Celebrating 40 Years: Building Green

By Kelsey Colpitts, Marketing Fellow  

In October, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) named Massachusetts the most energy efficient state for the fifth year in a row! Since 1976, the Center for EcoTechnology has contributed to this progress and remained on the cutting edge of green building technology. To celebrate our 40th year, we look at the green construction services, education and support CET has provided to help save residents and builders money and energy.

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In the 1970s, the Center for EcoTechnology became a leader in energy conservation and renewable energy. Our team of experts completed the first energy audits in homes and conducted informational workshops on energy efficient design for new construction. We also were involved in Project SUEDE, a solar demonstration program that provided training in solar and energy conservation theory and installed solar space heating systems in low-income households. We expanded our efforts in the 1980s by increasing energy financing programs for efficiency and renewable energy, such as the Mass Save heat loan program, which helped over 3000 residents install energy saving measures in their homes. As a result of the explosive technology revolution within the construction industry, our green building experts have transitioned to thinking about the house as a whole system, instead of separate, unrelated sections.

Since our inception, we have remained up to date with these changes and have updated and expanded our services to align with increasing technology and new building energy codes. We understand that building green not only aligns with our mission and go green goals, but it also gives buyers an added level of assurance knowing that quality materials and high-efficiency design practices were used during construction, resulting in lower utility costs. CET began certifying homes when the USGBC launched the LEED for Homes certification pilot in 2005. We now offer certification services for three levels of LEED for Homes (Silver, Gold, Platinum), and provide the necessary services to help buildings, such as Hampshire College’s New Hitchcock Center, meet the criteria of the Living Building

Challenge, the latest and most efficient design standard in green building. When Massachusetts energy codes were updated in July of 2014 to improve the efficiency of new homes, our team of experts offered free energy code workshops and updated code testing packages to help builders achieve building tightness standards. We have performed ventilation airflow, duct leakage and blower door tests in hundreds of homes and buildings including net zero veterans housing, residences at Smith College, a 42-unit affordable housing development and even a straw bale home!

The Center for Ecotechnology has continued to be the first stop for contractors looking to build a more efficient and cost-effective home or building. Our team of award-winning new construction experts offers a variety of green building services including HERS, RES Check, diagnostic testing, building science consultation and education services as well as Passive House and ENERGY STAR certifications. We also operate the largest used building materials store in New England, EcoBuilding Bargains, where contractors can begin the construction process more sustainably and cost-effectively by choosing reclaimed construction materials instead of buying brand new.

We are motivated by the increasing potential for energy and cost savings within the construction industry and strive to remain on the cutting edge of building science technology. For details and information about various projects we have worked on, view our case studies!  If you are a builder interested in CET’s New Construction services, visit our website or call us at 413-586-7350 x 242 or email us at greenhome@cetonline.org.  Stay updated on green construction news and information by subscribing to our monthly EcoBuilder newsletter!

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