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HIA Pushes Energy Efficiency Measures in Local Businesses

Suffolk Y JCC in Commack predicts it will save $70,000 this year as one of the first to undertake the energy efficiency initiative.

In the first known initiative of its kind, the Hauppauge Industrial Association of Long Island is encouraging businesses to become more energy efficient to save money for both their companies and Long Island residents. 

The HIA, in cooperation with Long Island Power Authority and National Gride, announced an energy conservation initiative, a seven-step process designed and helping local businesses cut energy costs by at least 15 percent. 

The Hauppauge Industrial Park, home to more than 1,300 companies within its 1,400 acres, is estimated to have paid more than $30 million to LIPA for electricity in 2009, and approximately $12.5 million to National Grid for natural gas, according to the HIA. Those numbers are far higher today. 

"I’ve talked to a lot of building owners and operators of buildings. Many think they have an energy efficient building and they don’t," said Jack Kulka, HIA founder and CEO of Kulka Construction. "We are educating them and giving them a free analysis."

The Hauppauge Industrial Park Energy Conservation Project will join the HIA, LIPA and National Grid in a collaboration with Energy Start, a federal program under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Judith A. Enck, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator, said use of building program management software and energy efficient devices could help local businesses reduce the cost of lighting, heating, air conditioning and pollutant output. 

HIA business owners will be offered the opportunity to have a trained professional conduct a free energy audit of their company, to provide a benchmark of their energy usage. This will be analyzed in comparison to companies similar in size and industry, before recommendations are made to improve energy efficiency. 

"There are numerous rebates available from National Grid and LIPA that will help defray a substantial portion of these costs," Kulka said. "We believe this is a double-advantage, to make the park more green, and to provide more green in the pockets of the operation people who own and operate facilities in the industrial park." 

One local nonprofit already reaping the benefits of a free energy audit is the in Commack. Joel Block, executive director of Suffolk YJCC, said the community center began with a free energy audit and update process roughly two years ago, and is expected to save approximately $70,000 this year due to updated fixtures and increased efficiencies. 

"I see the young family that comes to me with three kids, whose wife is suffering aggressive breast cancer saying, 'I spent my last dime and my kids need to be in camp.'... More energy I get to save, the more kids I can help," Block said. 

That extra $70,000 goes a long way for Suffolk Y JCC, who Block said has seen their Suffolk County funding cut by nearly $400,000 over the past two years - or 75 percent of its total county funding. 

"Every single one of us is going through the same thing. If it's not someone with three kids whose wife is battling cancer, I guarantee every single one of us  has some employee, that we would otherwise have to layoff, whose family will be devastated, and won’t be able to afford the things we need to do without that savings," Block said. 

Legis. John Kennedy, R-Nesconset, said Long Island Cares in Hauppauge also conducted its own energy audit within recent years, realizing a savings of $15,000 annually that now goes towards helping feed the hungry on Long Island. 

John Franceschina, director of commercial and industrial programs for LIPA, said its initiatives like these that will help LIPA reach its goal of reducing power usage by 520 megawatts over the next 10 years, to avoid building another power plant on Long Island. 

"It’s a win-win-win, a win for environment, win for the industrial park and win for Long Island residents, "Franceschima said. "By lowering the rate of peak demand and creating less demand for energy, you reduce the cost to us to serve our customers." 

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