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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What You Need to Know About the New Massachusetts Energy Code

By Peggy MacLeod, Sales Representative, and Aliza Heeren, Marketing High Performance Building Fellow

As of January 1, 2017, the Massachusetts Energy Code has adopted stricter energy efficiency standards required for all new homes. The state base energy code transitioned from the 2012 International Energy Code (IECC) standards to the 2015 IECC with a few specific amendments for Massachusetts. In addition, the Massachusetts stretch energy code, which has been adopted by over 180 Massachusetts towns, made a huge leap from the 2009 IECC requirements to the 2015 IECC requirements. This stringent new standard asks a lot of building professionals, and the Center for EcoTechnology is available to help make the transition as seamless as possible. CET has years of experience in high performance building and has performed over 2,000 HERS ratings. CET experts are available to assist builders through IECC code trainings, consultations, and HERS services.

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Press Release: New Federal Funding to Help MFEP

Primary Contact: Lorenzo Macaluso

413.218.1543 |

Secondary Contact: Emily Susan Gaylord, Marketing Manager
413.687.2132 (cell) |


New federal funding to help Mass. farms save energy and reduce operating costs
USDA funds support existing state and public utility funding through the Mass. Farm Energy Program


Farms and rural small businesses in Massachusetts seeking to reduce energy costs or install clean energy technologies have long relied on the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ (MDAR) Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP) for funding and technical assistance.

Now, new funding from the United States Department of Agriculture will support the work of the MFEP. The USDA has awarded a $33,000 Rural Business Development Grant to the Center for EcoTechnology (CET), a non-profit based in Northampton, Mass., who partners with MDAR to manage the MFEP. The grant will be used  to provide timely information, funding request assistance, and technical assistance to rural farms that wish to improve their energy efficiency and reduce operating costs.

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Greening Your Holiday Travel

By Aliza Heeren, Marketing (High Performance Building) Fellow

The holiday season is an exciting time to travel, but sometimes, we get wrapped up in the holiday cheer and forget that we can still make environmentally conscious choices. Don’t let the holidays get the better of you this year! Here are eight tips to help you green your holiday travel:

  1. Don’t travel alone

Whether you are traveling by plane or by car, the more passengers the better! If you are flying, chose airlines with higher occupancy rates to make your travel more efficient. If you are driving, try to carpool whenever possible. Either carpool with your family, or communicate with friends to see if anyone is traveling in the same direction as you. Carpooling will save you money and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions!

  1. Stay close to home

If you can, avoiding excess travel will reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and save you money!

  1. Take public transportation

It’s always important to take public transportation whenever possible because it is much more efficient than driving, and this still applies around the holidays! It will save you the stress of driving and parking, and can make your holiday adventures a little bit greener!

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