Juliette Haas Receives the Alan Silverstein and Laura Dubester Award for Community Environmental Leadership

A deep commitment to protecting her local environment and community has earned Juliette Haas of Egremont the Center for EcoTechnology’s inaugural Alan Silverstein and Laura Dubester Award for Community Environmental Leadership.

Juliette Haas

Juliette Haas

Haas, who serves as Director of the Egremont Board of Health and Egremont Sustainability Coordinator, received the award at a meeting of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce at the Pittsfield Country Club on March 11. The award was presented by the Center for EcoTechnology’s President John Majercak and long-time former Co-Director Laura Dubester. The award honors Dubester and the late Alan Silverstein, who co-directed the Center for EcoTechnology for 30 years. They retired from their Co-Director positions in 2010.

The Alan Silverstein and Laura Dubester Award for Community Environmental Leadership is awarded by the Center for EcoTechnology to a local citizen who is working in his or her community to benefit the local environment – with a focus on reducing the harmful impacts humans can have on the environment – and the positive steps people can take at home, work and in their communities that help protect the environment, improve public health and build community.

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Alan Silverstein and Laura Dubester

“This award honors Alan and Laura’s achievements, and brings recognition to individuals who demonstrate community and environmental leadership through their vision, persistence, collaboration, community education and accomplishments,” said Majercak. “We feel the best way to honor their work is to recognize similar work and commitment of other remarkable people, such as Juliette, in our communities.”

Haas has led a number of energy efficiency, renewable energy and waste reduction initiatives in Egremont. She secured grant funding to improve the town’s Highway Department, including installing a new energy efficient heating system and a solar array. Since going solar, the array has generated over 50,000 kWh of clean, renewable energy. In 2009, while chairing the Egremont Green Committee, she launched “Egremont Recycles”, a once-a-year Earth Day event where volunteers pick up roadside trash and then recycle it. She also helped the town establish a part-time Sustainability Coordinator position, whose job responsibilities would be to investigate further energy efficiency, renewable energy and recycling/waste reduction programs. She recently served as Solar Coach for the state sponsored “Solarize Mass” project, helping forty Egremont households install solar arrays.

Haas served as administrator to the Egremont Wastewater Management Committee from 2002-2005, where she was instrumental in presenting a $4 million sewer project to the town, which secured close to $1 million in federal grant funding. She served for five years on the Alford/Egremont Cultural Council and was chairman for three.

For nearly 40 years, the Center for EcoTechnology, a non-profit organization, has helped people in western Massachusetts save energy and reduce waste in their homes and businesses. CET’s staff provide practical solutions that save energy, materials and money and have a positive impact on our community, economy and environment.

Silverstein and Dubester were pioneers in the environmental movement. From 1977 to 2010 they worked tirelessly at the Center for EcoTechnology to create and implement many successful and innovative community-based environmental initiatives and inspire others to do the same.

US-China climate deal is a big winner

By John Majercak, CET President

MIT chartFor all of you climate science junkies out there, check out this excellent analysis of yesterday’s US-China climate deal by Climate Interactive. This graph makes it clear that the deal will have a huge impact. More importantly, it shows what will happen if the rest of the world follows suit (check out the flat line in the graph).

The Center for EcoTechnology works with you to implement the local solutions – house by house, business by business – that are needed to help make national and global goals a reality. Thanks for doing your part!

Spring into Action with Solar

by EcoFellow Heather Merhi

Spring has finally arrived! The weather may not have gotten the memo yet, but the sun’s extended appearance is certainly a welcome sight, especially for residents in towns participating in the Solarize Mass program. This season is a clear reminder of how we can be harnessing the power of the sun for our home’s electricity. Solarize Mass is a program created in partnership with the Department of Energy Resources and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) as a way for a community to come together to reduce the price of solar through a group purchasing model. Since its first piloted debut in 2011, it has been widely successful, with over 900 solar installations thus far!

Solarize Mass Adams at Thunderfest

Solarize Mass Adams at Thunderfest

This Wednesday, EcoFellow Sarah and I took a trip over to Adams, one of the towns partaking in Solarize, to share information about home energy assessments at their Meet the Installer Night. People that are considering solar are required to have had an energy assessment within the last six years to be eligible for the MassCEC solar rebate. In order to accurately size the system, it is best to ensure that the home is as buttoned up as possible. With recommended energy efficiency measures taken and less energy wasted, the size of the solar system can be reduced leaving more money in your pocket! 

