United Way of Long Island’s Entenmann Family Center for Hope serves as the headquarters and flagship location where industry, labor, and government partners come together to bridge divides, embrace diverse voices, and find innovative solutions to regional challenges.

Using renewable energy is a major part of the technology for achieving net zero. “We are excited that United Way completed our solar installation on Earth Day.  These 577 solar panels, along with state-of-the art technology enables the sun to heat, cool and ventilate our all-electric building, ultimately providing power to run the operations," said Rick Wertheim, SVP Development, Sustainability & Training, United Way of Long Island. He added, “This is a demonstration project for the region and all of NY State for sustainability and insuring the future of our children and grandchildren.”

buttonThe NET ZERO transformation of the organization’s 31,000 sq. ft. headquarters has four goals:
•    Saving more than $65,000 per year in energy cost
•    Re-investing the savings to support United Way’s mission work to create opportunities for Long Islanders to live healthier, safer, and financially stable lives
•    Creating a Workforce Development Training Academy for next generation careers
•    In times of natural disasters, the NET ZERO building will stand ready as a command center to serve the public.

A landmark in energy efficiency, the NET ZERO project sets an example for organizations across the country. “For the next generation to have the opportunity to thrive on a healthy planet, organizations and institutions must take bold steps, of which United Way of Long Island is one,” said Robert B. Catell, Chairman, Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC) at Stonybrook University.

The $2.5 million project is also a training facility for Workforce Development programs offered for free to young adults, veterans, and others interested in renewables and green construction. Students will learn solar panel installation and wind turbine drone inspection methods, among many required technical, functional, and soft skills that lead to employment.

Femi, a graduate of United Way’s YouthBuild program, installed the electrical components of the new solar system. He never dreamed of a meaningful career in a Labor Union, but quality in-classroom and hands-on training through United Way led to a Journeyman position with one of New York State’s leading commercial solar carport installers.

“My time with YouthBuild was transformative,” said Femi. “Three principles from YouthBuild changed my life; know what you want, articulate what you want, and go after what you want with a burning desire. Now I’ve come full circle as part of United Way’s NET ZERO team and mentoring others who want to follow in my footsteps.”

“This Earth Day, we are reaffirming our commitment to a net zero future through the NET ZERO Energy Building project that creates a training ground for next generation careers and also protects our environment,” said Theresa A. Regnante, President and CEO, United Way of Long Island. “We are grateful for cross-sector collaborations and support on this project, and our dedicated community partners who help us build a stronger, more resilient Long Island community.”

The NET ZERO project is funded with a lead grant from the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) and a naming gift from the Family of William Entenmann, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), the Robert B. Catell Family, Brookhaven Science Associates, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, the Town of Babylon, Suffolk Transportation Service, Inc., Suffolk County, National Grid, PSEG Long Island, Wallace Eannace, Long Island Federation of Labor, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, and Flushing Bank. The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and Bank of America have contributed through their support of United Way’s Workforce Development Training Academy. In-kind support has also been received from the Haugland Group, Cameron Engineering, and EMCOR Services NY/NJ.

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To learn more, visit: www.unitedwayli.org/energychallenge