Williston Park working on energy-saving plans

Noah Manskar

Williston Park officials are evaluating how to spend a $50,000 state grant to make the village more environmentally sustainable.

The village won the money when the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, named it a Clean Energy community in May, following a recent effort by officials to implement energy-saving initiatives.

Consultants from NYSERDA and the New York Power Authority are advising Williston Park on what to include in its proposal to spend the money, which it must submit by Sept. 12.

The village should create a list of projects now that would use most or all of the money, even if all the details haven’t been hammered out, said Sarah Oral, an engineer with Woodbury-based Cameron Engineering who helps administer NYSERDA’s grants.

“You should have a vision, at least, [of] what the village wants to do as far as a project,” Oral told the village Board of Trustees on Monday.

Jeff Lang of the power authority’s Customer Energy Solutions team recently surveyed lights in all village buildings except for Village Hall to find opportunities for savings, he said.

Trustees asked Lang to also determine which village buildings might be a good fit for solar panels and to review Village Hall for possible upgrades.

That review, which will cost $4,138, could lead to great improvements at the aging building, Oral said.

“Everyone here knows it’s uncomfortable in this building,” she said. “… An audit will actually tell you what’s not right.”

PSEG Long Island could cover up to 70 percent of the cost of the audit, Lang said.

Installing solar panels at one or more buildings could cost $10,000 to $20,000, Lang said. The potential benefits depend on where the panels would be placed and how the electricity they generate would be used, he said.

Lang plans to submit reports and cost estimates for the solar and lighting projects by mid-August to help trustees decide what to include in their grant proposal.

Williston Park is one of 20 Clean Energy Communities on Long Island, 18 of which have received grant money. It got the distinction after installing LED street lights, creating a permit process for installing solar panels, resolving to publish annual reports on its energy use and showing that its building inspector can evaluate energy efficiency in building plans.

As one of five Clean Energy Communities coordinators on Long Island, Oral will work with the village for the next three to five years to implement the projects funded by the grant and help develop other initiatives, she said.

Also on Monday, the village formally approved Verizon Wireless’ plan to install a wireless communication facility and backup power generator on the roof of a commercial building.

The equipment will be shielded by brick-covered penthouses, which will make the building at 270-74 Hillside Ave. 42 feet and 11 inches tall, about eight feet above its current height.

Trustees said in June that they would approve the plan but did not issue a formal decision until Monday.

Verizon representatives had said the antenna is needed to improve cellular coverage and take pressure off other nearby facilities. Residents had expressed concerns about noise, health impacts and the structures’ appearance.

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