Grant Details

Sustainable Jersey Grants Program for Energy Initiatives

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    Funder Type

    Private Foundation

    IT Classification

    B - Readily funds technology as part of an award


    Sustainable Jersey


    For this grant cycle, the Gardinier Environmental Fund will fund energy projects focused on energy conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy. Projects can fall into the following categories: innovative energy projects; energy resiliency including microgrids and/or energy storage; renewable energy installations; alternative fuel vehicle policies, programs, and infrastructure; building efficiency upgrades (excluding lighting-only upgrades); energy education projects; and energy studies and business and engineering planning for projects likely to advance into implementation.

    The Grants Program is an important benefit for New Jersey municipalities and school districts participating in the Sustainable Jersey certification programs. Funding supports efforts to implement projects that help towns and schools gain points needed for Sustainable Jersey certification and make progress toward a sustainable future. 

    Grant proposals must focus on energy conservation, energy efficiency or renewable energy projects including:

    • Innovative Energy Projects: Support for projects that are taking a comprehensive approach to meeting advanced energy conservation or efficiency objectives, such as achieving zero-netenergy.
    • Energy Resiliency: Implementation of sustainable approaches to improved energy resiliency, primarily focused on backup solutions that do not rely on traditional fuel sources. Examples include upgrades to solar projects to include energy storage, the use of natural gas fuel cells, or combined heat and power applications, including (in all cases) islanding capability that allows operation during a grid outage.
    • Renewable Energy: Any geothermal, solar thermal or photovoltaic (electricity) project, including either a behind-the-meter solution that reduces the purchase of utility power or a commercial project on the applicants property. This can include updates to local zoning ordinances; streamlined permitting procedures for solar installations; training for municipal staff; and/or educational outreach and incentive programs to increase adoption of solar by local residents and businesses. Projects may range in size from a solar thermal (solar water heating) installation on the fire station to a solar photovoltaic (PV) canopy on the municipal parking lot, potentially paired with electric vehicle charging stations and/or battery storage.
    • Alternative Fuel Vehicle Policies, Programs and Infrastructure: Activities to promote alternative fuel vehicles include updates to zoning ordinances and/or parking policies to encourage the installation and use of charging stations; staff training; educational outreach and incentive programs related to increasing and supporting alternative fuel vehicle use; and/or the installation of public charging stations or workplace charging stations for employees. Projects may include updating or retrofitting school bus fleets or police vehicle fleets to alternative fuels, such as electric or propane.
    • Building Efficiency: Activities to improve the efficiency of buildings owned and operated by the municipal government and school district are eligible. This includes conservation measures, behavioral programs, retro-commissioning, and building upgrades. For building upgrades, the grant must be used in combination with NJCEP funds or other energy incentive programs, such as utility incentives where available, to cover the municipal/school district cost share. Existing incentives cover upgrades to the building envelope (insulation, roofing, doors, windows, etc.) and/or equipment replacement for HVAC systems, food service equipment, and other efficiency measures for both existing buildings and new construction projects. Innovative options for municipal or school district buildings such as green roofs, cool roofs or the use of innovative technologies or design elements to improve the energy efficiency of the building are strongly encouraged.
    • Energy Education Projects: Implementation of community-wide or school-based energy education programs including energy education programs that focus on energy conservation, kiosks that show real time energy generation and consumption in order to increase awareness on the impact of energy conservation practices, and sustainable energy sources impact on greenhouse gas reductions.
    • Studies, Plans and Engineering: Initial work for advanced energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy projects. Particularly engineering and business planning initiatives for projects that will likely advance into implementation. These studies could include (but are not limited to) community assessments for making towns electric vehicle or solar friendly, climate action plans, carbon footprints, school or municipal fleet inventory assessments, sustainable energy transition plans, or early work on large projects (audits, feasibility studies, business planning) such as alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure planning or energy resilience initiatives. 

    History of Funding

    None is available.

    Additional Information

    Eligible expenses include salaries, contractor/consultant costs, equipment, materials, and supplies.

    Facilities and administrative (overhead) costs may not be charged to the grant. Lighting only upgrade projects of any kind are not eligible for funding. This includes street lighting, stadium lighting, parking lot lighting, and other exterior and interior lighting. Direct Install projects for the replacement of HVACs, boilers, etc. that also include lighting upgrades will still be considered. 

    For joint projects between school districts and municipal governments, each entity may submit a separate $30,000 or $10,000 grant application addressing their unique role in the project.


    Kaitlyn Vollmer

    Kaitlyn Vollmer
    Sustainability Institute at the College of New Jersey Forcina Hall, 3rd Floor 2000 Pennington Rd.
    Ewing, NJ 08628-0718

    Veronique Lambert

    Veronique Lambert
    Sustainability Institute at the College of New Jersey Forcina Hall, 3rd Floor 2000 Pennington Rd.
    Ewing, NJ 08628-0718

  • Eligibility Details

    To be eligible to apply the following requirements must be met:

    • The applicant must be a New Jersey municipality or public school district.
    • The applicant must be registered with Sustainable Jersey or Sustainable Jersey for Schools AND have appointed a green team that meets the program requirements.
    • Applicants do not have to be certified in their respective Sustainable Jersey program to be eligible to receive a grant. However, fifty percent of the funding available for this grant cycle will be reserved for certified communities and school districts with certified schools.
    • Proposed grant projects that would be eligible for funding or rebates available from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Clean Energy Program (NJCEP), New Jersey Department of Environmental Protections (NJDEP), œIt Pay$ to Plug In electric vehicle charging grants, regional utility company programs, or other state government incentive programs must 3 leverage these resources in addition to the Sustainable Jersey grant as part of the overall project budget.

    Joint municipal government and school district projects are encouraged. 

    Deadline Details

    Applications were to be submitted by midnight eastern time on October 31, 2018. A similar deadline is anticipated annually.

    Award Details

    Gardinier Environmental Fund is contributing $150,000 to support a Sustainable Jersey Grants Program cycle for municipal governments and public school districts. From this total amount, this cycle will award:

    • Two $30,000 grants, and
    • Nine $10,000 grants.

    Recipients will receive an initial check representing 50% of the total grant amount in January. The remaining 50% balance of the grant award will be paid contingent upon satisfactory completion of the project and approval of the final fiscal and project report, due no later than July 31, 2020.

    Matching or in-kind contributions are encouraged, but not necessary with the exception of state-sponsored or utility-sponsored incentive/grant programs. If your project is eligible for NJCEP, NJDEP, or utility-sponsored energy conservation or energy efficiency funding, you MUST participate in these programs and include the anticipated funding in the project budget.

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