The Schools and Small Business Energy Efficiency Stimulus (SSB) Program was launched by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU), a $180 million grant program for New Jersey schools and small businesses to repair or replace HVAC systems, plumbing fixtures, and appliances to meet efficiency and health standards. As part of the Murphy Administration’s commitment to equity and environmental justice, the federally financed initiative will provide at least $135 million of its funds to schools and small businesses in underprivileged regions.
“Through the Schools and Small Business grant program, we are prioritizing the health of our children while also ensuring that small businesses have access to the tools they need to save energy and water expenses while also improving indoor air quality,” NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso stated. “As we face the problems of climate change and the ongoing epidemic, these funds will allow us to reap the immediate advantages of cleaner facilities, as well as the economic boost in local labor needed to finish these projects, particularly in overburdened communities.”
NJBPU implements legislation signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in August and championed by Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Troy Singleton, and Assembly members Pamela Lampitt, Wayne DeAngelo, and Thomas Giblin in starting the SSB programs.
“This investment is a crucial part of our recovery from the coronavirus epidemic,” Senate President Steve Sweeney said. “It provides economic incentives to modernize HVAC systems to current health and safety requirements while creating thousands of jobs across New Jersey.” “By reducing operating expenses via energy efficiency, school districts and small businesses can ensure healthier air inside their classrooms and buildings.”
“As schools and small businesses prepare to reopen, these energy efficiency awards will offer much-needed funds to update old ventilation and plumbing systems that are not only inefficient and costly, but also dangerous as we battle COVID-19,” Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt said. “The enhancements made possible by this initiative will benefit our students and New Jersey citizens for many years.”
The School and Small Business Ventilation and Energy Efficiency Verification and Repair (SSB-VEEVR) Program and the School and Small Business Noncompliant Plumbing Fixture and Appliance (SSB-NPFA) Program are the two programs that receive SSB financing.
The SSB will pay 75% of the entire cost of initiatives launched under these programs, with the remaining 25% coming from outside sources. To guarantee that more organizations may join, the programs have a $5 million per school district and $500,000 per small company maximum.
Older HVAC and plumbing systems are inefficient and expensive to operate, and they frequently fail to satisfy current health and safety regulations. In response to climate change and the COVID-19 epidemic, the SSB program intends to make it easier to repair and replace these systems in order to save energy and enhance public health and safety. This includes a requirement that sinks, toilets, and urinals be germ-free.