Scientists agree that there are ways to avoid the most dangerous climate impacts, and reduce the risks from a changing climate, that are both available and affordable. Our decisions today will shape the world our children and grandchildren will live in. Click below for more information on what the state is doing to address climate change and how can you help.
Adopting sustainable practices can reduce your business’s carbon footprint, and improve the quality of life for your employees, customers and local community. Making green choices also has a sustainable return on investment, helping you benefit economically, socially and environmentally. Learn more about how to green your business with this list:
Calculating your business’s carbon footprint can help you identify the biggest opportunities for energy use reduction and help you prioritize the steps you can take to cut emissions. Check out these Business Carbon Footprint Calculators to get started:
CoolClimate Network Calculator
TerraPass Carbon Calculator
Put a green spin on your business strategy, conduct a Green SWOT Analysis comparing your business model strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats from a sustainability perspective. Performing a strategic sustainability analysis can help you embrace green strategies throughout your operations reduce costs, jumpstart growth and enhance performance. This can be done by use of energy benchmarking and energy audits.
Electronics and office equipment, like computers, monitors, printers, and stereos continue to draw electricity when they’re plugged in and off. The best way to avoid this wasted energy is by unplugging electronics when they are not in use. Consider using a power strip with an on/off switch to make it easier to unplug. And remember to improve your energy efficiency by upgrading to Energy Star products. Check out the NJDEP Energy Guide for more tips to reduce your energy use!
The majority (42%) of New Jersey’s greenhouse gas Emissions come from transportation. Do your part to reduce emissions by encouraging your employees to carpool, purchase electric vehicles and use public transportation. Consider installing a workplace charging station to support greener employee commuting and attract customers. . Incentivize employees by offering priority parking for carpooled or electric vehicles. Check out Drive Green New Jersey and EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide to learn more!
Evaluate your supply chain and commit to making greener purchasing decisions. Try to partner with businesses and organizations that are closer to your location to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Evaluate your products, manufacturing, packaging, shipping, and distribution processes to reduce energy consumption and achieve major cost savings. Check out the UN Global Compact Supply Chain Sustainability Guide and the NJDEP Purchasing Guide to learn more.
The New Jersey Sustainable Business Registry recognizes and promotes sustainable businesses across New Jersey. This free program is open to all businesses located in New Jersey who want to promote their sustainability.
For more information on how to green your business check our Sustainable Business Guides.
The average American’s annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is 20 metric tons. With multi-person households, the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses escaping into our atmosphere is exponential. However, there are many simple changes you can make in your home to reduce your carbon footprint from tree planting to switching to all LED light bulbs. This list was created to help you get started!
The first step in knowing how to reduce your carbon footprint is learning what yours is. Use this Household Carbon Footprint Calculator to get started.
Even just changing 5 of your most frequently used light bulbs to Energy Star qualified products can save up to $70 a year on energy bills, and have a powerful impact on the environment. They use about 75% less energy than standard lighting.
The majority (42%) of New Jersey’s Greenhouse Gas emissions come from transportation. Do your part to reduce emissions by purchasing the most energy-efficient vehicle that meets your family’s needs. See the car-buying guides at https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml. Check out Drive Green New Jersey and EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide to learn more!
Look for the Energy Star label when purchasing items for the home such as washers and dryers, office equipment and electronics. Over their lifetimes, products in your home that have earned the Energy Star label can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 130,000 pounds, which is equivalent to taking 12 cars off the road for one year, saving you approximately $11,000 on energy bills. New Jersey residents can take advantage of the New Jersey Clean Energy Program rebates and incentives to upgrade their appliances to energy star products!
Update your HVAC system to a more energy efficient model, make sure that the system is regularly maintained and fix air leaks and drafts with proper insulation and weather stripping. By taking these steps, you can save up to 20% on heating and cooling energy costs. Learn about heating and cooling degree days to help yourself remain energy efficient, and further reduce your energy costs by making the most of the New Jersey Clean Energy COOLAdvantage Rebate Program and the WARMAdvantage Rebate Program to help fund HVAC upgrades.
