Creative Minds Out Loud Podcast Episode: “Green is Good” with John Majercak

“[John Majercak] has worked for the Center for EcoTechnology for more than 25 years in a variety of positions and brings a positive vision, strong background in environmental science, broad experience, and a highly successful track record to the President position…John’s work in organic waste composting has garnered national recognition as a model for building a market-based system for diverting commercial food waste from disposal. Project work includes green job training for weatherization workers and public education on energy efficiency, radon and recycling.”

Hear the full podcast episode below:

Creative Minds Out Loud: “Green is Good” with John Majercak

How to Stay Green This Season!

With the holiday season comes a lot of guests, food, and gifts. Remember that celebrating does not mean needing to waste copious amounts of food and producing excess energy! Use some of our tips to ensure that your holiday celebrations positively impact the environment.

1. Use a real Christmas tree instead of a fake one.

Using a real Christmas tree has shown to be more sustainable for the environment. Artificial trees are typically made with polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which is listed as a carcinogen. Additionally, it is the manufacture of a fake plastic tree, from oil, that creates most of its carbon footprint. Fake trees are also often shipped very long distances before arriving in the shop and then your home. Real Christmas trees are grown very sustainably and efficiently on Christmas tree farms, and recycling and composting your real tree after use is very easy to do. You can also leave your real tree in woods or ponds to create a wildlife habitat!

2. Use recyclable wrapping paper or alternative sustainable gift wrap options.

Before recycling wrapping paper, be sure to remove any decorations such as ribbons or bows as these cannot be recycled. Simple wrapping paper can be recycled but foil or glitter-decorated paper cannot and needs to go in the waste. Reusable gift wrap is also an idea, such as cloth or reusable gift bags!

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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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Beat the Summer Heat!

The summer heat is here and it’s time to think about ways to cool your home while conserving energy! You can take actions now that will keep you more comfortable during these hot summer days, save you some money, and help the environment!

Cool Your Home Efficiently 

• Consider using window A/C units to cool specific spaces, and closing off those rooms that you don’t need to cool. By reducing the space you want to cool, you’ll be more comfortable and you’ll save money!

• Cool your house at night by opening windows and using fans to cool off if you don’t have air conditioning. Close windows early in the morning and keep them closed all day.

• Use ceiling and portable fans to blow air on you and your family members. Remember: fans cool people, not rooms, so turn them off when you’re not in the same room.

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Announcing: Solar Access | Affordable Home Heating

Solar Access Massachusetts family

Paulina is a participant in the Solar Access program. Here she is with her children outside their home.

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new program: Solar Access! With support from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy Resources, we are able to offer affordable, renewable energy for your community.

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