Sustainable Jersey: Graduate students matched with NJ municipalities and school districts to find high-value energy savings

October 24, 2019



This summer, Sustainable Jersey provided six municipalities and three school districts with hands-on-help to evaluate, plan and implement projects to help improve the energy performance of their buildings.

Through the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Climate Corps fellowship program, Sustainable Jersey worked with: Karen Wu (Duke University), Sabrina Vivian (University of Michigan) and Sarrynna Sou (University of Washington). These specially trained fellows were paired with municipalities and school districts from four New Jersey counties:

  • Monmouth County: Borough of Keyport, Borough of Red Bank, Manalapan Township, Neptune Township, and West Long Branch School District
  • Morris County: Mount Arlington Public Schools and the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills
  • Ocean County: Barnegat Board of Education
  • Sussex County: Borough of Hopatcong

The technical assistance program is funded by New Jersey Natural Gas.
“We are proud of our partnership with Sustainable Jersey – now in its 10th year – to help connect communities with the resources they need to make wise energy choices,” said Anne-Marie Peracchio, director of conservation and clean energy policy for New Jersey Natural Gas. “The host towns and schools benefit greatly from this unique opportunity as the EDF Climate Corps Fellows provide guidance and insight to help them address challenges and plan customized energy-efficiency solutions that help advance their sustainability goals.”

Since its launch in 2008, EDF Climate Corps has embedded over 1,000 trained fellows within more than 500 leading organizations to help advance their energy goals. The result: over $1.6 billion in energy savings identified. Since 2015, Sustainable Jersey, with the support of New Jersey Natural Gas, has placed twelve EDF Fellows to assist a total of 18 schools/ districts and 15 municipalities.

As the EDF Fellows worked with township and school district staff in June and July 2019, Sustainable Jersey provided guidance to help the EDF Fellows advise participating schools and municipalities about resources specific to New Jersey, as well as initiatives that earn points toward the Sustainable Jersey certification program.


The EDF Fellows helped to get energy efficiency projects on the fast track to accomplishment – simultaneously lowering energy costs and environmental impact. In particular, the EDF Fellows helped the towns and school districts access the many incentives available through New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program and the New Jersey Natural Gas SAVEGREEN Project. In recent years the EDF Fellows have helped the host towns and school districts reduce their own energy usage while promoting the energy efficiency projects within their communities, including the SAVEGREEN Project’s zero-percent on-bill repayment programs that make energy efficiency more accessible for customers.

Learn more about what the EDF Climate Corps Fellows have accomplished in previous years for New Jersey school districts and municipalities: NJ EDF Climate Corps Project Reports.

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