It is the law to recycle in New Jersey! By practicing all 3 of the R’s in your household, you conserve energy, reduce the amount of material ending up in landfills, and reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the extraction, manufacturing, and disposal of waste. Check out the NJDEP Residential Recycling webpage to learn more!
Conserving water not only helps the environment by saving water overall, but it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions due to the amount of energy it takes to pump, treat, and heat water. Do simple things like turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth and fix a leaky toilet. Invest in new fixtures with the WaterSense label to ensure you’re purchasing water-efficient products. For landscaping, only water when needed and do it at the coolest part of the day. For more tips on how to conserve water inside and outside of your home visit the NJDEP Every Drop Counts webpage.
By installing solar panels on your home, you not only will save money on your electric bill, but you will use less electricity from grid sources, which typically have higher emissions. Electricity production is the source of approximately 16% of greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey! Learn about more solar incentives here. Check out the NJDEP Solar Siting Analysis to learn about the potential for solar in your community.
When you plant trees, you directly reduce your carbon footprint (because trees sequester CO2), and potentially save energy. Trees and vegetation lower surface and air temperatures up to 9°F by providing shade and through evapotranspiration. Take advantage of free and low-cost tree seedlings from the NJDEP Forest Service to plant more trees on your property. If you own over 5 acres of land you’d like to protect, consider participating in the NJDEP Forest Stewardship Program. Learn about NJDEP’s Urban and Community Forestry program here.
Local government plays an essential role in ensuring New Jersey achieves its 2050 statewide greenhouse gas emissions target. Strong local leadership is needed to transform municipal emissions and to stimulate local action through innovative policies, programs and projects. This list was created to inspire local governments to embrace their role and responsibility in reducing carbon emissions and increasing community resilience to our changing climate.
Planning for climate action begins with conducting a greenhouse gas emissions inventory. An emissions inventory helps your local government operations or community as a whole, establish a baseline to track and measure against future performance. For New Jersey communities just getting started, take advantage of the New Jersey Clean Energy Program Local Government Energy Audit and consider implementing the Sustainable Jersey Municipal Carbon Footprint Action. Advanced municipalities should check out ICLEI’s Local Governments for Sustainability ClearPath Tool. ClearPath is a full-service web application for energy and emissions management.
New Jersey municipalities should develop Climate Action Plans to serve as a roadmap for achieving local emissions reductions and to become more resilient. A Climate Action Plan is a strategic framework to measure, plan, and lower greenhouse gas emissions and related climate change impacts. At a minimum Climate Action Plans include an inventory of existing emissions, reduction goals, and a list of prioritized actions to achieve emission targets.
To learn more about how to develop a Climate Action Plan check out:
Framework for implementing a municipal Climate Action Plan
If you are not already a Sustainable Jersey Community, consider becoming one! Sustainable Jersey is a nonprofit organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support and encourage communities to reduce waste, cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental quality. If you are a Sustainable Jersey Community, learn how to reach Gold Star Standards.
With 42% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from transportation, alternative modes of transportation are key to mitigating climate change. Local governments should consider adopting a Complete Streets Policy to encourage walkable, bikeable and livable communities. Complete Streets can incorporate green street design elements to further reduce urban heat island effects and address climate related impacts to strengthen resiliency. Municipalities can take advantage of funding from the Transit Village Program, the Transportation Alternatives Program, the Pedestrian Safety, Enforcement and Education Fund, and the Safe Routes to School Program to transform their streets.
More Complete Streets and Green Streets Resources:
Local governments can support the transition to cleaner transportation by investing in green fleets and facilitating the spread of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Municipalities should consider adopting minimum fleet fuel efficiency targets and commit to purchasing alternative fuel vehicles. Towns should update ordinances to streamline electric vehicle charging infrastructure and adopt designs standards to facilitate consumer adoption. Check out the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority Alternative Fuel Vehicle Readiness Guidebook for Municipalities to learn how you can take action today! Explore State and Federal incentives and learn what New Jersey is doing by visiting Drive Green New Jersey.
