Greenfield is a hotbed of sustainable action, including its designation as a Green Community, numerous residential and commercial-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, and more recently a great deal of solar thermal activity.
As manager of MassCEC’s Commonwealth Solar Hot Water program, I recently spoke to a resident and homeowner in Greenfield, Spartan Giordano, who has found a way to take advantage of the area’s increased interest in solar.
He became a volunteer with Co-Op Power, a consumer-owned renewable energy cooperative, where he helped install six solar thermal systems. He was then hired by Co-op Power to direct the 2009 Sustainable Energy Summit. After participating in Greenfield Community College’s (GCC) Renewable Energy Program, under a Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund grant administered by Commonwealth Corporation, Spartan completed classes on solar thermal systems, passive solar and green building design.
Armed with experience and a supreme solar thermal skill set, Spartan embarked on a personal project: the design of his home. With encouragement from his wife Hannah and his friend Adam, he purchased land in Greenfield to build their own passive solar, super-insulated house! Spartan attributes much of his design and construction knowledge to the Renewable Energy Program. Not only were the GCC professors always available to help with design, but many of Spartan’s classmates lent a hand with construction. After two years, Spartan and Hannah are now living in their new, beautiful home with a fully functioning roof-mounted solar thermal system. You can read a month-by-month account of the building process on their blog, including the installation of the two-collector solar thermal system—funded with a Commonwealth Solar Hot Water rebate—that works in combination with an electric water heater to provide 75% of the family’s domestic water heating needs.
Spartan and Adam are currently installing solar thermal systems for Greenfield-based Sandri Energy, which offers a full array of energy related products and services throughout the Northeast. I’m looking forward to seeing the completion of their latest project, a thirty-two collector solar thermal system at the Pittsfield Boys & Girls Club that was funded through MassCEC’s Low Income Solar Thermal Program.
Banking on Residential Solar Power posted on Sep 16
“It’s a house, it’s a car, it’s a … solar panel?” In the coming months, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is hoping a new residential solar loan program will spark that question and interest in renewable power at local lending institutions across the Commonwealth. …Continue Reading Banking on Residential Solar Power
Building Efficiency Gurus Exchange Ideas on Just About Everything posted on Sep 5
The American Council for Energy Efficient-Economy (ACEEE) selected me to present a paper on the Commonwealth’s Green Communities Program at ACEEE’s Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. It felt like going to college – the seniors all knew each other, while the freshmen were …Continue Reading Building Efficiency Gurus Exchange Ideas on Just About Everything
Comparing Homes – Energy-Saving Enters the Equation posted on Aug 28
Until recently, there was no way to easily figure energy efficiency into a home buying decision. Enter HomeMPG, a Massachusetts energy-saving initiative to pilot an energy performance score (EPS) in residential homes. This “asset” rating that’s analogous to a car’s MPG rating. Behavior is taken out of the equation so that any home’s energy use can be compared to any other home, allowing for an apples-to-apples comparison.