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.
“Mass. Military Division” and “Energy Efficiency” Go Together posted on Jul 25
Energy measures implemented at a Mass. Military Divison site include improved lighting, high efficiency motors, HVAC controls and energy management system upgrades. Under the Accelerate Efficiency Plan, the Commonwealth is investing over $12 million at 29 state facilities throughout the Berkshires.
Solar a “No-Go” on Your Roof? Share Through Community Solar posted on Jul 16
Harvard residents who wanted solar on their homes and were unable to get it due to shading, sloping, or structural barriers, found a solution by sharing the Harvard Solar Garden, an approximately 250 kW project, provides 41 residents and six small businesses with sustainable, clean energy. .
Summer’s Here: Shed Layers and Shed Loads posted on Jul 11
Electricity usage throughout New England reaches its peak during summer heat waves, causing our electricity bills to spike. During periods of high demand, electric utilities typically call on more expensive “peaking” plants to provide extra power. These costs are passed onto larger, non-residential consumers through demand charges on their monthly electricity bill. Municipal buildings can save a significant sum of money if they shut off portions of their electricity during these peak periods.