United Way Creates Net Zero Energy

United Way of Long Island launched its Net Zero Energy Challenge, the pathway to transforming the organization’s headquarters into a building that produces as much energy as it uses. Through the installation and utilization of renewable energy, United Way will possess one of the largest solar arrays of any not-for-profit commercial building, excluding universities and hospitals, in New York State.

Budgeted at $1.8 million, the Net Zero Energy Challenge encourages stakeholders to invest in a sustainable Long Island with economic opportunity. The project is underway thanks to a grant pledged from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and initial funding from Brookhaven Science Associates/Brookhaven National Laboratory, as well as in-kind engineering design services from Cameron Engineering and the donation of HVAC equipment from GREE America and Wallace Eannace of Long Island.

The building retrofit encompasses three areas of impact: families, workforce development, and disaster preparedness. The cost savings by using renewable energy will be reinvested into United Way’s core programs and services to benefit Long Island families. The project site will provide career training opportunities to young adults, veterans, and those looking to replicate the Net Zero Energy project design. Once completed, the headquarters will be able to operate during disasters and extreme weather conditions.

Theresa A. Regnante, president & CEO of United Way of Long Island said, “We are grateful to our supporters who are building the foundation of our Net Zero Energy Challenge. This contributes to increasing our organizational capacity to assist individuals and families in accessing quality education, achieving financial stability, and leading healthy lives.” She added, “This is a call to action to help us meet our goal of raising nearly $2 million. Together, we are investing in our future and investing in the people of Long Island.”

The building project will contribute to regional economic development through career training led by industry professionals. Youth and veterans seeking employment in the high-growth energy industry will learn on-site while the retrofit is taking place, enhancing their technical skill sets by gaining hands-on opportunities. It will also be a demonstrations site for professionals, companies, and organizations seeking information and the tools needed to start their own Net Zero Energy projects. 

To invest in the Net Zero Energy Challenge, visit the United Way’s Long Island web site.