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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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.

BusinessWest Article: CET Seeks To Expand Solar Access

We were recently featured in BusinessWest magazine discussing our Solar Access and Solar Hot Water programs.

“If we can help someone’s life be better or their business perform better at the same time we’re helping the environment, it just makes so much sense…so we’re always pushing harder to make more of it happen.”
-President of CET, John Majercak

Read the full article published by BusinessWest:

Center For EcoTechnology Seeks To Expand Solar Access

Wasting Food is a Waste of Money

Want to save money? Try looking in your refrigerator! According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy every year, which could cost a household as much as $2,275 annually! Wasting food means a waste of energy, water, and money. However, there are many ways that residents, customers, and businesses can help support the USDA and EPA goal to reduce wasted food by 50% by the year 2030:

Make Something New with Leftovers

One way to reduce wasted food is to check your pantry and refrigerator. Are there leftovers that could be repurposed? Check out the Save the Food campaign, which hosts resources to help communities and individuals address the importance of wasted food. For instance, Save the Food advises consumers on meal planning, understanding labels such as ‘best by,’ modifying storage practices, and reviving food. Also, read CET’s blog on best practices for storing and repurposing items past their prime. Reducing food ending up in your trash is a key way to saving money on grocery bills!

Get Involved with Food Rescue

Encourage local businesses to join Food Rescue programs, or volunteer as a food runner! For instance, MEANS database and Food Rescue US offer opportunities for local businesses, volunteers, and community kitchens or food pantries. Food rescue saves food that would have gone to waste, and feeds hungry people. By volunteering as a food runner you can give back to your community, and you can opt to volunteer whenever you are available.

vegetables

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