United Way of Long Island and partner Suffolk County Landbank held a ribbon cutting ceremony on July 12 to celebrate the construction and soon-to-be sale of 23 Furman Avenue in East Patchogue. This formerly abandoned structure is now a state-of-the-art, healthy Smart Home and was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Energy as a 2019 Housing Innovation Award Winner.
Demonstrated by this fifth national award recognition, United Way’s work is pivotal in changing the landscape of home design and construction. For 20 years, the organization has built nearly 100 homes in Nassau and Suffolk Counties and, within the past five years, has tailored its focus to build high-performing, energy-efficient homes – addressing the need for healthy and attainable housing on Long Island.
“Suffolk County is proud to partner with United Way of Long Island to rehabilitate zombie homes and fight blight across our communities,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “With this latest project, we have put this property back to productive use, which will not only add value to the entire neighborhood, but will provide a first-time homebuyer with the opportunity to purchase a new energy efficient home.”
Currently the organization has 12 projects underway, each certified as a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Home. These residential projects are a demonstration to the public and construction community that high quality homes can built with the moderate income-earner in mind, especially young professionals, who are seeking to remain on Long Island and stay within their budget. The advanced technology leverages superior energy efficiency and performance, generating little to no energy bills. Occupants living in a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home could save up to $9,000 annually in electric and heating utility costs, as compared to a home that uses traditional energy sources.
This home is a prime example of collaboration and addressing middle class needs. Long Island can be a challenging place to make ends meet financially, particularly for working families who do not have access to government programs due to their income being above the poverty threshold. This East Patchogue residence demonstrates that homes can be built with sustainable materials, capitalize on solar energy and smart technologies, and remain affordable to maintain all while attractive to the eye.
“With over 300,000 struggling working families on Long Island, it is our responsibility to provide solutions for our region, and to step up and work together to create opportunities for increased financial stability. This residence will afford first-time homebuyer, Brian who is a U.S. Army Veteran, the opportunity to live comfortably within his budget in a high-tech and healthy home for years to come. Building Zero Energy Ready Homes will assist in keeping the middle class and young professionals like Brian on Long Island, as the money saved on yearly utilities helps families afford life’s expenses such as medical bills and food,” explains Theresa A. Regnante, President & CEO of United Way of Long Island.
Rick Wertheim, Senior Vice President of Housing and Green Initiatives at United Way of Long Island elaborates, “For most families on Long Island a home is their biggest investment. This smart home provides superior indoor air quality and comfort, and has advanced technologies that allow it to perform better than net-zero. This means that it will have the ability to make the occupant money every month – we are building homes of the future, today.”
This 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house - including an electrical vehicle charging station in the driveway - is Energy Star, Indoor airPLUS and WaterSense certified by the EPA. The technology provides a continuous flow of purified air, includes superior insulation and windows, uses non-toxic materials and utilizes the principles of Universal Design, which allows residents to age in place safely. The electricity, heating and cooling systems are run entirely from solar energy and are controlled with SmartTechnology resulting in the lowest possible operating costs. The solar system was generously donated and installed by SUNation Cares, the philanthropic division of Ronkonkoma based solar energy company, SUNation Solar Systems. Scott Maskin, CEO and Co-Founder of SUNation noted, “SUNation is proud to collaborate with United Way and the Suffolk County Landbank. This project is a prime example of what can be accomplished when non-profits and for profits roll up their sleeves together to make a difference.”
Samuel Rashkin, Chief Architect for U.S. DOE Building Technologies Office, said “Zero Energy Ready Homes like those constructed by United Way are the home of the future because they live, work, and last better with incredibly low or no energy costs. And what’s exciting for American homebuyers, they are available today thanks to leading builders across the country.”
To learn more about United Way of Long Island’s award-winning healthy homes visit UnitedWayLI.org/HealthyHomes.
Photo Caption: Exterior view of 23 Furman Avenue, a high-performing energy efficient home, in East Patchogue, NY. The new construction was built by United Way of Long Island in partnership with the Suffolk County Landbank and is currently for sale to first-time homebuyers.
About United Way of Long Island
United Way of Long Island advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, financial stability and health. We recruit people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become part of the change. United Way of Long Island is part of a worldwide network spanning across 41 countries and territories, including more than 1,200 local organizations in the U.S. For more information about United Way of Long Island, please visit UnitedWayLI.org, or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Suffolk County Landbank
Founded in 2013, the mission of the Suffolk County Landbank is to facilitate the return of distressed and underutilized properties to productive uses. The Landbank has acquired and rehabbed more than 24 zombie properties for first-time homebuyers. In addition, the Landbank has recouped more than $6 million in back taxes from delinquent property owners and facilitated the redevelopment of 8 brownfield properties. For more information visit: www.suffolkcountylandbank.org.