ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO ANNOUNCES THAT THE ENERGY AND CONSERVATION EXHIBITS IN THE ESSEX COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER EARN AWARD FOR UTILIZING ECO-FRIENDLY PAINT
Roseland, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced on Friday, January 18th that the new Energy and Conservation Exhibits at the Essex County Environmental Center have been recognized with a “Commitment to a Healthy Environment” award because eco-friendly paint was used during the construction and when the entire interior of the facility was repainted. The award, presented by Smart Little House, LLC, in Roseland, recognizes Essex County for its commitment to being green and health conscious and for using environmentally-friendly, natural, non-toxic and sustainable products in the new exhibits and throughout the Environmental Center.
“These new exhibits teach visitors what actions they can take and what products they can use to make their lives more sustainable and eco-friendly. What better way to teach that lesson than to use non-toxic paint in our new exhibits and throughout the Environmental Center,” DiVincenzo said. “I thank Smart Little House for partnering with our Environmental Center and helping to promote our mission to raise awareness about protecting nature and our environment as well as our health,” he added.
“I am continually amazed at what we are accomplishing here at the Environmental Center. It’s such a great place. We are certainly putting Essex County first when it comes to environmental issues,” Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold said. Also attending to show his support was Freeholder Len Luciano.
The exhibits, which opened in September 2012, provide interactive activities in which visitors of all ages can learn about solar panels, emerging sources of energy and energy-efficient household appliances, building materials and habits. During the renovation, Mythic Paint, a non-toxic, ultra-low odor paint that does not contain VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) and cancer causing toxins, was used throughout the exhibits. Smart Little House is the leading distributor of Mythic paint in this area. SMART Certified and bio-based Marmoleum flooring, natural finishes and hand-made tiles from SmartLittleHouse were used as well.
“We are very happy to partner with Essex County because they have been very sensitive to the environmental issues that are important to us,” said Chris Murphy, owner of the Smart Little House in Roseland. “Using non-toxic and sustainable paint helps improve indoor air quality and enabled the building to be used while painting was being done,” he added.
“I encourage everyone to visit the Environmental Center because it’s a place where people of all ages can walk away with something that they can do or something that impacts their life,” said Ann Marchioni, a member of the Essex County Environmental Commission.
The centerpiece of the displays is a miniature house where visitors learn about how energy is consumed in a home and what simple steps can be taken with new products to conserve energy and reduce energy consumption. The miniature home was constructed with environmentally friendly materials and the household appliances on display are energy efficient. Touch screen computers and displays explain how everything from the tiles on the floor to the insulation to the windows are made to meet the highest energy-efficiency and environmentally-friendly standards. Next to the miniature house is a display about what residents can do in their backyards to protect the environment, such as using barrels to collect rain water, growing vegetables in a garden and using a push mower to cut the grass.
Two energy labs provide visitors with demonstrations about how a water heater works and what advances have been made to make it more efficient, how windmills create electricity, the difference between incandescent, fluorescent and LED light bulbs, how solar panels and fuel cells work, and other new concepts to create energy in the future. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the exhibits and use touch screen computers to gain information about energy consumption and generation. Around the outside walls are self-contained kiosks and computer stations where visitors can monitor the amount of energy being generated by the solar panels installed on the Environmental Center roof, calculate their carbon footprint or learn about the history of electricity. Essex County received a $951,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and contributed $73,690 from the Essex County Capital Budget to fund the project.
The Essex County Park System was created in 1895 and is the first county park system established in the United States. The Park System consists of more than 6,000 acres and has 22 parks, five reservations, an environmental center, a zoo, Treetop Adventure Course, ice skating rink, roller skating rink, three public golf courses, golf driving range, two miniature golf courses, three off-leash dog facilities, a castle and the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens. The Essex County Environmental Center opened in 2005 and includes the nearby Garibaldi Hall. The Center is located in Essex County West Essex Park, a 1,360-acre wetlands preserve along the Passaic River in Livingston, Roseland, West Caldwell and Fairfield.