Energy & Environmental Resource Center
An exciting learning center focused on building a greater understanding of energy, environmental challenges and strategies for balancing energy demand with environmental stewardship.
Designed to promote broad conversations around energy use and the complexities of climate change, the EERC presents the real facts about electricity use and environmental impacts so that visitors can come to their own conclusions about our nation’s energy future.
PSEG opened the EERC in January 2010. The facility is housed in the former Nuclear Training Center in Salem, N.J. Over 20,000 square feet of the 65,000-square-foot facility is dedicated to public use, including 6,000 square feet of interactive exhibits. The exhibits explore the impact of technology, lifestyle and public policy on energy consumption and the environment and challenge visitors to consider their own energy use and carbon footprint.
The EERC is a Gold-level LEED certified building. Issued by the U.S. Green Building Council, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification signifies that a facility is designed and built with a consideration toward energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions-reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. By making strategic choices during the design and construction of the EERC, PSEG reduced energy use in the building by 28 percent and water use by over 40 percent. A 75 kW rooftop photovoltaic solar panel array and a 2.3 kW wind turbine provide 10 percent of the building’s power.
The EERC is open by appointment only. Tours and functions are scheduled as requested. Educational programs on topics like electricity generation, climate change and nuclear energy are available for student field trips, scouting and other interested groups. PSEG is committed to meeting the needs of the local community, and meeting space – including a multipurpose room, classroom and wet lab – are available for the community’s use, free of charge. Contact us if you are interested in scheduling a visit or function.
Programming for All Ages & Meeting Spaces
PSEG offers a variety of educational programs that complement exhibit tours. Programs must be scheduled in advance. Program descriptions and information are grouped in three categories:
Student field trips are targeted at the seventh- and eighth-grade levels, but can be modified to accommodate grades 4 to 6 and high school levels. Field trips typically run for 2.5 hours and can accommodate up to 60 students. Schools are responsible for providing transportation, but there is no program fee for field trips. Students typically rotate through three programs during their visit:
Electricity 101 – Part 1
Designed specifically for student groups, this 40-minute, interactive demonstration gets students up and moving around as they learn how electricity is generated. The program reviews the parts of the atom and electricity as the flow of electron particles. The program also covers current and static electricity, circuits, friction, electrical safety, and insulators and conductors.
Electricity 101 – Part 2
For students in grades 7 and above, this program immediately follows Electricity 101 – Part 1 to explore how electricity is produced on the large scale. The presentation includes a special segment on nuclear energy, explaining the fission process, used fuel and radiation.
NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards:
5.1.B; 5.2.A; 5.2.C; 5.2.D
Delaware Content Standards:
Levels 4-5: 2A, 3F, 3G;
Levels 6-8: 3E, 3H, 3B;
Levels 9-12: 2A, 2B, 3G, 3A
What’s the Scoop on Climate Change?
A second 40-minute program explores the complexities of global warming and climate change. The presentation examines how greenhouse gases keep our planet habitable and how human activities – like electricity generation, transportation, deforestation and agriculture – are leading to environmental consequences. The program includes compelling video segments about this global issue, showing how different areas of the world are struggling – and adapting – to the impacts of climate change.
NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards:5.1.D; 5.3.C; 5.3.E; 5.4.F; 5.4.G
Delaware Content Standards:
Levels 4-5: 3A, 8B, 8C;
Levels 6-8: 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 8A, 8B, 8C;
Levels 9-12: 3A, 3B, 8A, 8C, 8D, 8F, 8B, 8E
Known as the “nurseries of life,” coastal and freshwater wetlands provide unique habitats for many different types of living organisms. Marshes are wetlands that are frequently or continually submerged with water. A salt marsh is a wetland that grows in salt water from the ocean and is among the most productive, most important and most inhospitable eco-systems on the planet. During this 45-minute program, students explore a grab bag of household items and discuss how they relate to the habitat, function and species found in a salt marsh. This program is designed for students from fifth grade to eighth grade. Following the activity, students will able to:
- Describe what a wetlands is and give several reasons why they are important
- Name several organisms that can be found in a salt marsh
- Describe multiple abiotic factors that vary on a daily basis within a salt marsh, thereby limiting the biodiversity located within
- Compare and contrast the low and high marsh
- Name several species of plants and animals that reside in a salt marsh
- Describe the ecological threat that invasive species, specifically Phragmites, represent to the salt marsh
NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards:5.3.B; 5.3.C; 5.3.E; 5.4.A; 5.4.B; 5.4.C; 5.4.E; 5.4.F; 5.4.G
Delaware Content Standards:
Levels 4-5: 5C, 8C, 8A, 8B;
Levels 6-8: 5B, 5C, 8A, 8B, 8C
In this 45-minute lesson, students will be given an environmental mystery to solve. Although this location is completely fictional, the basic premise happens in our natural spaces every day. A coastal ocean system is showing signs of pollution and its negative environmental effects. Using water and soil analysis from samples taken from a contributing river, students will determine what the pollution is and its likely source. This program is designed for students from seventh grade to high school.
