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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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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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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New Uses for Your Spruces: Creative Reuse for your Christmas Tree

By Kevin Pink, Marketing and Development Specialist 

The holidays have come and gone, and with 25-30 million fresh-cut Christmas trees being purchased in the United States every year, there are soon to be a lot of spruces and firs that need to be disposed of. We’ve got some helpful hints about ways you can put your tannenbaum to good use once you’ve taken the lights and decorations off. 

Create an animal shelter.

If you don’t have your own pond, your tree makes a great shelter for land animals as well! You can also coat some branches in peanut butter or margarine to give animals a little snack along with their shelter. Squirrels, birds, rabbits and others will all appreciate a safe, warm place to ride out the winter!

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