Encourage and provide incentives for the use of alternative energy in your community. Become a Solar Friendly town by adopting a supportive Solar Ordinance and through streamlining permitting and inspection. Explore generating your own renewable energy through a solar, wind or geothermal system. Learn how the Egg Harbor Township School District’s use of solar panels helped them reduce energy, cut emissions and save over $9 million dollars a year! If onsite renewable energy generation is not viable, consider buying electricity from a renewable source.
Recycling is the law in New Jersey, but going above and beyond compliance helps in the fight against climate change. On average, approximately 1.67 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) equivalents are avoided for every ton of municipal solid waste recycled! Learn how the Borough of Fair Lawn achieved a recycling rate of 46% in 2015 by combining enforcement with extensive outreach efforts. Also, remember to promote backyard composting to your residents, check out the Sustainable Jersey Backyard Composting Program Action for more information.
Use the CHANJ tools to help make New Jersey’s landscape friendlier to wildlife movement. The online CHANJ Web Viewer maps key wildlife habitats and movement corridors across the state, and a companion Guidance Document helps users to make strategic choices about preserving land, restoring habitat, and mitigating the impacts of roads on wildlife.
Adopt an open space plan that incorporates climate change considerations, like vulnerable habitats and species, offsetting carbon emissions and resiliency goals. Consider assembling a new priority map for land conservation to preserve carbon sinks, provide buffers to sea level rise, reduce flooding, and to maintain habitat health and connectivity. Develop goals and plans to increase tree cover and native species throughout your community. Check out NJDEP’s Community Forestry Resources and the Institute for Local Government’s Open Space and Offsetting Carbon Emissions Resources for more information.
The majority of climate change impacts will affect the youngest members of our world and future generations. The children of today must become the change agents of tomorrow, and schools are the perfect venue to cultivate these transformative climate action leaders. Schools can teach how best to reduce our impacts on the environment, showing the next generation how to be environmental stewards. You can make a difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as a student, educator or school administrator. Check out our suggestions below to learn how!
Learn about our changing climate and what you can do to help! Check out NASA’s Climate Kids Webpage, where you can explore the world, our environment and what you can do to protect it.
Talk to your parent/guardian and teachers about how you can act locally to mitigate the impacts of climate change. This may include encouraging your school to reduce and compost food waste, participate in community clean up events, or start a school vegetable or pollinator garden. Need ideas for what actions your school can take? Visit Sustainable Jersey for Schools to help get you started. Consider becoming a schoolyard steward. Learn about the stewardship projects that New Jersey middle and elementary school students carried out on their school properties and in their communities to reduce the impacts of flooding from storms, a weather condition influenced by climate change. There is no age limit for being a climate hero!
Inquire about your school’s energy usage and find out how your school measures up to other schools nationwide using Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager Tool. Your school may earn the ENERGY STAR if it qualifies as the top performer. And remember, even small energy choices add up. Turn off lights, TVs, and computers, when you do not need them to cut your energy usage. Unplug any electronic gadget you can turn on with a remote, such as TVs, DVD players, and gaming systems, all of which use power even when they are shut off.
Learn how your local and state government representatives are voting on climate actions, and let them know you care about the world they are leaving to you. There is currently a landmark U.S. federal climate lawsuit where youths now ages 10 to 21 argue that the federal government is violating their constitutional rights by failing to act on climate change. You are never too young to act.
Instead of asking for a ride, walk or ride your bike for short trips. Since its always more fun to walk together, consider organizing a “walking school bus” for your school. To learn how, visit www.walkingschoolbus.org.
Sanjana Kaloth won the 2017 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award in Environmental Education for inspiring others to pick up litter in their communities and backyards. Picking up litter can prevent trash from entering storm drain systems which may drain into the ocean and effect marine life.
