- May 27, 2008
New Jersey parking garages to get solar power
Bill Harris, vice president of operations for Nexus envisions a day when "electric vehicles gain in popularity, [and] we'll be able to convert additional parking spaces to docking stations." There is quite a bit more information, so be sure to hit the break for all the details.
NJ Ranks #2 for Solar Installations
Nexus Properties has begun installing fields of solar glass panels on the rooftops of their two large parking garages flanking the Trenton AMTRAK/NJ Transit station -- a first for commuter parking garages in New Jersey.
The solarization of the two parking garages reinforces the state's smart growth strategies, said Joseph L Fiordaliso, Commissioner of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. "New Jersey ranks second to California in solar installation in the United States; we're in the top 10 worldwide," he proudly added. "We now have over 2,500 solar installations completed. What Nexus is doing and what we're doing as a state is very impressive and environmentally important."
Andrea Sussman, a managing member of Nexus, said the solar fields will be installed on the rooftops of Clinton Commons and Station Plaza Park & Ride. Each field will contain 662 individual solar panels that measure 2.5 feet by 5 feet. The combined solar fields are expected to reduce electric consumption at the garages by 467,500 kwh annually -- enough energy savings to heat and light 50 homes for a year, according to PSE&G.
On many days, the solar fields will generate surplus energy that will be routed to PSE&G's electronic grid, said Bill Harris, vice president of operations for Nexus. He said Nexus will also prepare several docking stations in each of the garages for electric vehicles.
"Parking patrons utilizing this form of renewable energy will have their cars recharged by the power of the sun while they take mass transit to and from their place of work," he said. "As electric vehicles gain in popularity, we'll be able to convert additional parking spaces to docking stations."
Sussman said the Lawrenceville-based developer is responding to the increased attention cities and the state are giving to improving sustainability and the reduction of carbon emissions. "At Nexus, we're looking at new, creative ways to incorporate green products, sustainable technologies and energy efficiencies into commercial buildings and now -- parking facilities."
The solar project is the first of several projects Nexus is planning to develop within walking distance of the new, $75 million Trenton Amtrak/NJ Transit station. Station Plaza One, a 20-story, 600,000 square foot office tower for New Jersey's state capitol, will be built directly across from the train station. It's scheduled to open by 2011. A second, twin tower will contain a mix of performing theater and art space, retail space as well as offices and potentially a hotel and other amenities.
In keeping with the growing and important sustainability movement, Station Plaza One is expected to qualify for Gold LEED certification, offering tenants a more energy efficient and enjoyable place to work, Sussman said. "Ample natural light will be afforded through an enclosed two-story glass atrium and large floor to ceiling windows; a state-of-the-art building system will be designed to create greater lighting efficiency and climate control for the building's tenants," she said.
The environmental impacts of constructing and using buildings are staggering, according to a recent issue of Urban Land magazine. They constitute 35 of the material resources consumed, 25 of the greenhouse gases emitted in the United States.
Commissioner Fiordaliso emphasized that communities must not only build their way to sustainable future, but also conserve their way to it. "The average home emits more CO2 than the average car. Consumers can help the environment by using energy efficient lighting, lowering thermostats in the winter and raising them in the summer, buying energy efficient appliances. There's a lot of low-hanging fruit that we can all go after in our homes."
The solar project, he said, is an example of low-hanging fruit in the commercial sector. "It will save money while also keeping pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air annually," he said.
Sussman said the project, which will employ 15 to 20 skilled union craftsmen and laborers, will be finished before November 21.
"Our world is changing very rapidly, with resources like oil becoming more scarce," Sussman said. "Everyone's feeling the pain of the price of gas. The upside is that we're investing in solar, wind and other forms of alternative energy," she explained. "Additionally, more people are going to start thinking of living closer to where they work, taking mass transit and purchasing electric and battery powered cars. The retooling of the carbon economy is underway."
[Source: Nexus Properties]