There’s never been a better time for business owners in New Jersey to improve the energy efficiency of their commercial spaces. That’s because of NJ Cool—a program that will pay 50% of construction costs for projects focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in existing commercial buildings.
Grant awards will range from $50,000 to $1,000,000 and applications are set to open in February, allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
“We are urging businesses to act quickly and take advantage of this incredible opportunity,” says Matt Lima, Director of Energy & Utility Programs at Vanguard Building Solutions. “NJ Cool can be combined with utility company incentives, potentially allowing for energy-saving projects with minimal or no cost for owners.”
Why now? NJ Cool is an unprecedented opportunity for businesses to get a financial boost that will enhance the value of their properties while reducing carbon emissions. They can also improve their ventilation and indoor air quality, which is a huge factor since COVID-19.
NJ Cool is being piloted in Atlantic City, Edison and Newark, with the hope to expand to other cities in the Garden State.
Eligibility for NJ Cool
Of course, owners of commercial buildings are eligible to apply for NJ Cool project funding. Tenants who are leasing space can also apply, as long as they get approval from the property owner.
Key requirements are that applicants must not only work with a Division of Property Management and Construction-approved contractor, but also qualified professionals such as an architect, or Certified Energy Manager (CEMs®). Vanguard Building Solutions has three CEMs® who are credentialed and certified to optimize a facility’s energy performance using their technical know-how and financial savvy.
“There is no downside to starting a conversation with Vanguard Building Solutions,” notes Lima. “We can evaluate the opportunity for you with a free assessment. Because we are an approved trade ally partner with all the utilities in New Jersey, we also know how to leverage utility incentives. From there, we do everything completely turnkey, including the application, the technical specs, the engineering, and the construction.”
What energy efficiency upgrades qualify for NJ Cool?
At a minimum, a NJ Cool project must include replacing a fossil fuel heating and/or cooling system or upgrading HVAC equipment with high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant, but that’s just to start. What’s so special about NJ Cool is that while the main target is reducing emissions from HVAC systems, any measure that will reduce CO2 can be bundled in. These include:
- Replacing lighting with more efficient equipment and controls
- Installing on-site renewable energy generation and/or storage systems
- Conducting weatherization or building envelope (ex, façade, doors, windows, insulation) upgrades
- Replacing gas-powered appliances (ex, water heaters, clothes dryers, kitchen equipment) with electric alternatives
- Installing building management systems or energy load controls
- Installing heat recovery equipment
No time to waste to apply for NJ Cool
NJ Cool is available for projects of all sizes. Because grants can be large, the money may be allocated quickly.
“The clock is ticking,” says Lima. “These programs come and go, and they are here for a limited time. It’s essential to act now.”
NJ Cool is a catalyst for positive change, offering substantial grants and invaluable support to usher in a green transformation for your commercial space. Act now by telling us about your project and Vanguard Building Solutions will assess your building’s potential for NJ Cool and other financial incentives.