Hoboken received the distinction of becoming the first city in the state to receive a LEED award from the U.S. Green Building Council thanks to a series of environmental initiatives that started under former Mayor Dawn Zimmer and continues under Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s administration.
Zimmer joined Bhalla to receive the high honor from the USGBC president Mahesh Ramanujam at a press event outside City Hall.
In an interview, Bhalla noted some of the environmental initiatives that Hoboken has been undertaking that he believes caught the attention of the USGBC.
“I think there were a number of initiatives beginning with rebuild-by-design, the quarter billion dollar project to make Hoboken resilient from the effects of climate change and coastal flooding,” Bhalla began.
“But it’s a whole array of initiatives that we have enacted, from the single-use plastic bag ban, to purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity for municipal buildings, to transportation initiatives with the e-scooter share program. So I think that the totality and aggregation of those initiatives has very flatteringly given us this recognition as being the first city in the state of New Jersey to be a LEED Gold certified city.”
Bhalla also mentioned some of the requirements that the city had to satisfy in order to receive the prestigious certification.
“There’s an application process, there is criteria and an evaluation system and then the USBGC, based upon its evaluation of a municipality, makes its determination as to whether or not the recognition is merited, and we are really honored today to receive this recognition,” Bhalla said.
We followed up with the president of the USBGC, Mahesh Ramanujam, to ask him about the requirements that Hoboken satisfied in order to receive the LEED Gold certification.
“The city of Hoboken has achieved LEED Gold certification, what this means is that it validates that the city has a stronger plan for green energy, water, waste, transportation, and most importantly, citizens’ social equity experiences,” Ramanujam began.
“We considered almost 16 indicators on which the data is taken, measured and scored. And on the scoring part, the city has demonstrated that it is performing better than its peers, actually better than its peers around the globe,”Â he explained.
He noted that the data is based on a number of factors, such as the total amount of energy consumed by the city, the amount of water savings the city has realized, the waste the city has been able to divert away from landfills and the ability to measure the quality of life of citizens in regards to their educational attainment and their public safety.
We live streamed most of the press conference to our Facebook Page, which can be viewed below: