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United Way of Long Island Named National Grand Winner by U.S. Department of Energy for Third Consecutive Year for Its Innovation in Building High-Performance, Healthy, Attainable Homes

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For the third year in a row, United Way of Long Island’s Housing Development Corp. has been recognized as one of the nation’s top builders, being named Grand Winner in the Affordable Home category from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its Housing Innovation Awards. The Awards recognize forward-thinking builders across the country who lead the evolution in the housing industry toward zero energy ready homes (ZERH) that are high performance, energy efficient homes with systems that offset all, or most, of its annual energy consumption.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the site of the home in Huntington in recognition of this achievement. United Way’s Housing Development Corp. was commissioned by United Veterans Beacon House to build the home where veterans with special needs will reside. Lead funder Prudential Insurance Company of America joined students from United Way’s VetsBuild program who were in attendance, many of whom played a role in helping to build the home, as well as prepare it for occupancy.

“United Way of Long Island is extremely proud to be recognized by the Department of Energy for the third year in a row for our work in the zero energy ready homes field,” said Theresa A. Regnante, President and CEO of United Way of Long Island. “This home epitomizes our mission. Veterans who now have the skills they need to launch new careers built it, it will house veterans who have nowhere else to call home, and it rigorously adheres to the highest levels of efficiency and with materials that promote the health of its occupants."

"Housing Innovation Award winners represent the top 1% of builders across the country who successfully demonstrate they can meet the federal government's most rigorous specifications for high-performance homes," said Sam Rashkin, chief architect at DOE's Building Technologies Office. "Zero Energy Ready Homes are designed to provide a whole new level of home owner experience, including ultra-low utility bills, ensured comfort, comprehensive water protection, whole-house fresh air delivery, high-capture filtration, contaminant control, and enhanced durability. These winners are leading a national movement to Zero Energy Ready Homes, providing better places for Americans to live, stronger communities, and a more economically and environmentally resilient nation.”

Designed by Fusion Architecture - known for their expertise in building homes that are healthy, energy efficient, and above standard code - the 3,719 sq. ft. five-bedroom home was built according to the rigorous performance requirements of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home Program. The home is packed with high-performance features like LED lighting and Energy Star appliances. The roof was specifically designed to provide an optimal angle for solar panels that provide 100% of the energy needed for electric generation and 95% of hot water needs. The home produces more energy than it uses in a year, saving the occupants an average of $2,050 in energy costs per year.

“While we are the Grand Winners in the Affordable Homes category, we prefer to reframe what we do and acknowledge these homes as ‘attainable’,” added Rick Wertheim, senior vice president of housing and green initiatives at United Way of Long Island. “Not only are we building ZERH homes like this one, but we are helping families across Long Island make small changes in their own homes that can have a big impact on their health. These homes are only the beginning of the healthy homes movement across Long Island.”

United Way’s Healthy Homes Long Island initiative works to build and retrofit homes that promote the well-being of those living inside by using sustainable materials that do not deteriorate or cause chronic health concerns, and educates homeowners on small fixes that could make a large difference on the effect their home is having on their health.

To learn more about United Way of Long Island and the Healthy Homes Long Island Initiative, visit www.unitedwayli.org/healthyhomes. Details of this award winning home, including floor plans, photos and energy ratings can be viewed on the DOE Tour of Zero.