Business

Teq CEO Damian Scarfo, and President Chris Hickey. Photo from Lisa Hendrickson

Teq, a Huntington Station-based educational technology and professional development firm, has been named the official provider of SMART Technologies products for all K-12 districts in New York.

The company will also offer professional development for SMART products and technical support from SMART certified professionals. The official partnership will begin on Oct. 1.

SMART Technologies, a Canadian company, is best known for inventing the first interactive whiteboard in 1991. The company now offers interactive tables and pen displays, conferencing software, interactive learning software and more.    

“We are thrilled to be selected as SMART’s sole vendor for K-12 in New York,” Damian Scarfo, CEO of Teq said in a statement. “SMART offers the best interactive displays available, and we couldn’t be happier to align ourselves with the innovation SMART is bringing to classrooms around the world.”

The partnership is projected to increase Teq’s revenues by nearly 20 percent, and the company is projecting $50 million in sales for the year, according to Chris Hickey, president of Teq. The company used to be one of six companies reselling SMART products in the state.

SMART’s president touted the partnership and the Huntington Station company’s solid reputation for professional development.

“We are delighted to name Teq as our sole education partner in New York,” Greg Estell, president of SMART Education Solutions said in a statement. “Teq has an incredible reputation for professional development, enabling educators to deliver best-in-class learning. This, coupled with SMART’s world-leading education technology, makes for a powerful combination.”

As part of a strategy to get more SMART products into state schools, the company has submitted a bid to the New York State Office of General Services to try to negotiate a contract to be a listed vendor of classroom technology to New York. SMART is looking to set a maximum price point at which products can be sold to municipalities through this contract.

Like SMART, Teq will also be looking to further its relationship with schools, hoping to partner with the Board of Cooperative Educational Services to get more technology into the districts. The company is hoping to benefit from $2 billion in funding offered to school districts through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) SMART Schools Bond Act by offering districts that seek funding delayed payment options.

The act is intended to bring about 21st century upgrades to educational technology and infrastructure in schools to ensure that students graduate with the skills they need to thrive in today’s economy. Voters approved the act in a November 2014 referendum.

Teq will be offering a complete range of SMART products and software, including SMART kapp iQ and Teq Unlimited.

SMART kapp iQ is an ultra HD interactive display that can multi-link student devices so that all participants can collaborate, contribute and see what is being written in real time. Teq Unlimited is a software package that teaches how to successfully integrate new technology into the classroom.

“Kapp iQ is not only specifically designed for the needs of teachers and students … it’s designed for how kids learn — using devices and naturally interacting with technology,” Hickey said.

Teq is offering a free trial period for districts in New York. The trial, which lasts 30 days, includes delivery, setup and two hours of professional development of whichever products the districts chose to try, according to a Teq statement.

Teq has been in the business since 1972, and was originally located in Oyster Bay out of a barn. According to the company, its mission is to support the continued evolution of the modern classroom by offering world-renowned professional development and providing service and equipment that enables student achievement.

A gas station and convenience store is proposed for the corner of Route 25A and Woodbine Avenue in Northport Village. Photo by Rohma Abbas

The entrance to Northport Village off of Route 25A could be in store for a face-lift.

Long considered an eyesore by some, the corner of Woodbine Avenue and Route 25A is the subject of a zoning board application for a gas station and convenience store.

Applicant Edward Clark, of Babylon, and his architect Harold Gebhard, of Lindenhurst, are seeking area and use variances to move forward with the plan, but the zoning board wants more information — particularly on traffic impacts — following a public hearing on the proposal last week.

Currently, a vacant white building that was once a gas station and auto repair shop sits on the property. The applicant is seeking to rehabilitate the current building, add a canopy, gas pumps, a convenience store and eight parking spaces. If approved, a maximum of six cars could gas up at a time. Clark said he’s been in discussions with BP to be the new gas station. 

