists the locations of the over 18,000 charging spots across the country). Two cards, costing $4.95 are mailed to customers which are associated with the user’s credit card, and a $25 monthly deduction is drawn down for the first few months. Once the charging usage is gauged, the automatic withdrawal is increased or decreased accordingly.

According to the garage manager, the station is used 4-5 times a week, a definite increase since its installation two years ago.  Park-In Garage Systems, the owner of the Chambers Street Garage, is considering the addition of a few more charging stations.



Contributed by Ned Higgins, local editor and writer.

Is Your Home EnergySmart Yet?

Princeton Homeowners know a lot more about their home energy usage these days! Thanks to the EnergySmart Homes Campaign, eighty of your neighbors and friends have had home energy assessments to date.  If you haven't already signed up, we can help you get started on improving the energy efficiency, comfort and safety of your home. Semi-circle dial showing home insulation R-values

To schedule an EnergySmart Homes assessment at the discounted $49 rate, you can call our partner, Ciel Power LLC at 201-632-3463 or sign up via the Ciel Power website.

For more information, read on below, and be sure to come to our EnergySmart Homes panel at the Princeton Public Library on Tuesday, June 10 at 7:00 p.m. to hear real life stories of Princeton residents who have conducted energy audits and made the recommended energy upgrades to their homes.  Stay tuned for details about this event on our events listing.

What is a home energy assessment?

A home energy assessment, or audit, identifies where your home is wasting energy, what systems are working inefficiently and proposes cost effective solutions.  It also identifies how you can maximize rebates and financial incentives from NJ's Home Performance with Energy Star program to help you offset the cost of those solutions, and identifies potential health hazards such as carbon monoxide levels, moisture (think mold), and air quality.

Who does the assessment and what does it cost?

A home energy assessment or audit is performed by an accredited and certified contractor.  These contractors meet the certification and accreditation guidelines of the Building Performance Institute (BPI), the industry's resource for building science technology that sets standards for assessing and improving the energy performance of homes.

Home energy assessments can cost $150-400 however, Sustainable Princeton has partnered with Ciel Power LLC, a Building Performance Institute (BPI) certified provider, to provide residential energy assessments at a discounted price of $49.

Is my home a good candidate for a home energy audit?

Older construction homes usually have the most to benefit from the improvements recommended in a home energy assessment.

How long does it take?

The audit takes about 2-4 hours depending on the size of your home.  You should also plan for an hour follow up meeting approximately a week after the assessment with the contractor to go over the results. You will receive a report listing recommended measures, along with financial incentives available to pay for the work.

What areas of my home will they be checking?

The technician will inspect your home from top to bottom.  They will need access to the main living areas of your home, attic, basement, your heating and cooling system and the outside perimeter of the house.  

Learn More


2013 Sustainable Princeton Leadership Awards

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2013 Sustainable Princeton Leadership Awards!   And thank you to all who helped us honor these inspiring community leaders at the awards ceremony on January 29, 2014 at the Princeton Public Library. Close up shot of Gail Ullman standing next to Mayor Lempert at podium

2013 Sustainable Princeton Award winners:

  • Christopher Albrecht, Executive Chef, Terra Momo - for bringing his passion for food and sustainability to everyone around him, in particular students, teachers and parents in Princeton's public schools.
  • Bill Cirullo, Principal of Riverside Elementary School (Distinguished Service Award) - for creating and sustaining a school community that is a model for schools across New Jersey through its gardening education program and other sustainable initiatives.
  • Lauren Gully, Student, Princeton Theological Seminary - for initiating and coordinating sustainability efforts at Princeton Theological Seminary, and inspiring other individuals and institutions.
  • Callie Hancock, Princeton Chapter of The Citizens Climate Lobby - for organizing and inspiring others to take action on climate change in a respectful and inclusive way.
  • Sandy Moskovitz, Co-Chair Go Green Committee, Community Park School - for consistently modeling sustainable practices in her own life, and for inspiring students, parents, staff and teachers to do the same in other schools and institutions.
  • Mountain Lakes Holding Corporation - for fostering a collaborative and sustainable approach toward stewardship of Princeton's open space and natural resources through its preservation of the Mountain Lakes House.
  • Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart - for its conversion to the use of geothermal energy in 100% of its academic spaces and other energy efficient actions, setting an example for its students as well as other schools and institutions.
  • Kurt Tazelaar and Sally Curtis, Friends of Herrontown Woods - for their energetic and inspiring work in clearing trails in 2013, making two Princeton nature preserves inviting and accessible to the public.
  • Anthony Teng, Student, Princeton High School - for leadership in building compost bins at Princeton schools and homes, in advocating for the municipal compost program, and in being a student ambassador for sustainability.
  •  Gail Ullman, Princeton Environmental Commission (Distinguished Service Award) - for her long-term and important role as a liaison between the Princeton Environmental Commission and the Planning Board.

The Sustainable Princeton Leadership Awards are sponsored by Sustainable Princeton with support from the Princeton Environmental Commission.  Each year a call for nominations is issued to help us identify Princeton’s best, brightest and greenest businesses, residents, teachers, school administrators, government employees, religious leaders and any others that are leading the way toward a sustainable Princeton.  A volunteer review team comprised of representatives from each of these areas chooses the finalists.

