New Jersey is aiming for 100 percent clean energy and an 80 percent reduction in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, relative to 2006 levels, by 2050. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's more urgent call is to be carbon neutral by 2050. Recent storms, wildfires and high heat have reinforced the need and urgency to get off fossil fuels.
WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW?
Here are some of the most impactful actions you can take to reduce your carbon emissions and, in several cases, save on energy bills. (These actions mainly focus on the building energy and transportation sectors since these sectors contribute the bulk of carbon emissions):
1) CONSERVE ENERGY: Make your home more energy efficient
It is estimated that the building (includes homes) sector contributes 26% of carbon emissions in New Jersey.
a) Residents and businesses can save up to 30% on their energy bills through energy efficiency upgrades like insulation, caulking to prevent leaks, thermostat adjustments. Learn how your home can become more energy efficient, starting with an energy audit/assessment, saving you money and reducing carbon emissions.
b) Electrify everything in your home, especially your space and water heating. Convert your natural gas or oil furnace and water heating system to electric. A great time to do this is when you are looking for a new system or have oil based systems. Read more here
2) MAKE THE ENERGY (electricity) YOU DO USE RENEWABLE
It is estimated that emissions from electric generation contributes 19% of carbon emissions in New Jersey. Here are three options:
A - Many Montclair residents are part of Montclair's Energy Aggregation program where 40% of your supplied electricity is from renewable energy content. That is double the amount of renewable content that PSE&G provides. That means that 40% of the content in the electricity supplied to your home by PSE&G will be from clean sources like solar and wind. Residents were also able to subscribe to a 100% renewable content option. Another opportunity to subscribe for the program is in the works for the end of 2022. Look out for the opportunity to subscribe then.
B- On-site solar. Of course the best way to go renewable is to install your own roof solar panels, if you have enough sunlight to generate electricity. You can also benefit financially with tax breaks and the ability to sell excess electricity back to the grid. You'll have energy independence from the grid!
C - Join a Community Solar Program - Community Solar is a great idea for homeowners, renters and businesses who can't install their own solar roof panels due to too many shade trees, or other constraints. You can subscribe to an off-site community solar "farm" and participate in both the environmental and cost-saving benefits of solar energy. Right now the subscriptions to a local community solar program are limited, as this is a new initiative in New Jersey. The Environmental Commission is working on expanding these subscriptions in the next 6 months!
3) ELECTRIFY YOUR DRIVING & WALK/BIKE WHENEVER POSSIBLE
It is estimated the transportation sector accounts for over 40% of carbon emissions in New Jersey. That's a lot! Luckily there are great rebates and incentives available to help you make the switch to EV driving. We are thrilled to see the growing number of EV cars in Montclair!
4) MOVE TOWARD ZERO WASTE. While the bulk of Montclair's carbon emissions will be reduced with the actions listed above, we remind folks of the importance of composting and reducing waste! Read what's possible in Montclair.