The convenience store would sell soda, coffee, packaged foods, bread, milk and more, but there would be no food preparation on site, Clark said. He said he needs the convenience store to offset the cost of gas.

Zoning board members expressed some concern about the appearance of the project, especially the size of the convenience store and the height of a proposed canopy atop the gas pumps. Clark and Gebhard said from its peak to the ground the canopy would be about 18 feet high.

Zoning board member Arlene Handel said she was concerned about the height of the canopy obscuring a “historic entry point” to the village.

“It’s very much an important part of the character of the village,” she said. She added that a tall canopy “is really going to cut upon the view.”

ZBA Chairman Andrew Cangemi had a flurry of questions about the project that were mostly traffic-related. He wanted to know the number of cars the project is anticipated to generate during hours of operation and its peak hour volumes, and how the lighting would look.

Some residents in the audience expressed dissatisfaction with the proposal and questioned whether the community needed another gas station. But Cangemi pointed out that the site needs work and a gas station had already existed there.

“We understand something’s got to go in there,” Cangemi said.

Clark said he’s been trying to move forward with developing the site for several years and called the long process a “nightmare.”

“I’ve been paying rent, real estate taxes on this property for three years to get to this point now,” he said.

The public hearing will be held open until Sept. 16. Cangemi asked the applicant to come back with a traffic study.

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The property is located on Route 111 in Smithtown. Photo from Damianos Realty Group

Damianos Realty Group LLC announced that it has acquired a Smithtown office building.

Family-owned Damianos Realty, one of the largest property owners on Long Island, paid $10.625 million for 50 Route 111, Smithtown, a 50,000-square-foot, three-story office building. The seller was Fairfield Properties, of Melville, New York. The transaction closed on July 21.

John LaRuffa of NAI Long Island represented the seller and John Finn of Damianos Realty Group LLC represented the buyer.

The Class-A building, constructed in 1984 and located on the west side of State Route 111 in the Village of the Branch, will be Damianos Realty’s sixth office building in the Village of the Branch. The building currently is 96 percent occupied by various corporate and medical tenants including Merrill Lynch, New York Commercial Bank, the law firm Devitt Spellman Barrett LLP and State Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James).

Damianos Realty has engaged Mancini Architecture PLLC to redesign the building’s exterior and lobby. The firm also plans to put a new roof on the building, replace mechanical equipment, bathrooms, hallways, elevators, life safety as well as upgrade landscaping and parking on the 4.4-acre site.

“This building, located within the geographic scope of our business, largely western and central Suffolk County, is an excellent fit for our portfolio,” said Damianos Realty principal X. Cristofer Damianos

Restaurant is first in village to attempt rooftop dining

Skipper's wants to create outdoor rooftop dining. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Skipper’s Pub of Northport Village has set its sights on the sky with plans to create rooftop dining at its Main Street eatery — but the proposal saw a bit of grounding by village zoning officials and residents on Wednesday.

Representatives of the restaurant came before the Northport Village Zoning Board of Appeals at a public hearing with hopes of gaining area and parking variances to create a 109-seat seasonal rooftop dining area atop Skipper’s. The plan raised eyebrows and exclamations from ZBA chairman Andrew Cangemi, who questioned whether the ZBA even had jurisdiction over the proposal and brought to light parking issues with the plan.

This is the first time a restaurant has attempted to gain approvals for rooftop dining in Northport Village.

“What we’re doing is a little different than a couple of tables and chairs, Mr. Chairman,” Chris Modelewski, the attorney for the applicant said.

Skipper’s needs a variance from the code for about 37 parking spots, as they want to build a 2,750 square foot rooftop deck. The deck would add 33 additional seats to its eatery and plans to remove a number of sidewalk dining seats and tables.

A view of what a proposed outdoor rooftop dining space would look like at Skipper's Pub in Northport. Photo by Rohma Abbas
A view of what a proposed outdoor rooftop dining space would look like at Skipper’s Pub in Northport. Photo by Rohma Abbas

The plan also includes adding a bar and bar stools, a stairway and fencing to the roof.