For information about past Sustainable Princeton Leadership Awards, see our previous announcements in 2012, 2011 and 2010.

Nominations Due for 2013 Sustainable Princeton Leadership Awards

Help us acknowledge and celebrate Princeton's best, brightest and greenest! John Emmons with school in background

Sustainable Princeton is seeking nominations of people, organizations or businesses that are catalysts and models within our community and have preserved and improved the natural, social or economic fabric of our town.

Nominations must be submitted by Monday, January 6, 2014.  To nominate an individual or an organization, send an email to "info@sustainableprinceton.org" with the following information:

  • Name, email, phone number and address of nominee;
  • Name, email, phone number, and address of person nominating;
  • Reason for nomination.
  • Please put SPLA nomination in the subject line.

Be sure to include how the nominee has taken a leadership role in addressing one or more of the following:

  • protecting and improving the natural environment;
  • reducing waste and/or increasing recycling;
  • educating others about sustainable behavior;
  • conserving energy; using energy more efficiently; and/or using innovative or alternative energy sources;
  • meeting Princeton’s social needs fairly for instance, a sustainable response to Hurricane Sandy;
  • contributing to our community’s economic well-being.

The awards will be presented on Wednesday, January 29 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. as an opening to the Princeton Environmental Film Festival at the Princeton Public Library.  The awards ceremony and the Film Festival are free and open to the public.

Awardees from previous years include:

  • The Princeton School Gardens Cooperative, for its Garden State on Your Plate program in our public schools;
  • Friends of Princeton Open Space Trail Committee, for their quiet and consistent clearing of trails;
  • Camila Telez, a Stuart Country Day School student who founded Fair Trade Princeton in 2012;
  • Janet Pelichero, Princeton recycling coordinator who piloted the Curbside Organics Program for Princeton;
  • John Emmons and Martha Friend, Princeton Public Schools, Science Teachers;
  • Stu Orefice, Dining Services Director, Princeton University;
  • Grace Sinden, Princeton resident, who received our first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

For more information about past Sustainable Princeton Leadership Award winners, see our previous announcements in 2012, 2011 and 2010.


Announcing Municipal Green Team, Silver Certification and EnergySmart Homes Campaign

Sustainable Princeton, a nonprofit organization focused on practical solutions to reduce energy use and waste, has joined forces with the Municipality of Princeton to assist the town with three new sustainable actions through 2014. Municipal Green Team and Silver Certification

Mayor Liz Lempert has formed a Municipal Green Team to create “greener” municipal operations and Sustainable Princeton is launching its EnergySmart Homes Campaign.  Together, these initiatives will help Princeton secure the 350 points needed to achieve Silver Certification with Sustainable Jersey, a designation only 11 of the 565 municipalities in the state have received.

“The entire town can participate in achieving silver certification. Residents can take part in the EnergySmart Homes Campaign and other actions. The municipality, schools and nonprofit organizations can implement programs to reduce waste and energy and support walking, biking and much more. My goal is for Princeton to become a state leader and, eventually, a national model of sustainable behavior,” Lempert said.

EnergySmart Homes Campaign

The Campaign kicks off with Ciel Power offering home energy assessments at a discounted price of $49 with a goal of assessing at least 100 homes. With support from Princeton University, the next phase of the campaign will feature two panel discussions with local home energy experts and the creation of a video series about the benefits and ‘how to’s’ of home energy improvements that will be aired during Princeton Public Library’s Environmental Film Festival in February 2014.

To learn more about the EnergySmart Homes Campaign, see this previous post on the selection of our first EnergySmart Homes Campaign partner.

Silver Certification Actions

Towns can receive points for more than 100 actions, such as establishing a sustainable land use policy, hosting farmers’ markets, establishing an organics recycling program, and supporting school gardens, to name a few. Most of the points come from potential  actions taken by municipal departments such as Public Works, Health, Engineering, and Planning.

The members of the Municipal Green Team are: Princeton Mayor, Liz Lempert; Princeton Administrator, Robert Bruschi; Princeton Environmental Commission Liaison; Gail Ullman; Princeton Planning Board Liaison, Cecelia Birge; Princeton Engineer, Robert Kiser; Princeton Health Officer, (to be appointed); Princeton Infrastructure & Operations Director, Robert Hough; and Sustainable Princeton Executive Director, Diane M. Landis.

Princeton is currently certified at the bronze level and will need to gain at least 350 points to reach silver by August of 2014. Twenty points will be earned through the  EnergySmart Homes Campaign, a partnership between Sustainable Princeton and Ciel Power, an accredited contractor through the New Jersey Home Performance with Energy Star Program.  Financial support for the Campaign has been provided by Princeton University’s Office of Community and Regional Affairs, through a $10,000 grant.

Green Teams

The Municipal Green Team is one of several green teams working with Sustainable Princeton to encourage sustainable practices.  Other green teams, chaired by community volunteers, are the Green Core (Community Outreach and Residential Engagement) co-chaired by Annarie Lyles and Alexandra Bar-Cohen and the Green Schools Coalition, co-chaired by Stephanie Chorney and Karen Nathan.

See our home page for a listing of upcoming events, and please contact us to get involved with Sustainable Princeton's work with green teams and other sustainability efforts.