As a New Jersey Realtor, I could theoretically help a client buy or sell a home anywhere in the state. Practically speaking, though, this would be, well, impractical. I don't know a whole lot about the South Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia, for instance. I do know a lot about Essex County real estate, however. And one thing that really impresses me about Essex County is how many of its towns have received certificates of sustainability.
Sustainable Jersey is an organization founded in 2006 that helps communities foster environmental awareness and responsible economic growth, which lead to a higher quality of life in the long term. Communities interested in becoming certified are required to take steps such as ensuring environmental justice in planning and zoning. Once they have earned their certification, they can apply for cash grants: Wal-Mart has since 2009 partnered with Sustainable Jersey in awarding grants to towns for sustainability projects. Last year, for instance, Montclair was awarded $25,000 to install charging stations for electric cars, while West Orange received $10,000 for water conservation education initiatives.
Other local communities that have received certification include Bloomfield, Glen Ridge and Maplewood. It's probably not a coincidence that these are also very walkable suburbs; walkability has a lot to do with sustainability.