BINGHAMTON, NY – (WIVT/WBGH) Local organizations have partnered on a new building project to reduce the cities carbon footprint.

Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments (VINES), a Binghamton based urban agriculture and food justice organization, will set the first straw bale in its new office building thanks to Green Mountain Energy and other community organizations. The structure will be the first Net Zero building in Binghamton and the first commercial straw bale building in the Northeast. The office space will include a headquarters for VINES and will serve as a hub for community gatherings. It will feature solar panels, air source heat pumps, and other carbon neutral energy-efficient elements. Construction is expected to be completed by 2024.

A Net Zero building produces a zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on site. Green construction elements, such as straw bale building, cut energy usage by up to 75%. The sustainable building alternative, which uses the straw bales for structural and insulation elements, has a long history of energy efficiency.

The project is made possible through donations and grants from the New York Energy Research and Development Authority, New York Empire State Development, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and the Dormitory Authority of New York, the City of Binghamton, Green Mountain Energy Sun Club, the Stewart W. and Willma C. Hoyt Foundation, Visions Federal Credit Union, and other community members who have contributed to the project’s Capital Campaign.