Officials and residents at the hearing questioned where those spots would come from, in a village that is already strapped for parking spots during the busy summer months.

Another issue Cangemi raised was whether the ZBA should even be reviewing the application. Modelewksi said the rooftop dining complies with the village’s outdoor dining code, which allows restaurants to create sidewalk dining for a $50 annual permit fee. Those applications don’t require ZBA variances, Cangemi said, according to the code.

“Why are you here?” he asked.

Modelewski said he needed variances for parking and other issues, and that he wanted to secure them in case the law changed in the future. Cangemi replied that the applicant basically wanted the ZBA to assume a legislative role and “play village board.”

“Chris, I hear what you’re saying, but it seems like you’re asking this board for cover.”

The representatives delved into the details of the application. When pressed on parking figures — Cangemi asked where the applicant would create 37 additional spots — Modelewski said he reasoned many of the individuals who come out to eat at night are out-of-town visitors who arrive by boats and moor up to the neighboring marinas and village dock, therefore not requiring parking. Representatives also mentioned there are available spots open to the public at Woodbine Marina.

About 10 residents weighed in on the proposal at Wednesday night’s hearing. Those who critiqued the plan did so on the parking issues. One person who spoke in favor of the plan noted that the village is home to a number of large-scale events like the farmers’ market and the Great Cow Harbor 10K Race, and people manage to find parking at those events.

Former Northport Village Trustee Tom Kehoe also made an appearance and spoke on the application. The original author of the outdoor dining legislation, Kehoe said it was initially drafted years ago when vacancies and inactivity were a common sight in Northport. Officials then were looking for ways to stimulate activity in the downtown.

He said everyone has had a hand in “the Renaissance of Northport,” turning it into a destination.

“Sometimes you just have to be careful what you wish for.”

Cangemi said the public hearing would be held open until Sept. 16 for any additional comments to be entered into the record.

7-Eleven is seeking to set up shop in Centerport. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

The Huntington Town Zoning Board of Appeals is pushing pause on considering a plan to build a 7-Eleven in Centerport and wants more information on the proposal’s potential traffic and environmental impacts.

The application, which was scheduled for a public hearing before the ZBA today, Thursday, July 30, has been taken off the agenda, according to Robert Riekert, deputy director of planning and environment for the town. The decision came after the town received an engineer’s analysis of the 7-Eleven proposal earlier this week, requesting the applicant, 7-Eleven Inc., respond to a list of issues.

“The meeting was adjourned until a further date due to insufficiencies in their application,” Riekert said in an email.

Plans for a 7-Eleven have been in the works for a few years now. The company had tried to establish a new 7-Eleven store two years ago — the ZBA even granted approval for the business in 2013 — however, the effort was shut down by a lawsuit filed by Huntington attorney Darrin Berger, who worked with residents and the Centerport Harbor Civic Association. According to Berger, both 7-Eleven and the town didn’t properly evaluate the project’s impacts under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, also known as SEQRA.

The New York State Supreme Court agreed that the environmental review was not conducted properly, so progress for the 7-Eleven halted.

7-Eleven is seeking to set up shop in Centerport. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
7-Eleven is seeking to set up shop in Centerport. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

If approved, the convenience store would be a one-story, freestanding market on a 21,553 square foot parcel. An existing automotive repair shop currently on that land would be demolished to make way for the business. The proposed public hearing was meant for the ZBA to review a request for a special use permit and area variance in order to demolish the auto repair shop.

Dunn Engineering Associates P.C., a town-appointed engineering firm that reviewed the applicant’s traffic analysis, requested that 7-Eleven re-evaluate several points in its application to build a store on the northeast corner of Route 25A and Little Neck Road. Their concerns predominately had to do with traffic safety issues. Dunn Engineering Associates sent their opinions on the proposal to Christopher Modelewski, chairman of the ZBA, this week.

