Frequently Asked Questions


Below is a listing of frequently asked questions that relate to registration, certification and grants.

 

 

Registration


No. Sustainable Jersey is a free and voluntary program.

No. Sustainable Jersey is a non-profit organization. Municipal participation is free and voluntary.

Sustainable Jersey’s certified municipalities are national leaders in implementing solutions to key sustainability challenges. From efforts to reduce waste, cut greenhouse gas emissions, improve public health, stimulate local economies, increase resiliency and progress toward an equitable society, the actions completed by Sustainable Jersey communities are impressive. Participating municipalities implement practices that lead to cost savings; have access to Sustainable Jersey grants; receive free training, tools and expert guidance; and gain recognition while creating a better future for their community. Learn more.

Yes. Registration with Sustainable Jersey does not expire and you can begin working on certification anytime.

No. You can apply for certification at any time. Work at the pace that feels right for you. Applications are accepted every year. Learn more.

 

 

Certification


No. There are no registration or certification fees.

Three years. For example, for municipalities certified in 2017, the certification was set to expire December 31, 2020. However, to avoid a lapse in certification, those municipalities must apply for recertification in the 2020 certification cycle.

Any time. Certification lasts for 3 years, but the opportunity to recertify is offered annually. Consider recertifying early to earn more points, possibly achieve a higher certification level, and refresh your municipality's accomplishments on the Sustainable Jersey website. Webinar trainings are available on the Webinars page to assist with recertification.

You must complete actions totaling a certain number of points. Bronze certification requires at least 150 points and Silver requires at least 350 points. Each level of certification requires the establishment of a mandatory green team. Along with attaining a certain number of points, two or three “priority actions” must be completed in order to qualify for certification. The associated number of points, priority actions, and actions taken within a certain number of categories for bronze and silver certification must be met. More details are available on the Sustainable Jersey Certification Overview page.

The 2020 deadline is May 17. Sustainable Jersey operates on a once a year submission cycle, with an initial certification application submission deadline. Only those applicants that submit by the initial deadline will be considered for certification that year. The details on the structure and timing of the application cycle are available on the Certification Cycle page.

It depends. Some actions require every component of the action to be completed. Other actions are like a menu, where points are awarded based on the components completed. If you still have questions, contact info@sustainablejersey.com.

No. There is no double-counting.

It depends. Each action has a look back period and an approval period, found in the Master Action Tracking Spreadsheet on the Action Development page. Use this sheet to help determine if your documentation is valid at the time of certification.

The look back period identifies how recent the activities associated with the action need to have been completed. The approval period identifies when an approved action will expire and new documentation will be required to continue to earn points for an action. For example, the Hold a Green Fair action has a look back period of 18 months. This means the green fair must have taken place in the year the applicant is applying for certification or the previous year in order to earn points for the action. If the action is approved it will be set to expire based on when the Green Fair was held. If it had taken place in the previous year it will be set to expire December 31 of the current year. If it took place in the current year it will be set to expire December 31 of the following year.

In order to be able to submit an application, it must meet the minimum requirements for Bronze certification. This means that the actions listed as Approved or Completed must total at least 150 points, include two priority actions, and be from at least 6 of the 18 action categories. If your application does not meet the minimum requirements but you would like to have it reviewed, mark the additional actions you plan to complete to meet the requirements as Completed. This will then change the “Submit Application for Review and Certification” button to yellow and allow the application to be submitted. You can add/remove actions throughout the rest of the certification cycle.

Even if actions are not finished yet, they need to marked completed in order to submit. Make sure to turn enough actions from planned to completed so the submit button turns yellow. You can add/remove actions throughout the rest of the certification cycle.

Yes. Wherever possible, regional collaboration is highly encouraged. Each municipality must submit the appropriate documentation for that action when submitting for certification. For example, if three towns collaborate on a green fair, as long as all three towns were invovled in the planning, preparation and promotion of the event, each could earn points in their respective certification application.

Yes! If your municipality requests points for an action completed with a non-municipal stakeholder, you must articulate the role of the municipality in action implementation. To receive points, your municipality must demonstrate some meaningful role in action implementation; it is insufficient to rely solely on the work of a partner.

Opportunities are available. For free technical support resources, visit Sustainable Jersey Grants page.

After the final submission deadline, all action submissions will be marked Approved or Not Approved and all applications will be closed out with a Certified or Certification Denied status. However, all the existing documentation will the remain in the online application and all actions marked approved will remain in the application until they expired. This means that if a municipality had its certification denied the green team can try again next year keeping the points they have earned for actions that did not expire. Similarly, Bronze certified municipalities can set their sights on Silver for the following year by leveraging the approved points that will carry over to the following year.

Yes and No. If your municipality gets certified, then yes, all approved action submissions become part of a Certification Report that is viewable by the public through the Sustainable Jersey website. To promote peer learning the reports can be searched on the Participating Municipalities and Approved Actions page. If you do not get certified this year, your materials will remain in your online application, but they won’t be publicly viewable, even if individual actions were approved.

No. Sustainable Jersey does not remove documentation from applications. The intent of the application is for it to serve as a living filing cabinet to store work and track progress over time.

 

 

Grants


Sustainable Jersey offers grants and technical assistance opportunities for activities related to completing Sustainable Jersey actions. Grants are also offered to school districts and schools participating in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program.

Grant cycles are contingent upon funding. There are typically two to three grant cycles for municipalities per year. For more information, click here.

Grant funding levels supported range from $2,000 to $30,000.

All grant applications are completed through an online portal. Check to see if there is a current funding cycle here.

Eligible applicants include municipalities registered in the Sustainable Jersey program. Check to see if your municipality is registered here. Additional eligibility requirements are outlined in each grant cycle application packet.

The chances of receiving a grant vary by cycle depending on a number of factors. While Sustainable Jersey grants are competitive, the odds of receiving a grant are significantly higher than state and/or federal grant programs.

No. We receive grant applications written by green team members, volunteers, municipal staff, etc. All applications have an equal chance of being funded. Review tips for submitting a grant proposal here.

Reporting requirements are detailed, but not overly cumbersome. Recipients are required to submit a final report (interim report as well for grants $10,000 or larger). More information on reporting requirements is available here.