Why Switch to New England Green Start or New England Wind?

By Chiara Favaloro, Marketing Fellow

What is New England Wind & New England GreenStart?

The Center for EcoTechnology partners with Mass Energy Consumers Alliance to make it easier than ever for Massachusetts residents to switch to 100% renewable energy. Residents whose energy comes from Eversource or National Grid can sign up for Mass Energy’s New England GreenStart and New England Wind programs. Signing up means that members pay a small fee directly on their electric bills to ensure all of their energy comes from clean, renewable sources. The premium for choosing green energy is 2.4 cents/kwh for New England GreenStart or 3.8 cents/kwh for New England Wind. These contributions are completely tax deductible!

If you sign up for New England GreenStart, your energy will come from a variety of local renewable sources including wind, solar, digester gas, and low-impact hydro. If you choose New England Wind, your energy will come from 100% wind power.


New England Wind vs. GreenStart


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CET’s Expanding Commercial Efficiency Services

By Aliza Heeren, Marketing and High Performance Building Fellow

The Center for EcoTechnology has been providing practical solutions for 40 years that save energy, materials and money and have a positive impact on our environment and community. CET has provided technical assistance, energy modeling, inspection services, energy code compliance testing, and green building certifications to over 2,000 projects throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Hampshire. In 2004, CET participated in the first LEED for Homes pilot, and since then has completed dozens of LEED for Homes, LEED Multifamily Low-Rise, and LEED Multifamily Mid-Rise projects. Since 2005 CET has worked with dozens of homebuilders participating in the ENERGY STAR Homes program and has certified over 1,400 ENERGY STAR Homes. Our team also conducts Energy Star certification for modular building plants in accordance with the SBRA requirements. CET’s technicians have completed thousands of diagnostic tests for envelope and duct tightness and advised hundreds of builders on leakage reduction techniques. Finally, to educate the construction industry about changes to the Massachusetts energy codes and the Stretch Energy Code, CET has provided approximately 75 energy code trainings across Massachusetts both independently and through the Massachusetts Department of Energy Services.

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Home Energy Assessment Myths…BUSTED!

By Chiara Favaloro, Marketing Fellow

1. Myth: Home energy assessments are expensive

FALSE: They are available at NO COST to you! Trained professionals from the Center for EcoTechnology and Mass Save conduct each assessment thoroughly and skillfully.

2. Myth: Most homes don’t need weatherization 

FALSE: An average home has enough air leakage to add up to a two-foot-square hole. That is like leaving a medium sized window open for 24 hours a day!

3. Myth: Low-flow water fixtures greatly affect water pressure

FALSE: The water pressure is not significantly changed with low-flow water fixtures, yet you will greatly reduce your water consumption.

4. Myth: The savings are small

FALSE: You could save up to 30% on your energy bill by making efficiency upgrades that are suggested by your home energy assessment. Your report will also include applicable rebates and incentives, which could save you 75% up to $2,000.

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Drive Green Electric Vehicle Event

By Chiara Favaloro, Marketing Fellow

Last Saturday, the Hitchcock Center for the Environment hosted an event all about electric vehicles. There were two Teslas and Chevy Volts present for people to observe and test drive. The Teslas and one model of Volt are privately owned by members of the Pinoneer Valley Electric Automobile Association, and the newest Volt was brought by Brian Birrell from Burke Chevrolet in Northampton. These car owners shared their experiences about what it is really like to drive one of these incredible machines. Many reflected on the joy of driving such a quiet and smooth vehicle that is also benefiting the environment. The owners also fielded questions from attendees, alleviating concerns that interested buyers may have.

During this event, there was also a presentation about the Mass Energy program, Drive Green, which offers incentives and discounts on new electric cars. Anyone is eligible to participate and receive a discount to purchase or lease a Nissan LEAF, Chevy Bolt, Kia eSoul, Ford C-MAX Energi, or Ford Fusion Energi at a participating dealer. After you buy or lease your EV, you can go even greener by running it off of renewable energy available through New England Wind or New England Green Start. With all of these incredible Mass Energy programs and sleek new car models available, if you are considering getting an electric vehicle, now is the time!

See below for some photos from the event:

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Meeting the Stretch Energy Code

By Aliza Heeren, Marketing and High Performance Building Fellow

This January, the Massachusetts stretch energy code updated their energy efficiency standards from the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) to the 2015 IECC, and the Center for EcoTechnology’s high performance building team is here to help you navigate the updates. These changes will require builders working in any of the 180 stretch code towns in Massachusetts to meet much stricter energy standards; such as reducing the envelope leakage down to 3.0 air changes per hour, and building an energy efficient home with a Home Energy (HERS) index that is 55 or less. To learn more about the specific changes in the new code, you can visit our blog or attend one of our energy code trainings. Once you have a grasp on the changes made, it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to meet the changes in your upcoming projects.

We spoke with one of our home energy raters, John Saveson, to learn more about his experience so far helping builders meet the new code. John commented, “recently I’ve had a couple of houses that are subject to the updated stretch code, and in both cases they are going to have to make some energy efficiency upgrades compared to what they thought they were going to be doing.” Building homes to comply with the new stretch energy code is going to be a stretch for any builder who is not already focusing on high efficiency. In the past two years alone, CET’s high performance building team has worked with about 65 homes that would not meet the new stretch code because their HERS index was above 55, and about 45 homes that would not meet it because they were over three air changes per hour.

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