By Jessica Fiur, Online News Editor
Monroe, N.J.—New regulations are emerging that reflect the Christie administration’s environmental and energy conservation policies. The NJ Board of Public Utilities has approved a petition submitted by the New Jersey Apartment Association (“NJAA”) for approval of water sub-metering in newly constructed multifamily buildings.
New Jersey is the 50th state to allow sub-metering in newly constructed buildings. This provision is expected to reduce water-related usage by 15 percent or more in the new apartments, which helps make the building greener.
Once people see how much water they are consuming, usage is reduced.
“When you can measure a resident’s personal consumption, you can educate,” Connor Fennessy, vice president of government affairs, NJAA, tells MHN. NJAA is aiming for “conservation through education,” he adds.
According to an NJAA whitepaper titled Water Conservation and Economy in New Jersey through Sub-Metering of Water in Multi-Family Rental Housing, “It is in the public interest to conserve water. It is in the economic interest of NJAA members to stop paying for billions of gallons of potable water wasted each year in New Jersey. It is water that is wasted because residents do not have a stake in water economy. Sub-metering—letting residents see and understand their water use—would give residents a stake in water conservation they do not have now.”
The sub-metering approval is one of the first energy policy recommendations from the Lt Governor’s Red Tape Review Commission Report.
Benefits of sub-metering were indicated in a 2004 study by the Environmental protection Agency, which showed an average water savings of 15 percent after sub-meters that measured individual consumption were installed in multifamily communities.
“Approval of sub-metering by the Board of Public Utilities is a win for renters, a win for property owners and a win for the environment,” Jean Maddalon, executive director, NJAA, says in a statement. “Education is key to any efforts to conserve our natural resources, and with sub-metering we can help educate residents on their personal water usage habits. Better knowledge of personal usage habits leads to better personal decision making and advances conservation.”