Following the activity, students will be able to:
- Describe non-point source pollution and name several causes
- Perform simple water and soil analysis for pH, salinity, nitrates and phosphates
- Describe the role wetlands play in combating man-made pollution
- Compare the differences between a healthy waterway and a eutrophic waterway
- Describe nutrients needed by plants in order to grow
NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards:5.1.A, 5.1.B, 5.1.C, 5.1.D, 5.2.A, 5.5.B, 5.3.A, 5.3.B; 5.3.C; 5.4.C; 5.4.G
Delaware Content Standards:
Levels 6-8: 5B, 8B, 8C, 8A;
Levels 9-12: 8A, 8C, 8D, 8B
An age-appropriate worksheet guides students through the exhibits, focusing attention on key concepts. During their 40 minutes in the exhibit area, students will review the basics of electricity generation and try their hand as the power grid operator supplying power to customers. An interactive timeline demonstrates how energy use has increased through the years, and touchscreen monitors display videos from regions around the world finding a balance between energy use and environmental impacts. Students explore how we will balance our future energy needs with the health of the planet through conservation and efficiency measures, renewables and central station power sources like coal, natural gas and nuclear energy. A real-time data monitoring system for the on-site solar panels and wind turbine gathers and displays information about weather conditions and energy output to demonstrate the practical use of these technologies. The nuclear section answers students’ questions about fission, radiation, safety and security, and job opportunities. A carbon footprint calculator prompts students to consider their own environmental impact and challenges them to make reductions.
Careers in Nuclear
With 35 percent of the nuclear workforce eligible to retire in the next decade – and with the prospect of new nuclear construction – the nuclear industry is committed to attracting the next generation of workers. The PSEG chapter of North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NA-YGN) is comprised of young professionals eager to share the opportunities and benefits of working in the nuclear industry. Presentations typically run 15 minutes and expose students to the many disciplines needed to run a nuclear facility. It also provides students an opportunity to ask young professionals about post-high school education and training requirements, work environment and financial benefits.
Boy Scouts Nuclear Science Merit Badge
Currently, the EERC provides activities to meet the qualifications for the Nuclear Science Merit Badge through a nuclear overview program, activities in the exhibits and a driving tour of the Salem and Hope Creek site. Boy Scout Days are scheduled periodically throughout the year on Saturday afternoons from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Interested troops should contact the EERC for upcoming dates.
A “Bright Ideas” Participation Patch is available for Cadettes (grades 6-8). Girls participate in a hands-on “Electricity 101” demonstration, a discussion about global warming and climate change, and follow a scavenger hunt through interactive exhibits, learning about electricity, renewable energy sources, nuclear power, careers in nuclear and discovering how they can reduce their own carbon footprint. Girl Scout Days are scheduled periodically throughout the year on Saturday afternoons from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Interested troops should contact the EERC for upcoming dates.
Energy & Nuclear Overview
Designed for an adult audience, this 45-minute briefing presents the real facts about the current energy mix in the U.S. and internationally. The program looks at energy costs in the U.S. compared with the rest of the world and presents PSEG’s approach to balancing future energy demands while minimizing the environmental impacts of climate change. The presentation includes information on nuclear energy and addresses topics like used fuel management, industry performance, safety and security, and new nuclear development. An overview of PSEG’s Estuary Enhancement Program, which has restored and enhanced more than 20,000 acres of salt marsh and adjacent uplands to vital, healthy habitat for fish and wildlife, is also available for interested groups.
Estuary Enhancement Program
PSEG’s award-winning Estuary Enhancement Program (EEP) has restored more than 20,000 acres of salt marsh and adjacent uplands to vital, healthy habitat for fish and wildlife along the Delaware Estuary, making it the largest privately funded wetlands restoration and improvement project in the country. Learn how the EEP protects vital wetlands and how the program has reversed much of the ecological damage caused by salt hay farming over the last 200 years. Field tours may be available in conjunction with the program overview.
We invite your organization to utilize our meeting spaces. They can accommodate meetings, conferences, trainings, workshops, educational programming, luncheons and formal affairs. Since 2010, our auditorium has hosted:
- Partnership for the Delaware Estuary
- Primary schools, high schools, colleges & universities
- Local and state law enforcement
- Chamber of Commerce
- Salvation Army
- NJ School Boards Association
- Local, state and federal officials
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission
In addition to our auditorium, we offer other spaces to accommodate a range of uses:
This room can accommodate up to 100 people for meetings, trainings and programs. It includes A/V equipment and movable tables and chairs. It's free to use this room.
This room accommodates up to 30 people for workshops, meetings or trainings. It includes a computer, screen and internet access.
This hands-on learning laboratory accommodates 25 people and is stocked with microscopes, electricity kits and specimen tanks. It invites students to explore, experiment and grow their inner scientist. The room is available for scout groups, summer camps, and other educational groups. It includes a projector and screen.
Please note that the EERC:
- Is open by appointment only.
- Has a formal recycling system which we ask all groups to follow.
- Is not available for personal uses such as birthday parties or weddings.
- Does not offer food services/catering; however, you're welcome to cater or bring in your own food for your functions.