According to a letter from Walter Dunn Jr., president of Dunn Engineering Associates, to Modelewski, the applicant should request accident data in the vicinity of the proposed 7-Eleven site along Route 25A, Little Neck Road and Centerport Road.

“This data should be analyzed to minimize the possibility of traffic safety concerns created due to the addition of the proposed 7-Eleven convenience store,” Dunn said.

Traffic safety issues also included sight distance. Dunn said the engineers performed a sight distance investigation and concluded that 7-Eleven’s traffic engineer should review and verify the adequacy of the two proposed access points and the engineer’s findings.

In a previous letter, the firm noted that Route 25A and Little Neck Road both have considerable horizontal and vertical curvature in vicinity of the proposed site. In order to make sure that the curvature wouldn’t have a detrimental impact on the operations of the proposed access points, sight distance was evaluated at both locations.

While the engineers’ study discovered that sight visibility was limited at a certain section, it was determined that, due to traffic signals, a car would not be going at a fast enough speed for this to be considered dangerous. “Therefore sight distance at this driveway location is considered accurate,” Dunn wrote

7-Eleven has proposed establishing new turning lanes at the intersection if they are approved, however, the letter urged that 7-Eleven redo their capacity analyses for the separate right and left turning lanes and through lanes. Dunn Engineering Associates said that 7-Eleven should reverse their proposal of a separate right turn lane, and a shared left turn/through lane for more successful traffic flow.

The applicant also submitted a proposal to widen the west side of Little Neck Road to provide a southbound approach to Route 25A. This would provide a separate left turn lane and a combined through/right turn lane. Dunn suggested that this proposal be added into the traffic impact study so the town could further examine this possibility.

A final suggestion engineers introduced involves the issue of delivery trucks coming in and out of the area to supply 7-Eleven.

Kenneth Barnes, regional development director for 7-Eleven, made a statement in an affidavit in May, according to Dunn Engineering Associates, that there would be a commitment to restrict the size and movements of delivery trucks.

It was suggested that this commitment be added into the traffic impact study along with a statement, so that the town’s previous concerns that larger sized trucks couldn’t safely maneuver through the site or entrance of the proposed 7-Eleven are mitigated.

Meanwhile, Centerport residents are continuing their fight against the possibility of a new 7-Eleven.

Gloria Wertheimer, president of the Centerport Harbor Civic Association, said last week her group feels the project would bring additional traffic to an already congested area and a busy intersection. They also feel that it does not fit in with Centerport at all, a small business, local community driven area.

“It doesn’t belong here, we feel it’s going to draw the wrong type of crowd,” Wertheimer said.

7-Eleven did not return multiple calls seeking comment this week.

Brinkmann True Value Hardware in Miller Place celebrates its grand opening on Friday, July 24. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

The first net-zero energy use store in New York opened in Miller Place on Friday.

Brinkmann True Value Hardware is the first building in the state to earn the net-zero status, according to PSEG Long Island. This means the total amount of annual energy used is approximately equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the property.

Local elected officials, members of PSEG Long Island and Green Logic Energy, a renewable energy design and installation company, attended the grand opening.

“We were always interested in solar power, but when we met Al, it grew into something bigger. Net-zero energy got in our head, as soon as we heard of the idea we fell in love with it,” co-owner Ben Brinkmann said.

Al, or Albert Harsch, renewable energy consultant for Green Logic Energy, was very excited to see the idea come to fruition.

“It stands as an example of what businesses can do on Long Island and I want to congratulate the Brinkmann family for being pioneers in this.”

Green Logic Energy was contracted by the Brinkmann family to design and enhance the different technologies needed to effectively and efficiently create a net-zero result.

During the planning and construction phase, the family also worked with PSEG through the utility’s Commercial Efficiency Program, which offers resources as well as rebates to customers who install energy efficient equipment.