Get involved in your existing environmental club, or inquire about how you can start your own. Encourage your school to become certified as a Green School with Sustainable Jersey.
Find out about community clean ups, forest conservation efforts, and sustainability events in your area, post flyers and network with fellow students about participating in local environmental actions together.
Inquire about your school’s energy usage and find out how your school measures up to other schools nationwide using Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager Tool. Remember to turn off lights and electronics when not in use to cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Your school may earn the ENERGY STAR if it qualifies as the top performer.
Explore six real world scenarios faced by New Jersey’s coastal municipalities that have community hazards due to being located near tidal wetlands. Tidal wetlands are often overlooked but can be invaluable for reducing flooding from coastal storms and sea level rise, both symptoms of climate change. Students are challenged to research and design their own solutions for these sites then compare their work with the actual work that was done at the sites by professionals. To learn more, go to Ecological Design Challenges.
The majority (42%) of New Jersey’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions come from transportation. Do your part to reduce emissions by purchasing electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles. Strive to carpool, use public transportation, walk or ride your bike before driving solo. Check out Drive Green New Jersey and EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide to learn more!
Morris Hills High School Environmental Club cleaning up their community
Find out about how you can participate in your school’s environmental club or inquire about how you can form one. Encourage your Fraternity or Sorority to direct is philanthropic endeavors towards green and environmentally friendly efforts.
Learn how to reduce energy usage in your dorm room, and even showcase your ENERGY STAR, energy efficient lighting, office equipment, and home electronics.
Did you know that up to 40% of all food produced in the U.S., intended for consumption is not eaten? That equates to about 20 pounds per person each month! Food that gets thrown away often ends up in landfills, where it releases methane as it rots, a greenhouse gas that is 28 to 36 times more potent than CO2 in causing global warming. So next time you add that extra piece of fruit or scoop of veggies to your plate, make sure you’re really going to eat it. One way you can help your school reduce the food waste it generates is to see if your food service professional or sustainability organization on campus is interested in running a food waste audit. They say you cannot change what you do not measure! Also, talk to your school about donating uneaten foods to local food banks and shelters rather than tossing it out. Finally, ask if your school would consider composting to reduce their contribution of food waste to landfills. There is much you can do to Save the Food.
Use My Campus Wall to post items you want to share (such as tools, reusable bags, and appliances), sell, or swap, and encourage others to post their items as well. You can also find a local thrift store in your area and organize a carpool with others who are interested in shopping second hand.
If you go shopping for groceries or supplies periodically, see if you can get a group together to ride share with. The more the merrier!
Encourage Presidents or Chancellors at your school to join the Second Nature Climate Leadership Network to solidify their commitment to setting and achieving climate action goals. Learn if your school is participating in the AASHE STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) program, which tracks and rates colleges and universities sustainability performance.
Include supplementary lesson plans about climate change and other related subjects using:
Remember to check out the New Jersey State Environmental Education Directory to learn about new teaching resources and to connect with the NJDEP AmeriCorp Watershed Ambassador program for free environmental education presentations.
Get involved in your school’s environmental club to provide an outlet and resources for students to get involved in climate change mitigation actions.
Encourage your school to get involved in Earth Day activities or help support existing Earth Day activities. Reference Earth Day Network’s educator resources for support and inspiration.
Make the pledge with the Second Nature Climate Leadership Network to solidify your commitment to setting and achieving climate action goals.
Schools that are not energy efficient can use up to three times as much energy as schools that take steps to improve their efficiency. School districts can save money by partnering with ENERGY STAR for K-12 School Districts and using the Portfolio Manager to track and rate their energy performance. Take advantage of the New Jersey Clean Energy Program’s free energy benchmarking service and other financial incentives for energy efficiency.
Develop an inventory of your school’s greenhouse gas emissions to identify where improvements can be made. For higher education institutions AASHE STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) can help you gauge your school’s sustainability and find out where and how your institution can improve. Consider becoming a certified Sustainable Jersey School.
Promote change in your school by creating a Climate Action Team and passing a climate action resolution.
