Long Island to become Green Island?

Aug. 18, 2009
An influential selection of Long Island lawmakers, industrial leaders and labor leaders met July 24 to address the Island's role in green sustainability.

A group of Long Island lawmakers, industrial leaders and labor leaders met in July to address the Island's role in green construction and sustainability.

The meeting, held at HVAC distributor Wales-Darby Inc.'s Energy Learning Center, was the first of the Green Island Coalition, an umbrella of union representatives, corporate powers and Island-wide policymakers dedicated to public health and cost-effective sustainability.

The Coalition believes "greening" is an ecological imperative, that there are billions of dollars in grants and tax incentives available for environmentally friendly construction projects, the region's residential and commercial property owners should pursue, and when they do, the jobs they create must go to Long Islanders.

Endorsing the Green Island Coalition is Jo Keirns, executive director of the Washington, DC-based Green Mechanical Council. Bringing the Green-Island-Coalition to fruition was Manorville based Green Synergy Systems' Matt Ferber, Angelo D"alessandro, and Joe Morganti.

"There's a small window of opportunity here," Ferber says. "There will never be a time like this again. This is the time to show the homeowner and the property manager and the builder that going green is the most affordable way to reduce your energy bills by up to 70%."

Keirns says there are similarities between the Coalition's mission and the work of the Green Mechanical Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the education and promotion of environmentally sound residential and commercial mechanical systems. Last week, the Council announced Wales-Darby, the HVAC and plumbing company known for its Energy Learning Center and other environmental efforts, as its latest member organization.

"With all facets of the industry working together, government officials, union members, educators, nonprofits and manufacturers, etc. we can educate and train a larger green workforce, along with generating green job opportunities and ensuring sustainable, energy efficient buildings," Keirns says. "Working as a team we can also keep costs for the construction, along with operating and maintaining the facility to a minimum."

Among the topics discussed at the July 24 meeting was McArthur Airport's Waste-to-Energy Facility, which generates electricity while annually eliminating hundreds of thousands of tons of trash. Islip officials are eyeing some aide in federal grants for a major expansion effort, one of about 15 regional projects on the Green Island Coalition's list of projects.