Lakewood Mayor Steven Langert and Senator Robert W. Singer along with the Township Committee recently passed a resolution that will help Lakewood Township use federal stimulus funding to save energy, improve efficiency, and help the environment through the use of solar energy, all without spending local tax dollars. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the stimulus package enacted in February 2009, Lakewood Township has received an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant of $678,200.00. Steven Reinman, the director of Economic Development; John Franklin, director of Public Works; and Tony Arrrechi, assistant Public Works director, determined the projects and township sites that are prime for energy upgrades.
Senator Singer said, “We should realize tremendous savings by tapping into solar energy. To that end, the energy grant will allow us to put solar panels on different buildings and structures owned by the township, which will save money on energy every year.”
“This is like the gift that keeps on giving,” said Mayor Steven Langert. “This initiative is seeking to create more value for Lakewood than the initial grant, and provide the township with energy savings that will be worth even more in the long term.”
Ervin Oross, director of Lakewood Township’s Community Development Department who helped secure the funds for Lakewood, will work with Birdsall Engineering, Inc. (BEI), Eatontown, to devise a strategy for combining the block grant with other funding to create more value for Lakewood.
As a first step, BEI will perform an energy audit of the township and complete a strategy within 60 days – well ahead of the deadline of 120 days specified by the grant requirements.
Scott MacFadden, BEI president, said BEI will be auditing the township’s energy use and creating a strategy for reducing energy use, especially fossil fuels, and improving energy efficiency in transportation, facilities and other operations.
The initial federal grant is just a starting point for energy funding, said Daniel Swayze of PMK Group, Inc., the Birdsall subsidiary that is handling the details of the project. “Our goal is to secure additional grants to turn this $678,200 into multiple times its value.” Swayze said. “With this amount of initial seed money, Lakewood has a terrific opportunity to make a difference for the community and reduce their energy costs.”
The township must spend the money on energy-related initiatives over the next three years.