How sustainable is NESEA?
We are walking our talk at our office building in Greenfield, MA, with a multiyear program of upgrades. For 2012, a new committee, Friends of 50 Miles, is examining the role of the building in our strategic plan. After holding a design charette early in the year, the committee has begun to recommend next steps for the building and engage the NESEA community in implementing them.
For 2012, 3 kW of solar power
For 2012, we upgraded our solar array courtesy of sponsor Renewable Sales.
In addition to donating a new array of a dozen 250-watt American Choice PV panels, Renewable Sales has supplied NESEA with a Solectria PV13000 inverter and a Wattmetrics web monitoring system.
High-efficiency lighting, of course
In 2008, we replaced all lighting throughout the building with high efficiency ballasts and fluorescents.
Cogeneration: we tried
In 2008, we were all set to install a Honda Hydronic Freewatt cogeneration system. It would have enabled our heating system to generate electricity when the building was heated. Unfortunately, our plans were blocked by the local utility, which said the system would generate too much power—and thereby interfere with the utility’s switching systems on the circular grid in place in downtown Greenfield.
In 2007, renovations included the use of low-VOC paints and flooring with a high recycled content, laid with nontoxic adhesives.
High-efficiency space heating
In 2006, we replaced our thirty-year-old boiler with a high-efficiency, low-temperature Peerless gas boiler to run the building’s hydronic heating system.
Telecommuting and carpooling
We have a liberal telecommuting policy for our staff, most of whom save some fossil fuel by working from home one day a week. There are informal carpooling arrangements too.
Little everyday practices that add up
Our printer prints two-sided. We recycle paper in the fax machine. We compost. And everyone on the staff brings their own hand towel to the office. When visitors to the office use the restroom, they can’t miss the row of hooks near the sink, each with a towel and a name.