Cherry Hill Twp, West Chester students score EPA funds

Cherry Hill Township is getting $500,000 and a West Chester student group is getting just shy of $150,000 as part of an overall $7.8 million in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants as part of a program to help combat climate change and save consumers money.

Cherry Hill's project, which is being done in coordination with  Highland Park and Montclair, will set energy use and greenhouse gas reduction targets. Cherry Hill will be focusing on public buildings.

The West Chester school district's Student Conservation Corps will be working with the borough business community to perform simple, no-cost conservation measures to achieve at least 10 percent reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The school district also will broaden its district-wide operational efficiency program to reduce energy use and GHG emissions by 10 percent. 

“These communities see the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change and are working with EPA to fight back,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson via a press release. “We’re working on innovative, win-win strategies that reduce greenhouse gases and cut energy bills for families and businesses -- strategies that can be put in place to fight climate change in communities from Utah and Ohio to China and India.”

The projects will target every aspects of a community’s carbon footprint, from increasing energy efficiency in homes and businesses, to helping residents save fuel by decreasing the number of miles they drive, the agency said.

Preliminary calculations by the grant applicants estimate that by 2012 the projects will reduce about 135,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually—equivalent to the emissions from 25,000 passenger vehicles or 12,000 homes and save more than $4.5 million per year in energy costs. Several projects are expected to create or maintain jobs and provide green job training.