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!
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.
Massachusetts Rebates Supercharge Electric Vehicle Market posted on Jul 7
The MOR-EV initiative provides rebates of up to $2,500 for electric, fuel cell vehicles and plug-in vehicles with large batteries, and $1,500 for plug-in electric vehicles with smaller batteries. All Massachusetts residents are eligible to receive incentives on purchased and leased new electric vehicles until the rebate funds are gone.