The Brinkmann family was surprised to find out that they were the first net-zero building not only in their industry, but also the first retail facility in the state.

Energy efficiency measures for the store include solar panels, geothermal heating and air conditioning, LED lighting and equipment, and a thermoplastic cool roof. The cool roof is able to reflect sunlight and heat away from a building, which reduces the roof temperature.

By employing energy efficient measures, store will save 64,000-kilowatt hours of energy per year, for savings of roughly $11,000 annually.

According to PSEG, the initiative is equivalent to removing 27 cars from the road or 14,804 gallons of gas not consumed, annually.

“These small businesses continue to invest in the community, and we’re seeing a resurgence of these kind of establishments, our residents want a personal touch when they shop,” Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) said.

Losquadro said he hopes the store will serve as an inspiration and model for the town.

The Brinkmann family is in no way done with their efforts.

“We have more expansion planned, it’s our goal by 2025 to be net-zero company-wide,” Brinkmann said.

A farmers market is sprouting up on the Three Village Historical Society grounds, offering fresh options for North Shore natives. File photo

It’s fresh in every sense of the word.

Healthy, fresh foods sold by local vendors are available on the grounds adjacent to the Three Village Historical Society in East Setauket every Friday afternoon from 4-7 p.m. The East Setauket Farmers Market started nearly five weeks ago by Melissa Dunstatter, founder of Sweet Melissa Dips & Gourmet Catering of Rocky Point. Dunstatter also runs farmers markets in Port Jefferson and Sayville, and said she’s been a vendor for eight years and running farmers markets for about five.

The East Setauket Farmers Market started when a group of students from the Three Village school district chapter of the National Junior Honor Society wanted to do a fundraiser for a noble cause. What was supposed to be a one-day event back on May 16 to benefit a foundation called Hope for Javier, a nonprofit organization created to fund research for the disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy, has turned into a weekly occurrence.

“The location is really, really nice,” Dunstatter said in a phone interview this week. The success of the May 16 event, coupled with a void left by the departure of Ann Marie’s Farm Stand to Port Jefferson Station, made the site attractive for Dunstatter to set up shop from June all the way through October.

Some of the products from local vendors available at the farmers market include dips from Dunstatter’s company, fresh produce, olive oil, eggs, pickles, jams, beef jerky, fresh bread and much more. The Dip Lady, as Dunstatter is known, also has a kids day planned for sometime in August that will feature face painting, among other family friendly activities.

Dunstatter also mentioned plans for the site by the historical society headquarters that include some of the North Fork wineries, a pig roast, and a tomato and garlic festival, all at dates still to be determined later in the summer.

“So far it seems to be pretty successful,” president of the historical society John Yantz said. He mentioned the fresh baked breads from a vendor who travels east from Brooklyn every Friday as his favorite item to bring home from the market. “The stuff they have is very unique and very health conscious,” Yantz said of the overall selection at the market.

Dunstatter mentioned health consciousness as an important theme for the market as well. “My whole goal is to help families eat better,” she said. Providing local vendors with an opportunity to sell their products without the burden of sky-rocketing rents is another pleasant side effect of the market, according to Dunstatter. She said she plans to expand west into Nassau County at some point, which is an area devoid of quality farmers markets, she said.

“There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes,” Dunstatter said about the challenges of opening and running a farmers market, especially this one that she said was set up in about a week. “I always say I want to start a reality TV show with all of these farmers markets,” she added with a smile.

The East Setauket Farmers Market is held at 93 North Country Road in Setauket. For more information visit the farmers market Facebook page.

Petrone: RFP for parking garage coming soon

The Huntington Town Board authorized a $1.6 million purchase of property to create 66 additional parking spaces in Huntington village. Photo by Rohma Abbas

Huntington village’s parking pickle may soon become a little less of one.

