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Frank Gorke

Frank Gorke

Director, Energy Efficiency Division, Department of Energy Resources

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Warwick Street ReStore

I recently had the pleasure of joining some of my colleagues at the groundbreaking for the new ReStore at Warwick Street in Springfield, and I was impressed with what we’re seeing there. I talked about ReStore before in one of my recent posts. It’s an enterprise of the Center for Ecological Technology (CET) that takes recycling to a new level. As a “green” home improvement center, its teams pull materials from building demolitions and renovations—most of which get thrown away despite still being useful—and resell it at a lower price. This makes home improvement more affordable, redirects unnecessary waste by recycling materials, and creates local jobs. It is a seriously cool idea, and they are about to outdo themselves.

ReStore is moving to a soon-to-be-renovated warehouse, which we expect will become one of Massachusetts’ flagship Deep Energy Retrofits. CET competed for and won one of DOER’s High Performance Buildings Grants, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Using those funds, they’ll be turning the ReStore into a model for energy efficiency, reducing the building’s energy consumption by 50 percent. The best part is many of the materials they are using to make this happen are—you guessed it—recycled.

Not only will home improvement customers at ReStore be able to buy reused materials, they will get a hands-on demonstration of how to reduce energy use in buildings. CET also will maintain classroom and conference space to host trainings and seminars for green building techniques. ReStore is setting a great example, and we are excited to see what the final result looks like.

John Majercak of CET hosted the kick-off event with an impressive coalition of supporters. Several notable attendees included Congressman Richard Neal, Mayor Domenic Sarno, and DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice. In the audience were some of the many contributors to the almost $1.1 million in donations, not to mention pro-bono services and equipment, which CET has raised to help relocate the ReStore. The atmosphere was festive, and John stayed true to ReStore’s values: even the complimentary coffee and water were served in real glasses to avoid waste from Styrofoam cups.

But John isn’t done. We’re expecting big things from ReStore, which will be completed next summer. Keep an eye out for more postings as the building begins to undergo its transformation.

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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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