Facility Will Provide Critical Pathway to Clean Energy Opportunities, Local Learning Lab for Long Islanders Seeking Sustainability Training
April 24, 2014
As part of Earth Week celebrations, The United Way of Long Island (UWLI) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced the grand opening of a state-of-the-art building-science lab house, which will provide students with hands-on, energy-related training opportunities and certification programs. Officials met at the site today to announce the grand opening.
Building-science lab houses, also known as pressure houses, are built and outfitted so the entire dwelling becomes a building-science laboratory, demonstrating energy loss issues and other problems faced by those working in the clean-energy fields.
Training at the pressure lab house during the first three years of operation will include trainees in the fields of renewable energy; advanced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); energy retrofit and weatherization; as well as the green building industry that includes a variety of green design practitioners.
United Way of Long Island was awarded $250,000 for development of the lab house through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council Initiative.
“A highly skilled workforce is critical to scaling up the state’s clean-energy economy,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “This training center will provide valuable, hands-on training opportunities to prepare students for rewarding careers in the clean energy sector. The program also aligns with Governor Cuomo’s efforts to ensure we have a workforce that can support the economic growth we are creating in the state.”
“We greatly appreciate the opportunity NYSERDA has presented to further develop our education and financial stability initiatives,” said Theresa Regnante, President and CEO of United Way of Long Island. “The pressure lab house that NYSERDA is funding in our E3 SmartBuild Center will increase the depth of the training we provide our students in energy efficiency and green construction, and will facilitate greater opportunities in the job market for our students. This also provides a greater opportunity for low-to-moderate income individuals to find jobs and learn the benefits of long term financial savings through cost effective attainable housing, which offers numerous sustainable advantages.”
“Investment in this training facility will support the Long Island Region and provide a much-needed conduit to clean-energy career opportunities,” said Long Island REDC Co-Chairs Stuart Rabinowitz, President of Hofstra University and Kevin Law, President of the Long Island Association. “A highly-skilled workforce is essential to improving our environment, creating jobs and promoting economic growth in New York State.”
“The rapid growth of solar and other renewables on Long Island is constantly driving the need for well-trained employees, said EmPower Solar CEO David Schieren. “NYSERDA and United Way of Long Island identified this need early on and worked tirelessly to develop the most advanced, state-of-the-art training center in our region, and we are delighted to contribute to this project, providing a mock solar system for the E2 SmartBuild Center.”
The lab house will be located within UWLI’s E3 SmartBuild Center, a 5,000-square-foot training center located in Deer Park. The E3 SmartBuild Center prepares students for careers in the high-growth, high-demand green construction field and offers a nationally-recognized, transportable and successional certification program that is open to all community members seeking high growth training within the construction and energy retrofit fields. These training programs offer green opportunities to all residents of Long Island targeting the entry level and green collar workforce sector.
The lab house will also be a valuable resource for participants in UWLI’s YouthBuild, a program that serves low-income, out-of-school, unemployed young adults between the ages of 18 and 24, and UWLI’s VetsBuild program, which serves returning veterans from IRAQ and Afghanistan. Industry professionals can also obtain continuing education units (CEUs) through training programs at the pressure lab house.
UWLI is also providing more than $100,000 of in-kind direct labor support to the development and operation of the pressure lab house over the first three years.
Using hands-on training activities and interactive learning strategies, credentialed trainers will instruct students on energy-efficient building technologies using state-of-the-art industry equipment and materials in a controlled lab environment. Features include energy-efficient HVAC systems, lighting and appliances, working replications of walls, floors, attic, roof and crawl space systems. Students will also have the opportunity to troubleshoot indoor air quality and moisture-related issues and get valuable real-world skills working on actual residential job sites.
After receiving practical training at the lab house, many students will have the opportunity to work in teams with local contractors to construct homes that provide energy savings and healthy indoor environments to the residents that need it the most. Local partners include National Grid and PSE&G as well as many companies in the renewable energy, advanced HVAC, energy retrofit, weatherization and green building industries.
This is one of five such facilities being developed across New York State with NYSERDA funding to increase regional access to hands-on field training and testing facilities that prepare energy-efficiency workers for certifications. The other NYSERDA-funded lab houses are located in Queens, Schenectady, Plattsburgh and Stone Ridge and were funded through the Green Jobs-Green NY Program.
“Any Long Islander who paid heating bills this difficult winter will appreciate the advancement in energy efficiency that these students collaborated on in the “lab house”, said Senator Phil Boyle. “The energy technology that will be forthcoming will benefit Long Islanders and the world for generations to come.”
“Congratulations to the United Way of Long Island for this terrific accomplishment,” said Assemblyman Andrew Raia. “Using these resources to construct an interactive, two-story lab house and provide students with hands-on, energy-related training opportunities and certification programs is a great step forward for educating students in real world and vital skills.
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s transformative approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. After three rounds of the REDC process, more than $2 billion has been awarded to job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans, resulting in creation or retention of more than 100,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.