On Tuesday, the town board green-lighted a $1.6 million purchase of property on West Carver Street to create about 66 new parking spaces in the village.

The board unanimously authorized Supervisor Frank Petrone or his representative to execute a contract to purchase a portion of the property at 24 West Carver St. from owner Anna Louise Realty II, LLC— right across the road from the New Street municipal parking lot. The money will be bonded for over a 10-year period, Petrone told reporters after the meeting.

It won’t be the only parking update in Huntington village this season. Petrone said the town is working with the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce and the Huntington Station Business Improvement District to draft a request for proposals to build a parking garage in town — an idea town officials and residents have mulled for years.

“It’s a beginning,” Petrone said. “We made a commitment that parking is a continuum. We changed the meters. We have a different approach. We restriped, we added more spots, we redid lots. And now this is adding like 66 more additional spots, which is pretty substantial given the fact of the needs in the town.”

Town officials are hoping to get the RFP out by the end of summer, Petrone said. Asked where the structure would be sited, the supervisor said there have been discussions about locating it at the New Street lot, right across from the 66 additional spaces.

If a parking structure is to be built, it is likely current spots would be closed down in the construction process. Part of the idea of purchasing the 66 spaces would be to help mitigate parking during the building of a structure, he said.

Town officials had explored creating a parking facility on Elm Street for years. Those ideas aren’t dead, Petrone said, but the feeling is the town might be able to get more spots out of the New Street location. “We begin with New Street,” he said. “I’m not saying Elm will not be looked at.”

Petrone said the town’s been thinking up creative ways to finance a parking structure. Asked how the town would pay for such a facility, Petrone said it could be a private project, with the town providing the developer with a lease to the land, or it could be a public-private partnership. If a private entity were to come in, it would have to be worthwhile to them financially. To that end, he said “we’ve heard all sorts of ideas,” like building apartments or shops into the structure — properties that could be rented out. He said officials have also explored whether the cost of parking in the structure would suffice in terms of paying the debt service on the bond off.

The supervisor said he’s also weighed creating a parking district for the whole village area, with businesses paying into it, “because it’s the cost of doing business, it basically will provide better parking in the village.”

The chamber of commerce has “played an integral part in the push for increased parking options” in the town over the last three years, according to David Walsdorf, a chamber board member and member of the Huntington Village Parking Consortium.

“We view the parking challenge as a positive reflection of the growth and vitality of our flourishing businesses and we continue to support further improvement in our infrastructure to meet the needs and sustainability of our community,” he said in a statement.

Chamber chairman Bob Scheiner praised the news.

“The Huntington Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a part of this parking consortium and we fully support the supervisor and town board in this acquisition, which will go a long way to help the parking situation in downtown,” he said in a statement “The chamber looks forward to the release of the RFP and thanks the board for their efforts.”

The 15,100-square-foot facility is considered a landmark project of Whitetop Mountain, the Long Island-based commercial real estate firm behind the project. Rendering from Peter Wilk

By Phil Corso

Development has begun in the Village of The Branch community of Smithtown, paving the way for a new medical facility unlike any other in the township.

Long Island-based developer Whitetop Mountain Professional Properties and Islandia-based contractor Stalco Construction announced they had broken ground earlier this week on a new 15,100-square-foot medical and research building at 226 Middle Country Road worth roughly $5 million. The new facility will soon be home to two tenants, North Shore-LIJ Health System’s diagnostic imaging center and the headquarters and product research and development facilities of MIDI, a medical, life sciences and home health care product development consulting firm.

“We are excited to begin the development of the new building, which will complement other medical services facilities already established in the area,” said Christopher Montalbano, Whitetop principal.

Fellow Whitetop principal Gregory Montalbano said the building was a key move for his group that should usher in state-of-the-art services in Smithtown.

