Monday, January 28, 2008

NJ lawmakers plug into alternative energy bills

If you're a fan of alternative energy, you would have enjoyed today's meeting of the New Jersey Assembly's Environment and Solid Waste Committee.

The committee released legislation combining three bills--A1612, A385 and A1781--that exempt from local property taxes any equipment added to a residence, commercial or industrial property, or mixed-use building if the equipment produces renewable energy for the building's heating, cooling or general energy needs.

To qualify for the exemption, the property owner would make written application to his/her municipal construction code official who would issue a certification and could inspect the equipment to make sure that the application is valid.

One committee member objected on grounds that residents who cannot afford to install alternative energy systems should not be required to shoulder the taxation burden that is avoided by those who can afford the installations.

Also released was A-1559 which authorizes municipal planning boards to adopt a green buildings and environmental sustainability element in their municipal master plans which, among other things, would promote the installation of renewable energy systems.

Finally, the committee reported A-1629 which authorizes the Commissioner of Community Affairs to amend the Uniform Construction Code’s energy subcode to establish enhanced energy-saving construction requirements, the added cost of which may reasonably be expected to be recovered through energy conservation over a period of not more than seven years.

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