EcoFellows Develop Skills at Bard College C2C Conference

The Bard College C2C program offers weekend skills-based workshops for recent graduates and current college students. Upon completion of the conference, every participant joins a C2C Fellows network, which now has over 500 members. As part of the EcoFellowship program, CET provides Fellows with the opportunity to attend conferences for professional development. Earlier this month, two of the current EcoFellows, Natasha and Becky, chose to attend the Bard College C2C Conference. Natasha and Becky discuss their personal experiences and conference takeaways below. Also, check out last year’s fellows’ blog to learn more about the program and day-to-day schedule of events. It’s a great opportunity for EcoFellows to attend this conference year after year!

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Weatherization Tips & Tricks

As the weather gets colder, you may be starting to think about how to keep your house warm. Weatherization is a process in which you protect your house from the outside elements, including snow, rain, and the cold weather! Weatherization will reduce your home’s energy consumption and save you both energy and money. Also, it’s pretty easy to do!

Why is it important to do?

One reason weatherization is important to do is because you become more comfortable in your own home. Not only will weatherization provide better comfort and fewer drafts, but it will also save you money on energy costs while making your home more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Many homeowners are dealing with higher energy bills year round and do not realize that proper weatherization techniques can permanently solve the problem. Weatherization also improves air quality, increases moisture control, and prevents things like ice dams, freezing pipes, and mold growth from condensation (since you are controlling moisture more).

What are the cost savings like?

Through weatherization improvements and upgrades, households can save an average of $283 or more each year according to a national evaluation of the program. According to the Department of Energy, you can also save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.

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Solar Access Ribbon Cutting

This past Monday, we celebrated the installation of a Solar Access system with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and UMassFive Credit Union at Paulina Alenkina’s home in Amherst, MA. Solar Access is a pilot program that provides access to renewable energy and affordable heating and cooling technology to middle income homeowners in Massachusetts. This program combines solar electric and air source heat pump incentives with a state-sponsored loan to finance both technologies.

From left to right, Gabrielle Stebbins and Richard Faesy from Energy Futures Group; Steve Girard, Owner, Girard Heating & Cooling; Stephen Pike, CEO, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center; Aaron Simms, Co-Owner of SunBug Solar; Richard Kump, President & CEO of UMassFive Credit Union; Paulina Alenkina; John Majercak, President, Center for EcoTechnology.

Paulina’s home is one of the 100 proposed projects under the Solar Access pilot program. Many other programs throughout the state focused on expanding renewable energy tend to leave out middle income homeowners; and there are many programs that only pay for a portion of solar or air source heat pump technologies. Solar Access provides affordable, renewable energy to those who may not be able to purchase it, and participants will spend less than they do now.

“Participating was a no-brainer,” homeowner Paulina Alenkina said. “My family and I are saving on my energy bills and getting clean energy all at the same time.” Paulina, a CET employee, is one of five homeowners expected to see systems come online this month. 

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