The Jersey City Climate Action Plan

This fall Jersey City office of sustainability reached out to a broad arch of stakeholders and sustainability specialists to form a working group focused on advising the JC council on the short and long term objectives address climate change. The Jersey City Climate Action Plan working group (JCCAP) is scheduled to provide initial recommendations in spring 2020. NJPH has been asked and gladly accepted the offer to participate. Beyond the fact that Passive House is one of the strongest energy reduction solution at the single building level, it also highly compatible with parallel climate initiatives, supporting resiliency: Passive Houses can be powered by a fraction of renewables a code-compliant buildings would, electrification: Passive Houses super-insulation and airtightness dramatically reduces the size of electrical heat pump systems needed to condition them, reducing upfront cost AND mutes the added cost of electrical consumption at current rates. For NJPH this is a platform for us to get more climate action decision-makers to know and better understand Passive House. It is also an opportunity for us to listen to the market and stakeholder needs and adjust our own activity to better serve those needs.

The JCCAP Energy subcommittee that NJPH participates in started working along other participants on the actions that Jersey City would develop as a municipality, the state or nation-wide initiatives it would advocate and support and the communication platform it would put together to keep the public, real estate, transportation, and planning professionals informed on the plan and its gradual implementation. Some ideas that are more relevant to Passive House.

  • Accelerate adoption of energy benchmarking and enforce energy upgrades based on them (develop)- finally, we will find out how much better PH really is…

  • Stronger enforcement of energy efficiency code requirement (develop) –

  • Incentivizing transition to fully electrified building sector

  • Development of mechanisms and regulations to support net-zero carbon for new construction (Advocate)

  • Online portal aggregating financing and incentive opportunities (communicate)- for sure that would be useful to mobilize PH implementation…

These actions and many more are under discussion by the Energy subcommittee and in parallel by the Equity subcommittee to ensure the changes support those who most need it!

One thing that was particularly interesting for me was to think of Passive House from the Urban planning perspective. PassiveHousing at that scale requires addressing every single building type including multifamily, commercial institutional and even light industrial. While Passive House is technically applicable to all of these and projects like that have been applied worldwide, local hands-on experience is still scarce, and not well known- NJPH should definitely chart PH expertise across the state especially in complex renovations and alternate building types. If you are someone with experience in that – let us know!

More info on the JCCAP: