Energy/Energy Efficiency Coordinator, Department of Agricultural Resources
Shortly before this year’s shortened maple sugaring season ended, I was fortunate to not only visit a local producer, but also able to “assist” in an afternoon of maple syrup production. My intention to visit Justamere Tree Farm, a family-owned maple sugaring and diversified farming operation in Worthington, was to review new energy efficient equipment funded in part by DAR’s Ag-Energy Grant Program. The grants help fund projects to improve energy efficiency and facilitate adoption of alternative clean energy technologies. Justamere’s new additional reverse osmosis (RO) equipment separates out and reduces the water content of the raw sap, thus reducing evaporation time and saving energy. Concurrently, water is recovered that is used for cleaning purposes. Justamere also uses an advanced gasification wood furnace that results in overall boiler efficiencies of 75 to 80 percent. This allows Justamere to use less than half of the wood conventional operations utilize. Energy and our valuable forest resources are saved and greenhouse gas emissions reduced. Possible next step – photovoltaics to help offset the maple syrup production’s electrical requirements!
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.
Massachusetts Milestone: 15,000 Solar Installations posted on Aug 25
Massachusetts has just surpassed an exciting milestone of 15,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, proving that solar energy has become a smart, popular choice here. In fact, as of August 21, there were 15,762 systems installed across Massachusetts, a twenty-fold increase from 2007 when Governor Deval …Continue Reading Massachusetts Milestone: 15,000 Solar Installations
Solarize Mass – Big Scale Impact for Small Scale Solar posted on Aug 20
The results of the Solarize Mass 2013-2014 two rounds managed to surpass numbers from the previous two years. Close to 1,500 contracts were signed and a total of nearly 10 megawatts of solar installed. During 2013’s first round, ten communities participated, and for the second round that ended this past June, another fifteen communities were chosen.