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Jewish Community Center Of Staten Island Shines A Light On Energy Efficiency

When Aaron Richman returned to the place he calls his haven he quickly noticed the new, inviting appearance in the social hall, library, hallways and other spaces throughout the building.

Management at the Joan & Alan Bernikow Jewish Community Center of Staten Island took advantage of the Covid-19 shutdown to replace 1,800 fluorescent light fixtures and lighting controls with a light-emitting diode (LED) system. The new system takes advantage of natural light to use less energy on sunny days and reduces electricity usage by 60 percent.

The project shows that a well-executed energy efficiency upgrade benefits multiple parties. The new lighting saves the center nearly 400,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. (See a video about the energy efficiency project.)

Those savings dramatically reduce the center’s energy bill and help keep New York City clean and sustainable. The decrease in electricity usage prevents the emission of 277 tons of carbon dioxide a year. That’s equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from 60 cars.

“It’s important for all of us to save energy if we want this world to continue,” said Richman, who began going the community center in the Mid Island area 12 years ago. “We need everyone to contribute.”

“We pride ourselves on being a leader when it comes to energy efficiency and the environment,” said Orit Lender, the chief executive officer of the center. “Our programs enhance the lives of people of all ages and from all walks of life and we think respecting the environment is in that same spirit.”

Con Edison provided nearly $185,000 of the $474,000 cost of the lighting project at the community center.

“By investing in energy efficiency, the Jewish Community Center lowers its energy bills, freeing up money it can invest in its wonderful programs,” said Shaun Hoyte, section manager of Clean Energy Networks in Con Edison’s Energy Efficiency group. “We encourage all our business, nonprofit and residential customers to take a look at our energy efficiency programs and incentives. Even simple upgrades can make a difference in your energy costs and the region’s environment.”

Helping customers use less energy is a key part of the company’s Clean Energy Commitment. The company plans on tripling its energy efficiency programs and investing $1.5 billion by 2025.

Hundreds of people from kids to seniors rely on the center for exercise classes, yoga sessions, early education, mental health counseling and more than 100 other recreational and educational programs. Many people go to the center just for companionship.

The center completed another energy efficiency project, upgrading internal controls. That project saves 144,451 kilowatt hours a year and was completed with the help of a $27,500 incentive from Con Edison.

The center completed smaller lighting projects at a school on Richmond Avenue and at its South Shore location on Arthur Kill Road.

In all, the center’s energy efficiency upgrades prevent the emission of about 475 tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from more than 100 cars.

In addition, the center has 315 solar panels on its roof. Those panels have the capacity to produce 44 kilowatts of clean, renewable energy.

Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $14 billion in annual revenues and $64 billion in assets. The utility delivers electricity, natural gas and steam to 3.5 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y. For financial, operations and customer service information, visit For energy efficiency information, visit Also, visit us on Twitter and Facebook.