Find out how you can improve your school’s energy efficiency!
Governor Murphy has set an agenda that enhances and expands already existing programs that advance renewable energy, improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare the state for the impacts of climate change, and establishes a path forward to ensure New Jersey achieves its greenhouse gas emissions targets while improving resiliency for all communities throughout the State.
US Climate Alliance - On February 21, 2018, Governor Murphy signed P.L. 2018, c.3, requiring New Jersey to join the US Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of US states committed to uphold the United Nations’ Paris Climate Accord despite the federal government’s decision to withdrawal. On the one-year anniversary of the US’s withdrawal, the Climate Alliance committed to several new actions, including cuts in short-lived climate pollutants such as methane and black carbon, and financing for clean energy.
Global Warming Response Act — Legislation requiring a reduction New Jersey’s economy-wide Greenhouse Gas emissions to 80% below 2006 levels by 2050.
Community Solar Pilot Program — Board of Public Utilities, with support from the Department of Environmental Protection, is currently developing a program to enable utility customers to participate in a solar energy project that is remotely located from their property.
Drive Green New Jersey — Designed to educate the public about the benefits of electric vehicles while dispelling myths, and highlight incentives to advance investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure throughout New Jersey, such as the “It Pay$ to Plug-In” Workplace Charging Grant Program.
New Jersey Greenhouse Emissions Inventory — The latest Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report for 2015 covers statewide emissions for the years 2013, 2014, and 2015.
New Jersey Energy Master Plan — In May of 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order #28 directing the development of a new Energy Master Plan that will serve as a comprehensive blueprint for the total conversion (100%) of the State’s energy production to clean energy sources by 2050.
Offshore Wind — In January of 2018, Governor Phil Murphy Signed Executive Order #8 directing all New Jersey State Agencies with responsibilities under the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA) to fully implement OWEDA in order to meet a goal of obtaining 3,500 MW from offshore wind by the year 2030.
Renewable Portfolio Standard — Requires each electricity supplier serving retail customers in the State to procure 35% of the electricity it sells in New Jersey from qualified renewable energy resources by 2025 and 50% by 2030. Also includes a solar requirement of 5.1% by 2021.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — A multi-state, market-based program that establishes a regional cap on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electric power generating facilities. Proceeds from the program support the greenhouse gas reduction efforts and incentivize the adoption of clean and renewable energy in the state.
Transportation and Climate Initiative — New Jersey has committed to working with Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states in designing a new regional low-carbon transportation policy proposal that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.
Visit New Jersey’s Clean Energy Picture to learn more about Clean Energy in New Jersey
Energy Efficiency Program — Requires electric public utilities to achieve annual reductions in the use of electricity of 2% of the average annual usage in the prior three years within five years of implementation of its electric energy efficiency program. Also requires natural gas public utilities to achieve annual reductions in the use of natural gas of 0.75% of the average annual usage in the prior three years within five years of implementation of its gas energy efficiency program.
New Jersey Clean Energy Program — Statewide program that offers financial incentives, programs and services for New Jersey residents, business owners and local governments to help them save energy, money and the environment.
Beach Nourishment – New Jersey's unique geography places the State in the potential path of hurricanes, tropical storms and nor'easters. Healthy beaches provide mitigation from these natural disasters by acting as a buffer between the pounding surf and the homes, businesses and infrastructure along the coast. The Bureau of Coastal Engineering, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, provides beach nourishment and re-nourishment (pdf) projects for the purpose of restoring New Jersey's beaches along our coastline.
Blue Acres — State acquisition of properties that have been damaged by, or may be prone to incurring damage caused by, storms or storm-related flooding, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage.
Coastal Management Program – A primary mission of the Program is ensuring that coastal resources and ecosystems are conserved as a vital aspect of local, state, and federal efforts to enhance sustainable coastal communities. A network of offices within the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection that serve distinct functions yet share responsibilities that influence the state of New Jersey's coast.
