Go Green News

Press Release: State, Local Officials Cut Ribbon on Solar Access Clean Energy System for Amherst Homeowner

            10/15/2018

CONTACT:
Emily Gaylord, Center for EcoTechnology
413.687.2132 (cell) | 413.586.7350 ext. 236
emily.gaylord@cetonline.org
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   ­

State, Local Officials Cut Ribbon on Clean Energy System for Amherst Homeowner

 Solar, renewable heating system funded by state program for low-to moderate income residents

Amherst, Mass., October 15, 2018 – State officials from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center today joined representatives from the Center for EcoTechnology and UMass Five Credit Union to celebrate the recent completion of a solar and renewable heating system for a homeowner in Amherst. Paulina Alenkina, a homeowner in Amherst, flipped the switch on her home’s new renewable-powered heating system as part of Solar Access, a state-supported program for homeowners installing solar panels with heat pump technology. The program is funded through the state’s Affordable Clean Residential Energy Program, sponsored by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) as part of the Baker administration’s $15 million Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy initiative.

Solar Access is a time-limited pilot program for middle-income homeowners in Massachusetts. There are many programs that offer financial help to pay for a portion of the cost of solar or a cold climate air source heat pump. This program, available to only 100 homeowners, combines solar electric and air source heat pump incentives with a state-sponsored loan to fully finance both technologies. CET, a local non-profit, has partnered with SunBug Solar and Girard Heating and Air Conditioning to bring affordable, renewable energy to those who may not readily be able to purchase this technology. Participants in the program enroll in a UMassFive Credit Union loan and pay less than they spend now on energy costs. To participate, a family of four would need to fall in the income range of $68,289.01 – $91,052.00. Participants can call CET with income-related questions. Alenkina, a CET employee, was one of the first homeowners to sign up. Five more projects will come online this month.

“Participating was a no-brainer,” said homeowner Paulina Alenkina. “My family and I are saving on my energy bills and getting clean energy all at the same time.”

Solar Access is truly a community effort, and is supported by the MassCEC and the DOER.

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Is the Zero Waste Lifestyle Possible for Me?

Mason jars, stainless steel straws, and reusable shopping bags. Most of us have heard of these items as tools to help us reduce waste in our daily lives. In fact, the Center for EcoTechnology has written a few blogs about this concept of zero waste before, highlighting ways to incorporate waste free actions into our routines and special events. These ideas are practical and helpful but in this blog, we want to take a step back and look at why they might not be possible or accessible to all demographics.

What is zero waste?

Most cohesively, zero waste is a movement to reduce the amount that individuals and communities consume and consequently throw away. A zero waste lifestyle promotes a circular economy, one that is sustainable and functional for long-term use. It encourages more complex thinking about the resources we use and utilizes concepts like reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting as potential solutions.

zero waste

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Creative Reuse Project: Door Knob Picture Holders

For our latest creative reuse project, we have transformed door knobs into vintage picture holders! This simple DIY project utilizes many items you already have around your house; we got our salvaged crystal door knobs from EcoBuilding Bargains in Springfield! A vintage photo holder is a great way to display family portraits, yearbook photos, notes, invitations, and more.

Materials:

  • Door knob
  • Wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Jewelry pliers
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scrap felt or fabric
  • Optional: paint, other decorative supplies

    materials

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BioCycle: Organic Waste Bans And Recycling Laws To Tackle Food Waste

We were recently featured in an article in BioCycle magazine about our efforts to tackle the issue of food waste.

“The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), with support from the Center for EcoTechnology (CET), conducted an analysis of existing and proposed organic waste bans, studying the policies themselves as well as the experiences of states and localities in implementing and enforcing these policies.”

food

Read the full article

Organic Waste Bans And Recycling Laws To Tackle Food Waste

published by BioCycle Magazine.

How to be a Smart Recycler

Massachusetts residents have long been known to recycle – in fact, a 2015 Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) report shows that nearly 95% of MA residents say they recycle on a regular basis! In the spirit of the new school year and starting fresh, we have some tips and tools on how to recycle even better and smarter in your home, business, or community.

What’s the deal with contamination?

You may have heard through the grapevine that there is a problem with contamination in our recycling industry. Contamination occurs when incorrect items are put in the recycling bin or sorted wrong. Down the line, this can lead to machinery malfunctions, increases in recycling costs, and unsafe work environments for the 13,000 MA employees working in the industry. This video shows the process of where your recyclables go after placed in your bin. When recyclables are contaminated, entire truckloads can be thrown away. The challenges of contamination have led to the implementation of China’s National Sword Policy. Some common contaminants include plastic bags and films, food waste, Styrofoam, and hazardous waste.

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