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TNH Planting Seeds For Greener Lifestyle

New Community Center showcases sustainable energy resources

“Going green” is a commonly overheard phrase in this economy, but the Town of North Hempstead and its newly opened “Yes We Can” Community Center in New Cassel can claim it has already gone green – and won’t be looking back anytime soon.

On Oct. 4, members of the Long Island Green Homes Consortium were treated to a tour of the platinum LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design standards set through the U.S. Green Building Council) building, which celebrated its grand opening in September and features myriad state-of-the-art features that will likely be utilized in local buildings and homes in the near future.

The “Yes We Can” Community Center features water-efficient practices that reduce the amount of water used within the building by more than 64 percent. Solar panels, efficient lighting, ground-source heating and air conditioning and a solar carport combine to reduce the overall energy cost by at least 30 percent, according to the town.

North Hempstead recently teamed with the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA), Green Jobs Green New York and Home Performance with ENERGY STAR so residents can retrofit homes to reduce energy costs and improve energy efficiency, as seen in the 60,000-square-foot Community Center.

“The goal of the Consortium is to reduce energy costs and usage for Long Island homeowners by helping them get comprehensive home energy audits and make cost effective energy upgrades to their home. As energy prices rise, this investment makes even more sense,” according to Long Island Green Homes’ website, which cited a 2008 Long Island Index study that stated more than 75 percent of Long Islanders have already invested in more insulation for their homes.

Long Island Green Homes Consortium, which consists of the Town of North Hempstead and six other municipalities on Long Island, noted that participating residents in one town saved approximately $1,084 on average in one year. The Consortium added that programs are open to all Long Islanders, regardless of what town, city or village in which they live.

“Improve the value of your home and save money, while you help bolster Long Island’s economy and create green jobs. The more we all save on energy bills, the more money stays on Long Island, boosting our local economy,” according to the Consortium.

For more information, visit www.long­island­greenhomes.org or call the town’s 311 hotline.