Adams joins 14 other communities as part of Solarize 2013’s second round. Before the Solarize program, the town had three solar arrays in their community. They have already more than doubled the number with 7 contracts so far. With the addition of more houses signing up for solar, they could reduce the price of solar per watt by up to 32%. Go Adams! To find out if your community is also a part of Solarize, visit http://www.masscec.com/solarizemass

GreenStartJoinNow

For those who are unable to get solar due to lack of southern exposure or other reasons, there are other options to support getting renewable energy on the grid. At CET we are partnered with the nonprofit Mass Energy Consumer’s Alliance to offer National Grid and WMECO customers a way to support renewable energy. The program is called New England GreenStart and it is allows you to match 100% of the electricity you use at home with clean, renewable energy that is being generated all throughout New England.

To learn more about call a CET representative at:

Pioneer Valley: 413-586-7350 ext. 237

Berkshires: 413-445-4556 ext. 29

 

For more information on solar incentives visit:

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center

Dsire USA

 

Go Green: “It’s a No-Brainer”

By Heather Merhi, Energy Efficiency and Outreach EcoFellow

Important news on the Go Green front: The Go Green Energy Starter Kit is now in safe hands!

David Bennett, the winner of our very first Go Green Resolution Raffle, recently stopped by our Northampton office to collect his bag of energy efficiency goodies: CFL light bulbs, a smart power strip, a programmable thermostat, a Kill A Watt meter and a reusable bag to carry everything in. His Go Green resolution of “Use drying rack more often than dryer” was chosen out of 38 submitted resolutions. Before he left, we had a quick chat with him about “going green.”

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Go Green Resolution Raffle winner David Bennett and his Energy Efficiency Starter Kit.

Q: When did you first encounter CET?

A: We’ve had a few energy assessments done at our home by CET staff and we had a lot of insulation work done in our house and in our exterior walls. It was great. I always recommend doing energy assessments to all my friends.

Q: Tell us about how you’re acting on your drying rack resolution.

A: It’s harder in the winter to use the drying rack, but we have two racks in the basement near our wood burning stove – we try to burn wood instead of oil – so we are going to try and use the racks more.

Q: Why is important for you to Go Green?
A: First, I care about the Earth and second, to save money. It’s a no-brainer.

We could not agree more!

Good luck Dave, we will be sure to follow up with you on your resolution.

And, look out for our second Go Green raffle, set to go live around Earth Day!

EcoFellow Adventures

I sometimes like to think of the EcoFellows as green ninjas, spurring sustainable actions in the region. 

This weekend, decked out in fancy black CET shirts, Kill-A-Watt meters in hand and the environment on our mind we were ready for action. From teaching youth about everything CET does, to supporting Safe Passage at Northampton’s Hot Chocolate Run, this weekend was a particularly community-filled and active one for us EcoFellows. 

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We kicked off our adventures at Springfield’s YMCA Teen Summit event. With our hand crank, mini solar panels and recycled holiday bows set out, we were ready for the swarm of children and teenagers that ensued. We could see the surprise on their faces as they took a turn on the hand crank, physically feeling the difference in energy required to light an energy efficient LED bulb versus a traditional incandescent. They learned about waste reduction with magazine crafted holiday bows, and saw the possibility for clean energy generation with mini solar panels. EcoFellow Julia’s feelings resonate with us all; she says, “I saw so much potential in the kids we talked to; it’s inspiring to know there is another generation invested in environmental awareness.”

 Only slightly drained by the abounding curiosity of the youth, we busied ourselves getting ready for the 5K. Rather than train like most people, we prepared by intensely crafting t-shirts with our team name: “The Cold Turkeys.”

The Cold Turkeys!

 At 10 AM on Sunday morning, bundled up with our five layers of clothing and accompanied by what seemed like all of Northampton, we began the run. As we started up the first hill, all we could see ahead of us was a sea of multicolored dots – the heads and hats of the thousands of runners in front of us – and we were astounded by the way Northampton came together for one very important occasion. At the finish line, we felt a sense of community and accomplishment being surrounded by everyone smiling and sipping on hot cocoa in the cold.  

At CET giving back to the community is a priority. It is our hope that our community wants to give back, as well, to help us continue our programs in energy efficiency, waste reduction and renewable energy. You can donate on Valley Gives Day to help support the EcoFellowship program and our Go Green goals!

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