In July 2002, New Jersey’s governor signed Executive Order No. 24 requiring all new school designs to incorporate LEED Version 2.0 guidelines in order to achieve maximum energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in school facilities.
The Executive Order also requires that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority establish a subsidiary corporation, The New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation (SCC), to be responsible for the school facilities project and the state’s compliance with the new order. The SCC was subsequently replaced by the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA) in 2007. The SDA mandates that all projects meet all LEED prerequisites and achieve sufficient criteria to score at least 29 points on the LEED for Schools rating scale, wherever possible. As originally designed, the policy did not require actual LEED certification due to the extra costs and time involved and in its June 2008 biannual report the SDA estimated that approximately 80% of the 70 projects that had taken place since Executive Order No. 24 would have achieved LEED certification had they submitted the necessary application forms. However, the SDA's December 2009 biannual report indicates that it will now require projects begun after the adoption of the 21st Century Schools Design Manual to receive certification under LEED for Schools Version 3.0.