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Gerry Palano

Gerry Palano

Energy/Energy Efficiency Coordinator, Department of Agricultural Resources

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Gerry Palano Maple Sugaring

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!

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As Deputy Director of DOER's Green Communities Division, Lisa helps lead a team devoted to working with Massachusetts cities and towns to realize environmental and cost benefits of municipal energy efficiency and renewable energy. Prior to joining DOER, Lisa worked in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs from 2007 to 2012, first as Press Secretary and then as Assistant Secretary for Communications and Public Affairs. Her previous communications and public relations experience includes both government and the private sector, where, as principal of upWrite Communications, she served clients such as The Trustees of Reservations, The Nature Conservancy, and Partners Health Care/North Shore Medical Center. She began her career as a journalist, covering Beacon Hill for the State House News Service, and later wrote for a variety of other publications including The Boston Globe, Teacher Magazine, Animals Magazine, and The Gulf of Maine Times. The author of two books, Lisa serves on the board of the Saugus River Watershed Council and resides with her family in Melrose.

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