EcoFellows Graduate from C2C Program at Bard College

By Shelby Kuenzli, Digital Marketing EcoFellow

This past week, four of the EcoFellows participated in the Bard College C2C Fellows Network program. This is a national program for undergraduates and recent graduates aspiring for leadership positions in sustainable policy, politics and business. This two-and-a-half-day conference provided a great opportunity for us to learn about potential sustainability career paths we can take as well as network with other young environmental professionals.

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Stop Plastic Pollution at the Source. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Plastic PollutionBy Willow Cohn, Outreach and Education EcoFellow

We use plastics in virtually every shape and form in our daily lives. It carries our drinks, holds our shampoos, and keeps our veggies fresh. According to the to the UN Environment Programme, humans are consuming resources and producing waste at a greater scale than ever before, and per capita consumption levels are projected to increase with continued development. Data indicates that during the 20th century, global material resource use rose at about twice the rate of population. Plastic is everywhere! We love it because it is waterproof, relatively cheap, durable, and versatile. Plastic makes our lives incredibly convenient, disposable, and easy, but most people rarely think about the effects it has on the environment. Unlike other materials, it never really goes away. Plastic does break down, but in a landfill it takes up to 400 hundreds years; worse, it doesn’t ever become other materials, it just breaks into microscopic pieces of plastic that are still non-biodegradable. From there, plastic fragments most often find their way into the oceans. But it’s not just the end of a plastic’s life cycle we need to worry about. When plastic is produced, it’s made from toxic materials such as benzene and vinyl hydrochloride. These chemicals are known to cause cancer, and the manufacturing byproducts contaminate our air and soil.

So what can you do?

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Celebrate #GivingTuesday with CET

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing & High Performance Building Fellow

Tomorrow, November 28, join the worldwide movement and give back to your community by participating in Giving Tuesday! This international celebration of giving has already raised $177,000,000 across 98 different countries, and the day has not even arrived yet! Tomorrow as people come together to give what they can to influential charities and organizations, we hope that you keep in mind the Center for EcoTechnology, and the work we do in your communities.

One of the best ways to get involved is at the local level. Here at the Center for EcoTechnology, we help our community make green make sense! Last year our outreach and education team connected with over 3,400 people around western Massachusetts. We traveled to 119 events, reaching from the Berkshires to Boston, helping people to save money and find even more ways to be environmentally conscious. We love the work that we do, but as a non-profit we need help doing it.

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Celebrate America Recycles Day with CET

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing and High Performance Building EcoFellowAmerica Recycles DayToday is America Recycles Day! According to the EPA the United States recycles at a rate of around 34.3%, and with your help we can raise that even more! Recycling and composting are growing industries accounting for 757,000 jobs and $36.6 billion in wages, as well as an additional $6.7 billion in tax revenue. That is roughly 1.57 jobs for every 1,000 tons of material recycled! By increasing the amount we recycle we can conserve natural resources, while strengthening our economy!

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NESEA Pro Tour with the EcoFellows

EcoFellows in front of passive house on NESEA your

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing and High Performance Building EcoFellow

Recently the EcoFellows toured two very different, yet highly efficient, building projects in Western Massachusetts. The tour was put on by our friends at the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) as part of their Pro Tour Series. Both projects were the work of local contractors Kent Hicks Construction, one of them being his own home and office.

Kent lives in a former grist mill that was built in 1850. In order to convert it into a home residence and office space he completed a deep energy retrofit. A deep energy retrofit is a way of renovating a space to address all energy loads and increase efficiency.

However, what made this project exceptional was Kent’s dedication to maintaining the integrity and aesthetic of the old mill building. Throughout the project, deconstruction and repurposing of original materials was a priority. This allowed for unique design features, like wainscoting made from their original metal roofing, and a dining room table made from the mill’s machinery. The flooring downstairs is also original and shows the indentations of former mill employees’ work stations. This project is a testament to how style  and energy efficiency can work together to create a beautiful and sustainable home, without compromising historical authenticity.

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