Going green has paid off for the Suffolk Y Jewish Community Center, which received a rebate from National Grid for $98,000 Monday.
Over the past two years, the SYJCC has worked with the utility company and M.C. Alliance Energy Group on a $200,000 project to upgrade their boiler and hot water systems.
The rebate covered almost half of the total cost of the project, with National Grid guaranteeing the upgrades will reduce natural gas costs enough to offset the remaining $102,000 in less than two years.
"These upgrades have reduced our overall energy consumption and increased the comfort of our facility while helping improve the environment," Jack Simeone, director of facilities at the SYJCC, said in a statement.
System upgrades at the facility were much needed, according to Lee Westerlind, lead program manager of National Grid. The building, a former school within the Commack District, was outdated and inefficient.
The facility's 4,000 gallon hot water tank would run in the winter and the summer, expending excess energy and driving up operating costs, Westerlind said. That hot water system has been replaced by a 100 gallon tank controlled by a computer program system.
High efficiency flourescent lighting was installed in the facility's aquatic center, which cut the center's operating costs by about 75 percent, according to Tony Coppola, who worked closely on the project as managing partner at M.C. Alliance Energy Group.
Deborah Cavanagh, a member of the SYJCC for more than a decade and a regular at the aquatic center, said she was very pleased with the lighting upgrade. "Its perfect, I'm very happy," she said, adding that the new lights give the pool a more outdoor feel.
According to SYJCC board member Jack Kulka, the reduction in natural gas emissions produced by the facility in two years is equal to the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by 80 acres of trees.
The money garnered from the rebate will fund scholarships for families in the community.
"This $98,000 will be used to provide scholarships for families in need during these harsh economic times," said Kulka.
With the project completed the SYJCC and National Grid are looking to pursue further system upgrades, including the installation of new controls in the aquatic center, which would reclaim some of the heated air that circulates to keep the pool area warm. SYJCC officials say they hope to launch the project sometime this spring.