Jersey City BOE starts $122M Energy Savings Improvement Program, largest in N.J.


The Jersey City Board of Education has begun a $122 million Energy Savings Improvement Program (ESIP), the largest of its kind in the State of New Jersey.

Photo courtesy of DCO Energy.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Approved through the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities at no cost to residents or taxpayers, will deliver new LED lighting, upgraded building automation systems, cutting-edge solar energy technologies, renovated heating and cooling systems, as well as water conservation and infrastructure improvements.

“The ESIP will allow Jersey City Public Schools to not only reduce energy consumption but also enhance the overall sustainability of our facilities. By conserving energy, the school district can significantly reduce utility costs, thereby generating savings that can be reinvested in improving facilities and infrastructure,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Norma Fernandez said in a statement.

“As a result, the Jersey City Board of Education will create a more sustainable environment for students and staff, while also setting an example for the community on the importance of conservation and resource efficiency.”

Once completed, the ESIP project is expected to save the district $88 million over the next 20 years.

“It’s truly exciting to see Jersey City Public Schools moving toward a sustainable, greener future for students and staff,” added Acting Jersey City BOE Business Administrator Dr. Dennis Frohnapfel.

“By partnering with DCO Energy on this ESIP, we are able to modernize the district’s facilities while utilizing energy cost-saving measures to fund capital improvements the district would otherwise find difficult to fund, all to the benefit of our students.”

As part of the commemoration ceremony, the school district was presented with a proclamation from Jersey City recognizing June 12 as Sustainability Day in the city.

“Our students will benefit educationally from the reinvested moneys that have been recognized from this venture, and they will benefit from the cleaner environment,” stated Jersey City BOE President Dejon Morris.

Additionally, a Scope of Work virtual tour video was unveiled, featuring students from across the district describing the upgrades and improvements at their schools.

“Jersey City has become a leader in sustainability and innovation, and it is encouraging to have our school district aligned with these important goals of creating a healthier, more resilient future for our students, their families, and all residents citywide,” noted Jersey City Department of Infrastructure Director Barkha Patel, Director.

“We have seen the benefits of implementing an Energy Savings Improvement Plan firsthand on the city level, and to have the schools as partners in our collective fight against climate change is key for the many Jersey City generations to come.”

Previously, the Jersey City Public School District, which has a total of 45 schools representing 5.5 million square feet, was spending more than $7 million on utility costs annually.

With the upgrades, 31 schools will have renewable solar generation of almost 11,000,000 kWh of electricity.

All the new solar energy created in the school district will help improve the district’s overall energy portfolio. With this technological advancement, the district will generate 42% of its power on-site via solar.

“Our philosophy focuses on leaving a lasting impact on the communities where we work by not only improving the physical condition of the buildings but also by involving the students, families and residents who use these facilities,” exclaimed JINGOLI CEO Joseph R. Jingoli, Jr.,  who is also the chief business development officer for DCO Energy.

“This critical project will result in sustainable learning environments, reduced energy output from the district, and hopefully, spark an interest in students to consider career paths in engineering, renewable energy and other related industries.”

To fund the ESIP, the district is receiving an additional $64 million in federal grant funding and capital reserve to help assist the development of new sustainable improvements.

This funding was allocated through the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARP ESSER) established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).

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