Coastal Resilience Plan — The DEP is developing a Coastal Resilience Plan and tools to evaluate how its policies and programs allow for local, regional and state response to climate change within the coastal zone.
Ecological Solutions and Living Shoreline Projects – New Jersey has over 1,700 miles of ocean and other tidal water coastline. These coastlines are subject to erosion and sea level change and through that to loss of land, fresh water wetlands, salt marsh, habitat and critical species. When properly designed, living shorelines have been proven to be an effective response to these conditions and frequently more beneficial than hard structure responses, such as bulkheads.
Emergency Debris Planning and Management – Past natural disasters, such as Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, showed the need for counties, municipalities, and regulated facilities to plan for debris management. A key lesson learned from these events is that immediate response to debris collection and disposal is essential to a community’s swift recovery from a disaster. This information center was designed to assist counties and municipalities in preparing for the next debris generating event.
Energy Storage — New Jersey’s goal is to achieve 600 MW of energy storage by 2021 and 2,000 MW by 2030.
NY & NJ Harbor & Tributaries Focus Area Feasibility Study (HATS) – In addition to the NJBB Study, the DEP also partnered with USACE in 2016 on the Harbor and Tributaries Focus Area Feasibility Study (HATS). Like NJBB, the HATS Study also developed out of the larger North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study. The HATS Study will include the examination of damages in coastal and tidal areas (north of the NJBB study area) due to coastal storms such as hurricanes “and of possible means of preventing loss of human lives and damages to property, with due consideration of the economics of proposed breakwaters, seawalls, dikes, dams, and other structures, warning services, or other measures which might be required.”
New Jersey Back Bays Coastal Storm Risk Management Study – An investigative study on Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) strategies and solutions to reduce damages from coastal flooding affecting population, critical infrastructure, critical facilities, property, and ecosystems in New Jersey. A full array of structural, non-structural, and natural and nature-based measures will be considered. This study area is located behind the barrier islands of Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington, Atlantic and Cape May Counties and includes the set of interconnected water bodies and coastal lakes that are separated from the Atlantic Ocean.
New Jersey FRAMES — A multi-partner planning initiative within the Two Rivers region of Monmouth County working with 15 communities surrounding the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers to develop a regional plan to address the impacts of increasing coastal hazards and storm surge.
Petroleum Emergency Toolkit — Tool to support government management planning and response personnel in emergencies affecting the petroleum supply chain.
Rebuild By Design – Hudson River – A comprehensive urban floodwater management strategy to reduce the flood risk from storm surge and rainfall events. The project area includes the City of Hoboken and adjacent areas in Weehawken and Jersey City. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $230 million to the State for the RBDH project, which includes the design and environmental impact analysis of an overall comprehensive flood reduction master plan within the project area. The project includes funding for the construction of the river storm surge resist components of the project.
Rebuild By Design – Meadowlands - A flood reduction strategy for the Boroughs of Little Ferry, Moonachie, Carlstadt and Teterboro and the Township of South Hackensack. The project includes the construction of flood risk reduction measures designed to address the impacts of inland flooding. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $150 million to the State for the RBDM project. This project will include channel dredging, a new force main, pump stations, new and improved open spaces, and green infrastructure systems.
Resilient NJ — Program to assist the multi-municipal regions most impacted by Superstorm Sandy in identifying and addressing vulnerabilities to increased coastal and riverine flood risk and other climate stressors.
Shore Protection Program – The Division of Coastal Engineering is responsible for administering beach nourishment and shore protection projects throughout the state in conjunction with various federal, state, and local partners. Since Superstorm Sandy, the Division of Coastal Engineering has been tasked with working with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) to manage $1.5 billion in federal post-Sandy projects along the New Jersey coast.
Wildlife Habitat Connectivity — Wildlife need to be able to move through the landscape to find food, shelter, mates, and other resources. With the changing climate, wildlife will also need to move in response to rising sea levels and shifting habitats. CHANJ is an effort to make New Jersey’s landscape and roadways more permeable to wildlife movement.