VetsBuild program supports our military heroes in Long Island with career training, jobs and housing opportunities
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the groundbreaking of the country’s first U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home, which will be built by veterans, for veterans, in Huntington Station. As part of the United Way of Long Island VetsBuild® program, projects like this help veterans find employment in the green construction industry. Building a zero energy home—one which has a renewable energy system that offsets all or most of its annual energy consumption—translates into virtually nonexistent energy bills. This announcement is in honor of Earth Week, April 19-25, which Governor Cuomo proclaimed as a weeklong celebration of New York's commitment to protecting our environment.
“Our veterans answered the call and put the needs of others before their own, and ensuring access to job training and housing opportunities is one small way we can begin to thank them for their service and their bravery," Governor Cuomo said. "Programs like VetsBuild get the entire veteran community involved from the construction process to the residency, and by building zero energy we are being conscious of the future."
The green residence, located at 40 Depot Road in Huntington Station, NY, in Suffolk County, will be home to several military veterans with special needs, and going forward VetsBuild expects to create approximately 60 jobs and build five Energy Star Homes per year. The program is funded by a $200,000 grant from the New York Department of State. View rendering here.
As part of $81.9 million in state aid that will support 97 projects in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, United Way of Long Island was awarded $600,000 over three years from New York State Department of State for VetsBuild as part of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Additional partners include The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, Building Performance Institute Inc., State Department of Energy, GEICO, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Knapp Swezey Foundation, L.I. Regional Economic Development Council, National Grid, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority , PSEG, and United Veterans Beacon House.
United Way of Long Island’s President & CEO Theresa Regnante said, “Building this home is crucial to our mission, as it will make a significant impact on the lives of veterans. It is our goal to provide a healthy living environment with very low operational costs. Imagine living in a home that’s healthier, safer and more comfortable with no energy bills that will last for 50 plus years. The Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home is leading the path of green building, and United Way of Long Island, through our VetsBuild Program, is proud to be the first to make this dream come true for so many deserving veterans.”
Sam Rashkin, Chief Architect of the Building Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for the Department of Energy said, “The United Way of Long Island project is the first of its kind to be certified under the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program. Only a select group of the top builders in the country meet the extraordinary levels of excellence and quality specified by U.S. Department of Energy guidelines, but the fact that this will be a home built by a group of veterans for a group of veterans, sets this building project apart.”
Frank Amalfitano, United Veterans Beacon House President & CEO said, “With an estimated 12,200 veterans unemployed on Long Island, the VetsBuild program has opened the career door for many of these military heroes by providing cutting edge training. A direct result of these training programs are DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes, such as the one that will be built in Huntington Station by participants of the VetsBuild Training Program.”
Congressman Steve Israel said, “I am so proud of today’s VetsBuild accomplishment. It has been a labor of love since we launched this effort in 2011 with the United Way and United Veterans Beacon House. After our veterans bravely serve our country, VetsBuild ensures they come home to good paying jobs in the high-growth green construction industry. VetsBuild shows that by working together on all levels of government and with the public and private sector, we can help our community and New York veterans. Today’s announcement in Huntington Station is an important step forward and I look forward to building on this success.”
New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales said, “We are committed to ensuring that New York continues to be a State of Opportunity for all. Our investment will enable veterans to stay on Long Island and enjoy careers in the green construction sector.”
John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said, “This DOE Zero Energy Ready Home will serve as a valuable model of sustainability and those who have collaborated to make this a reality should be commended. Education and career training for veterans and others is critical to building a clean energy workforce that will drive the State toward a cleaner and more affordable energy future.”
Senator Carl L. Marcellino said, "There is nothing more important than serving our veterans. They put their lives on the line to protect our freedom and for that we are forever in their debt. This program is a great way to provide needed job training and opportunities here on Long Island. Add in the environmental benefits of a green project and it is an unquestionable win for everyone. I am thrilled that the first home will be built in Huntington Station and look forward to its completion.”
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by providing veterans the opportunity to be trained to build environmentally friendly housing and then providing those housing options to our veterans. With Suffolk County being home to the largest veteran population in the state, it makes perfect sense for the first U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home to be built in our County. I thank Governor Cuomo, our state representatives, the United Way of Long Island and the United Veterans Beacon House for collaborating on this worthy initiative to support our veterans.”
Town of Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said, “Huntington is proud to be the location of the first Department of Energy Zero Energy Home and to support this effort to provide much needed housing for veterans with special needs. Huntington is also pleased to be working with United Way to place our residents in their VetsBuild program to give veterans the green construction skills that will keep them employed in building the homes of tomorrow."
United Way of Long Island Green Building Programs were developed to provide the workforce of tomorrow with the skills to build future Long Island communities that leave a lighter footprint on the environment. To learn more about the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home, the E3 SmartBuild Center or UWLI’s VetsBuild Training Program, visit www.UnitedWayLI.org.
VetsBuild is a partnership program with United Way of Long Island and United Veterans Beacon House to help veterans find employment in the green construction industry. The grant from New York State Department of State will expand career training services for veterans. At no cost, veterans will be trained for green collar employment opportunities in energy efficiency, renewables, weatherization, Energy-Star construction, home performance, HVAC and home restoration. Training will be conducted at United Way’s E3 SmartBuild Training Center.
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