“226 Middle Country Rd. is the cornerstone of Whitetop Mountain’s strategy of developing properties for the medical services and product research and development industries,” Gregory Montalbano said. “Our firm focuses on building a portfolio of real estate facilities designed specifically for health care, research and professional services tenants in the greater New York region.”

The structure will house state-of-the-art medical services and research and development facilities. The foundation will feature reinforced-concrete footings and foundation walls. The building will have a steel structural system and six-inch metal frame exterior walls with brick veneer as well as colonial-looking trim to reflect the heritage of the neighborhood, the developer behind the project said.

“The architecture of the new one-story building will reflect the colonial feel of the historic Village of The Branch neighborhood, which dates back to the late 1600s,” said Alan Nahmias, president of Stalco. “The building’s façade will feature brick face, columns and other ornamental architectural elements prevalent in the landmark structures neighboring the new development.”

 

Solar shingles shine on the roof of a Long Island home. Photo from Division 7

The idea of installing solar panels to a roof as a source of electricity for a home is not exactly prehistoric.

Reducing the use of electricity or gas to power and heat homes undoubtedly has a positive effect on the environment. Despite being fairly new to the market, solar panels may be supplanted soon by a less expensive, more effective alternative.

Solar shingles have been available in the United States for about five years, according to an estimate by Richard Ciota, a Stony Brook resident who owns Division 7 Inc. Ciota’s 21-year-old roofing company is located in Lake Grove. Its residential division is the only one in the Suffolk County, Nassau County and New York City areas permitted to sell Dow Powerhouse solar shingles.

Solar panels have been available for decades, Ciota said in an interview at Division 7’s main office. They are at this point more efficient in generating electricity than shingles in terms of kilowatts per-square-foot of roof space, though there are problems associated with panels that contribute to the higher cost Ciota said.

“When you’re putting a solar panel onto a roof surface, you’re mounting that solar panel to the rafters through the existing roof,” Ciota said about the older technology, which his company offered prior to the availability of shingles. “So the waterproof technology has got to be perfect because you could be putting 40, 50, 60 penetrations through a perfectly good roof.”

Solar shingles are installed onto the roof of a Long Island residence. Photo from Division 7
Solar shingles are installed onto the roof of a Long Island residence. Photo from Division 7

Wind, shade from trees, excessive heat and animals are other factors that Ciota said are enemies to solar panels, which are installed on top of asphalt shingles and leave wiring exposed to the elements. Wind can cause the panels to pull the asphalt shingles away from the roof, which is an annoying and costly problem to have to fix after panels are installed.

Solar shingles replace asphalt shingles. They are waterproof and work in the same way that any conventional asphalt shingle would along with the added benefit of a reduced electric bill and a more environmentally friendly home than one that runs on electricity or gas heating.

Despite availability and the obvious benefits, solar panels only currently exist on about 5 percent of Long Island homes, according to Ciota. The number of homes with solar shingles is exponentially smaller.

John Petroski, Division 7’s director of solar and residential operations, estimated that the company has done about 70 shingle installations on Long Island since 2012 when Dow partnered with Division 7 Inc. Petroski said they have about 35 booked jobs left to complete, as part of Dow’s pilot program, which offered leasing or purchasing options to consumers.

“The way [Dow] is moving forward with the technology of the shingles, the improvements they’re making — they’re covering their bases,” Petroski said in reference to the notion that unanticipated issues have arisen as solar panels have gotten older, which could also happen to the shingles.

“I personally think the solar shingle will take over the marketplace,” Ciota said about the future as the technology continues to be upgraded. “There are new generations of solar shingles that will be coming out that will increase its efficiency and eventually they’ll probably tie up and meet [the efficiency of panels].”

Other companies sell solar shingles on Long Island, though Dow’s are widely considered to be on the cutting edge. In 2012 Dow received a Breakthrough Award from the magazine Popular Mechanics for pioneering an integrated solar roofing system, according to a press release on Dow’s website.

Note: John Petroski, director of solar and residential operations, is this writer’s brother.

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