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Thank you for your interest. This is the first step toward taking action. There is a lot that schools can do to create a more sustainable community.




Hopewell Valley Regional School District has rooftop solar on multiple buildings, as well as geothermal heating and cooling systems, which have reduced energy usage by 30%.


With a solar array and rooftop solar on four buildings, Franklin Township Public Schools have saved over $440,000 in two years.


Plainfield Public Schools anticipate saving nearly 2.5 million over the next 15 years with the installation of rooftop solar on seven buildings.


Reduce energy use and costs.

Colleges, universities, public K-12 schools, and select nonprofits should follow one of these process to make their buildings more efficient and lower their energy bills.

Go after specific energy incentive programs.

Facilities with an average peak demand less than 200 kW are recommended to proceed with a number of state-funded programs that are administered by our local utility utility provider, PSE&G. This may include Direct Install, a program which can provide lighting retrofits, HVAC systems, commercial refrigeration equipment, and motors for as little as 20% of the cost, interest free over 60 months. Custom efficiency projects and prescriptive incentives  may also be an option for your facility.

Pursue an Energy Savings Improvement Program

Facilities with an average peak demand of 200kW or greater are recommended to perform a Local Government Energy Audit, and proceed with an Energy Savings Improvement Program (ESIP). An ESIP is a financing mechanism that allows schools in NJ to make energy-related improvements to their facilities using the value of energy savings that result from the improvements. In other words, the ESIP method is a way for public schools to finance new energy-efficient infrastructure at no cost to the taxpayer.

Invest in renewable energy.

Several school districts in New Jersey have incorporated solar with big savings for their district by following these steps.

1. Initiation.

The first step involves engaging an energy consultant. Some districts implement this through a competitive process while others achieve this through the Alliance for Competitive Energy Services (ACESplus).

2. Site analysis.

An energy consultant considers potential sites. Solar panels can be mounted on a flat or slanted roof, as a ground-mounted array, or on a parking lot shade structure.

3. Vendor selection.

School leadership issues project specifications and collects bids from several contractors. With the assistance of the energy consultant, a winning bidder is selected.

4. Construction.

Once the contract is awarded, the contractor designs and installs the system, obtaining all necessary permits, inspections, and approvals.

5. Solar energy education.

Schools are remarkably poised to educate students and the community on their efforts through displays, tours, and more.

Source Renewable Energy.

If onsite renewable energy generation is not an option, you can still offset your energy use by purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs). The Alliance for Competitive Energy Services (ACES) can help school districts to obtain such renewable energy products at competitive prices.


Help your staff and students get to work sustainably.

Encourage biking.

Support commuters by providing covered bike parking or storage. Offer outlets to allow e-bikes and e-scooters to recharge.

Consider a bike share.

Depending on your location, a bike-share program could reduce the need for staff to drive for off-site lunch or meetings.

Advertise alternative transportation.

Help your employees learn about carpool, carshare, and rideshare opportunities, as well as bus and train options.

Support electric vehicles.

Install EV charging. New Jersey’s It Pay$ to Plug In program provides grants to offset the cost of purchasing and installing charging stations.

Don’t guess.

Ask your staff and students what they will use. We are happy to provide a Lunch & Learn event to review the options and then distribute a survey to ascertain interest. Please contact us.


Your buying decisions have a big impact.

Develop a green purchasing policy.

Environmentally preferable purchasing helps the environment — with significant savings for you. The NJ School Board Association offers sustainability consulting services for schools.

Give up disposables.

Work with your cafeteria to end the use of disposable cutlery, straws, and plates. Save money by switching to washable products.

Encourage BYO behaviors.

Offer water refill stations and space for staff and students to rinse their bottles or mugs, eliminating the need for plastic water bottles and disposable coffee cups.


We’re getting buried in trash. You can help.

Reduce Food Waste.

Review the School Food Waste Guidelines prepared by the NJDEP for K-12 schools and higher education institutions.

Think about compost.

Consider collecting food waste and composting on-site to provide nutrients for your school garden. Start by collecting scraps only in the kitchen.

Make it low-waste.

Plan for bake sales and other school events to be low-waste events.

Train frequently.

Educate janitorial staff and aides, as well as teachers and administration, on collection rules. Ask volunteers to assist in education at the bins.

Clarify signs.

Clear and consistent signage is vital — check out DIYsigns or Recycle Across America.

Keep it together.

To prevent contamination, ensure your recycling and/or compost bins are kept beside a properly-labeled trash can.

Bring in special collections.

Granola bar wrappers and chip bags can get upcycled through special hard-to-recycle options.

Reuse supplies.

Encourage locker collections and other efforts to reuse school supplies.


Your property has the potential to reduce our emissions, support wildlife, and save money.

Convert grass to a no-mow meadow.

Consider areas that could be planted with meadow grasses. This will support pollinators and birds and save you money from mowing maintenance.

Introduce natives & remove invasives.

Plenty of native plant options are aesthetically appealing and support the local eco-system.

Plant more trees.

Consider whether additional trees can be planted. They provide shade, soak up stormwater and are a carbon sink — just to name a few of the benefits!

Leave the leaves.

Have your landscaper mulch leaves back into your property. This nourishes your soil and reduce the need for costly fertilization.

Install green infrastructure.

Consider incorporating a rain garden or bioswales at the edges of parking lots and in other low areas. The more stormwater properties soak up, the less chance of water causing issues elsewhere.

Get rid of gas-powered lawn equipment.

If you don’t maintain your own property, seek out a landscaper that will use electric equipment and sustainable practices.

Looking for additional landscaping tips?

Check out our Yard guidance.

Join one of these programs today.

Be sure to get credit (and free promotion) for your actions! Join one of the following certification programs which provide a helpful roadmap and resources to achieve greater sustainability goals. Best of all, no one has to act alone!

Sustainable Jersey for Schools

A comprehensive program designed specifically for schools


NJ Sustainable Business Registry

Perfect for non-profits and higher education institutions


Green Restaurant Association

A comprehensive pathway for cafeterias


ReThink Disposable Campaign

Tips and assistance for cafeterias to reduce waste