Local library “checks out” the benefits of energy efficiency

The Township of East Brunswick stretches across more than 22 miles of central New Jersey real estate and is home to a diverse population of 47,000 who have cultivated a municipality with an outstanding school system and a strong mix of housing, commercial and recreational options.

The East Brunswick Public Library helps to anchor this thriving community with more than 335,000 patrons passing through the doors annually. The library is one of the busiest municipal library buildings in the state of New Jersey. It has achieved national recognition for the quality of its collections, programs and services, as well as continually being named as one of the “Best Public Libraries in Central New Jersey” by readers of the Home News Tribune.

“Libraries like ours are increasingly seen not just as places for learning and knowledge, but also as both community and cultural centers,” said Melissa Kuzma, East Brunswick Public Library assistant director. “We host a mix of practical workshops and unique events ranging from things like job networking and mental health issues to ‘Opera Talk’ and family concerts.”

“Like any other public facility, we are always looking for ways to make library operations more cost effective, as well as to try to find ways to be more energy efficient,” Kuzma said. “When PSE&G approached us with information about the Energy Saver Program, this gave us an opportunity to accomplish both goals.”

The Energy Saver Program is one of several energy efficiency programs that PSE&G offers to its customers. It is available to government entities like the East Brunswick Public Library, as well as nonprofits and small businesses located in Urban Enterprise Zones that PSE&G serves. The program provides a free energy audit and pays for 70 percent of the recommended energy conservation measures, with the remaining 30 percent repaid by the customer over three years, interest-free, on their energy bill.

“The vast majority of the work in the library involved replacing older, inefficient lighting,” Kuzma said. “Through the Energy Saver Program, we replaced more than 500 individual lights and fixtures, which improved not just our energy efficiency, but also the quality and brightness of the lighting throughout the building. The program also let us make improvements to our heating and air conditioning system, which will not only save energy but also help make the interior more comfortable for our staff and patrons.”

The energy efficiency upgrades made at the East Brunswick Public Library will save more than 125,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 300 therms of natural gas. That’s the equivalent of what 20 average-size homes use in electricity for a year and about four months use of natural gas for a standard-size home.

PSE&G’s Energy Saver Program has helped hundreds of facilities like the East Brunswick Public Library save energy and money.

This past September, PSE&G proposed to do much more through its comprehensive, multibillion-dollar Clean Energy Future plan. The most significant aspect of the proposal is a nearly $2.8 billion energy efficiency plan that will allow even more customers to use up-front rebates and other financial incentives to purchase more efficient appliances, smart thermostats and other equipment; get free and affordable energy audits, reports and system design advice; get free and low-cost energy efficiency kits, tools and installations; and seed funding for new energy-saving techniques. The plan has a special emphasis on hard-to-reach customers, such as low-income, multifamily, small business and local governments.

Hardley DuPont, Program Manager, PSE&G Energy Saver Program

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