Maplewood, NJ — Maplewood Township is taking on the challenge to see how it stacks up to other municipalities across the nation when it comes to clean energy successes. 

Thirty communities in five states are taking the Sustainable States Community Energy Challenge,which offers tools and support to assess clean energy goals and initiatives. Participating cities will be a part of an in-state peer cohort and receive technical assistance to complete a pressing clean energy initiative. Additionally, the challenge will compare clean energy achievements across similarly-sized cities, assess future initiatives, and provide project implementation assistance. 

Given the very real financial challenges cities face because of COVID-19, this opportunity helps municipalities promote energy savings for residents, businesses, and local government operations. These energy efficiency upgrades can contribute to job creation in the local community. 

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The project is a partnership of the Sustainable States Network, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and five state-level sustainability programs, including Sustainable CT, Green Cities California, Sustainable Maryland, Minnesota GreenStep Cities, and Sustainable Jersey.

In New Jersey, six municipalities will be participating: Glen Rock Borough, Gloucester Township, the Town of Hammonton, Hillsborough Township, Lawrence Township and Maplewood Township.  “Sustainable Jersey is pleased that six of our certified communities will have the opportunity to share the impressive energy efficiency progress they have made,” said Randall Solomon, executive director of Sustainable Jersey. “By participating in the Community Energy Challenge, these municipalities will build upon their work with additional strategies that will make a major contribution to our statewide effort to reduce greenhouse gasses.”

Maplewood Township Mayor Frank McGehee said, “Maplewood has been working for over a decade to reduce our community-wide carbon footprint. We’re excited to participate in the National Clean Energy Challenge so we can offer our residents and small businesses more opportunities to realize the benefits of energy savings. This program allows us to combat climate change while showcasing our commitment to clean energy on the national stage.”

“The power that small and medium-sized cities have to make durable and lasting impacts on clean energy can’t be underestimated. This is an opportunity to compare their clean energy achievements against similar cities in their own state and across the country and learn how they can magnify their progress,” said Lola Schoenrich, coordinator of the Sustainable States Network and vice president of communities at the Great Plains Institute. “Municipalities across the country are taking a lead in adding renewable energy, making buildings more efficient, and electrifying transportation to ensure a more sustainable and livable community for their residents.”

Maplewood Township is certified at the silver-level with Sustainable Jersey and has undertaken a number of initiatives to reduce energy use. For example, Maplewood Township: installed public electric vehicle charging stations; implemented an energy aggregation program which reduces costs and increases renewable energy use for residents; completed energy audits of all main buildings; upgraded lighting for energy efficiency in the Municipal Building, the Public Works building and Memorial Library; achieved LEED certification for the police and courts building; replaced old traffic signals with LEDs; participated in a cooperative buying agreement for cheaper and greener energy for buildings and purchased hybrid vehicles when replacing township fleet vehicles.

 “We look forward to working with small and medium-sized cities across the country to assess their clean energy efforts to help them see where they can step up,” says Dave Ribeiro, ACEEE senior research manager. “We’re confident the Community Energy Challenge will help communities throughout the country scale up their energy efficiency and clean energy efforts.”

The Sustainable States Clean Energy Challenge is funded with support from the New York Community Trust. 

About the Sustainable States Network (SSN):The SSN brings together 13 state-level clean energy and sustainability programs to share resources and best practices, foster the success of local initiatives, and collaborate on projects with the aim of making sustainability the norm in all communities. Find out more at SSN is managed by the Great Plains Institute.

About the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE): ACEEE acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. Find out more at

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