The Pinelands Preservation Alliance released a whitepaper on climate change and the Pinelands in March 2021.
The Pinelands Commission is responsible for protecting the natural resources within the 1.1 million acres of the Pinelands National Reserve. The threats of development to water quality, water supply, plant, and animal habitat still exist, but a potentially greater threat looms with climate change. Although more difficult to control and mitigate, it is still within the purview of the Pinelands Commission body to address.
Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA) created this white paper to provide suggestions on the next steps for addressing climate change. Many of the suggestions are changes that have been pending with the Commission for years such as the recommendations from the Kirkwood Cohansey Aquifer study. Pinelands Preservation Alliance wants to help the Pinelands survive this change and developed this white paper to document the impacts, potential changes, and opportunities. PPA would like to offer its assistance in further evaluating and implementing these changes.
The challenges of global climate change are both daunting but also surmountable. By lowering carbon emissions, redeveloping urban areas, investing in mass transit, designing our communities in more sustainable ways, and summoning the political will to implement these measures, the climate crisis can be averted. The predicted effects of climate change in the Pinelands and the Eastern Seaboard have been documented, and the observed effects are becoming apparent.
PPA is working to improve its carbon footprint at the Bishop Farmstead.
Adaptive Reuse: PPA’s headquarters at the historic Bishop Farmstead is perhaps our best example of energy efficiency! Preservation of existing/historic buildings saves energy by taking advantage of the nonrecoverable energy embodied in an existing building and extending the use of it. We have adapted a 1753 farmhouse for our offices and a 1930s barn for storage (and future programming).
Energy Audit: PPA performed a basic energy audit in 2008. The results provide a general plan for upgrades to our facility that we have started to implement. Insulation of ductwork and doors has already begun, as has an analysis of office equipment using a Kill A Watt meter, resulting in more conscious efforts to turn off and “sleep” our office equipment. Any future office equipment purchases will be energy-star rated.
Paper: PPA uses 100% post-consumer recycled paper for the bulk of our printing, including this newsletter, our letterhead, and other regular publications. Brochures and other non-standard print jobs generally use 30% post-consumer recycled content. Staff print double-sided copies, and reuse scrap paper and old envelopes where possible.
Lighting: PPA has used compact fluorescent bulbs in the majority of our lighting fixtures since we moved into our new building in 2004. Lighting upgrades since then have included energy efficient T-12 bulbs in our carriage house.
Heating & Cooling: increased efficiency by insulating most of our baseboard heating pipes, hot water pipes, and air conditioning ducts. We also removed an inefficient water cooler, and now use filtered tap water instead.
Recycling: all office paper, newspaper and cardboard, as well as metal and plastic cans and bottles, are recycled through curbside program sponsored by Burlington County Office of Solid Waste & Recycling.
On-demand Hot Water: Our conference center has on on-demand hot water heater, which greatly reduces the energy used to heat the water for dishwasher and kitchen use.
Purchase of Clean Power: PPA purchases renewable energy credits (“green tags”) for 100% of our main office’s electricity usage. The product mix, purchased from Community Energy, includes 50% wind, 1% NJ Solar, and 49% low-impact hydroelectric. PPA has been enrolled in this program since February 2006.
On-site Renewables: PPA installed two geothermal systems for its farmhouse and Barn. Geothermal HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) systems are a way to heat and cool buildings while minimizing or eliminating the need for backup sources of climate control. Ground temperature in South Jersey remains a consistent 55 degrees Fahrenheit regardless of the ambient air temperatures we experience above ground. By piping in either hot or cold air from a building into the ground, the geothermal system is able to add or remove heat from the system. These systems run only on electric power to run the unit’s fan, compressor and pump.
PPA’s unit provides the same amount of heating at 23% of the cost of our oil burning system with an approximate savings of $3000 per year. Air-conditioning systems are rated using Energy Efficiency Ratios (EER). This is the ratio of cooling capacity to electrical input per hour. Older air conditioning units have EER scores near 8, while geothermal units typically operate around 24-32.
Below are a broad range of resources offering summaries of the scientific research on climate change as it relates to the Pinelands and New Jersey: