Program Updates

On a continuous basis, through the help of the Task Forces, the Certification Standards Committee reviews Sustainable Jersey program content, standards, and feedback to ensure actions are relevant, appropriate and up-to-date with current trends, information and expertise.  Sustainable Jersey announces new program and action updates every year at the annual New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference.  New actions and action updates are typically implemented in January.


2022 Retired Actions

The following actions were retired on December 31, 2022.  For municipalities currently approved for any of these actions, the points will remain in your application until the action expires.  Please view the individual action descriptions linked below for additional details.

2023 Retiring Action

Animals in the Community Education: This action will retire on December 31, 2023. Once the action retires on December 31, 2023, animal education and outreach for non-domestic animals will be eligible for points under the Community Education & Outreach action.


2022 New Actions

Diversity & Equity

Community Equity and Diversity Profile: 10 to 15 Points 
This action awards points to municipalities for creating a simple demographic and spatial profile of diversity in the community, with a focus on identifying residents who are socially vulnerable or who have special communication needs.  This action further guides municipality to investigate the barriers to communication facing these social groups, as well as the communication channels and social networks they rely upon to exchange information and opinions.  Municipalities can put this information and enhanced understanding to use to support more equitable communications, public engagement, and resource allocation.


Energy Assistance Outreach: 10 to 20 Points 
This action awards point to municipalities for promoting energy efficiency and energy assistance programs to low- and moderate- income (LMI) residents and community organizations that support these residents. For 10 points the action requirements include documentation of at least two outreach efforts to promote energy assistance resources and a list of community organizations included in outreach program with a description of information provided to community organization and contribution community organizations made to overall outreach effort. For an additional 10 points, the municipality must implement a Comfort Partners outreach campaign. This action includes the Sustainable Jersey Comfort Partners Outreach Toolkit to support municipal outreach campaigns. Successful completion of this action at the 20-point level satisfies one of the energy efficiency action requirements for the Gold Star in Energy. For more information on the Gold Star in Energy, see the Gold Star Standards section of the website.

Electric Vehicle Community Outreach: 10 to 15 Points 
This new action rewards municipalities for outreach to residents, businesses, and other entities to encourage adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and electric vehicle charging infrastructure (EVSE). The action details outreach strategies by audience, including residents, commercial property owners, multifamily property owners, commercial fleet operators and other large employers, and EV dealerships. The action also details the latest EV and EVSE incentives available for these various entities. Successful completion of this action satisfies one of the transportation action requirements for the Gold Star in Energy. For more information, see the Gold Star Standards section of the website.


Promoting Safe Food Donation for Food Security: 10 Points
This action awards points to municipalities for promoting and facilitating food “waste” recovery to improve food security for residents by training health inspectors and municipal representatives, conducting outreach to food-serving institutions and businesses that generate food surplus (“waste”) as well as to organizations providing food assistance, and establishing a municipal policy that institutionalizes this training and outreach program. Optional additional points can be earned through data collection and reporting on food recovery volumes.

Land Use & Transportation

Community Design For All Ages: 5 to 25 Points
Over the next decade, New Jersey’s population aged 65 and older will continue to grow as the younger Boomers reach retirement age. Many communities are not designed to accommodate all ages and abilities. This action assists a municipality to organize a community initiative to develop an age-friendly implementation plan, or for completing stand-alone components to promote community design for people of all ages. 


2022 Action Updates


Energy Efficiency for Municipal Facilities: 5 to 50 Points
This action awards points to municipalities for working to reduce energy consumption in buildings, starting with energy audits and culminating with significant energy savings. The action has been updated to reflect changes to the energy efficiency incentive programs offered by New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program and the investor-owned electric and natural gas utility companies.

Municipal Onsite Solar System: 5 to 45 Points
This action has been updated to include an additional point level to award 5 points for solar thermal installations. In addition, the action points have been revised so that submissions for onsite solar PV systems that do not include documentation of percentage of electricity displaced by the system will only receive 5 points.

Renewable Government Energy Aggregation: 5 to 50 Points
Municipalities earn points for this action if they implement a Government Energy Aggregation program for their community that includes renewable energy content (R-GEA). Action revisions include: 25-point level for R-GEA with renewable energy content at least 10% above RPS; Modification of 35-point level to award points for R-GEA with renewable energy content at least 20% above RPS; and Modification of 50-point level to award points for R-GEA with renewable energy content at least 20% above RPS AND having 5% or greater of the total renewable energy content sourced from within New Jersey. The action includes the Sustainable Jersey How-To Guide: Renewable Government Energy Aggregation. Successful completion of this action at the 35 point level entitles a municipality to substitute this action for one of the actions required in the Community-wide Emissions Action. For more information on completing the Gold Star in Energy see the Gold Star Standards section of the website.

Municipally Supported Community Solar: 15 to 25 Points
Community solar is a way for residents who cannot install solar panels on their own property to save money on their electric bill and reduce their carbon footprint. This action awards points to municipalities that support community solar. The action has been revised and points are now available to municipalities implementing a Community Solar Education and Outreach Campaign as an option to complete the 15 point level of the action.  Resources for completing this action include the Sustainable Jersey Community Solar How-To Guide and the Sustainable Jersey’s Community Solar Resource Page.

Solar Outreach (formally Community-Led Solar Initiatives): 10 to 15 Points
The name of this action was changed from Community-Led Solar Initiatives to Solar Outreach. Additionally, the 5-point level of this action is no longer available. Points for municipalities that have participated actively in the NJBPU Community Solar Pilot Program may be submitted in the Municipally Supported Community Solar action.

Fleet Inventory: 10 Points
Updated Sustainable Jersey Fleet Inventory Spreadsheet. Added instructions on completing the Sustainable Jersey Fleet Inventory Spreadsheet, and information about the Dashboard for Rapid Vehicle Electrification (DRVE) Tool to analyze opportunities to replace current internal combustion vehicles with electric. The DRVE Tool provides total cost of ownership comparisons.

Make Your Town Electric Vehicle Friendly: 15 Points
This action has been revised to incorporate changes to statewide EVSE policy resulting from Public Law 2021, c. 171. The action guides municipalities in the development of an ordinance to ensure the orderly installation of electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) in their communities. The action also provides guidance on other steps municipalities and municipal staff can undertake to promote EVSE installation. Action revisions include requiring local adoption of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Model Statewide Municipal EV Ordinance and the updating of the Land Use Code (Code of Ordinances). Additionally, electric vehicle outreach activities are moved to a new EV Outreach action.

Land Use & Transportation

Bicycle and/or Pedestrian Improvement Projects: 10 to 25 Points
This action was updated to clarify submission and resubmission requirements, as well as the number of projects that can be completed in a given year.

Natural Resources

Water Conservation Ordinance: 20 Points
This action has been updated to clarify ordinance requirements and newer resources.

Waste Management

Reusable Bag Education Program: 5 Points
The New Jersey statewide ban on disposable bags took effect on May 4, 2022. Municipalities currently engaged in education and outreach campaigns surrounding reusable bags are still eligible to earn points for this action in 2022. For more information about the bag ban, visit the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Get Past Plastic website. This action was updated with new resources related to the bag ban, and removed information about the option to include a single-use plastics ordinance with the submission, since the state law is now in effect.


Previous Program Updates

View Sustainable Jersey's Previous Program Updates to learn more about the modifications made from 2009-2020.