Efficiency/Conservation News Posts

Seven Maine Businesses Receive REAP Grants for Energy Improvements
03/12/2017 - 4:16pm

USDA logo courtesy of USDAUSDA Rural Development Acting State Director Tommy R. Higgins announced on March 2, 2017 that seven Maine businesses have been selected to receive Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants totaling $77,500 for the purchase and installation of solar energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. Here is the list of recipients:

FEDCO Seeds, Inc.
Harpswell Freezers, LLC.
Power Gripps, USA, Inc.
Solar Center, LLC
Trippcrest Farm
Waldoboro Environmental Park, Inc.
Wilbur B. Bradbury, dba Bradbury Maple

Read what they are going to do with the money on the USDA’s Maine page.

USDA logo courtesy of USDA.

Brunswick Junior High Students Explore Energy Efficiency with Evergreen Home Performance
02/02/2016 - 3:34pm

Evergreen Energy Advisor Cree Krull prepares BJHS students for a blower door test. The bright red blower door has a calibrated fan that measures a building's air leakage image courtesy of Evergreen Home PerformanceBrunswick Junior High School 7th graders competed to see who could build the most energy efficient “home” last week, with some pretty surprising results. The structures started with cardboard from the cafeteria, and the insulation and air sealing options were limited to paper, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, blueboard, tape, and glue, but the improvements helped students connect the science of heat transfer to the real-life challenges of weatherizing Maine homes.

“The kids can unequivocally confirm that well-taped plastic wrap is great at reducing air leakage but not so great at stopping heat loss,” said Cree Krull, who led the activity and helped students test their structures with fans and infrared cameras. “And we can extend that observation to explain why homes need air sealing and insulation.”

Krull should know; as an energy advisor at Evergreen Home Performance, he uses the same tools to assess real homes for air and heat loss. “Using an infrared camera is pretty straightforward, so it makes sense to have kids work with the real thing,” said Krull. “Interpreting what you see and knowing what to do about it is what takes expertise.”

The BJHS students may not be ready for careers in energy efficiency yet, but they’re much more informed thanks to a month-long interdisciplinary project that highlights the science, economics, and politics of home weatherization and introduces students to the need for lower reliance on home heating oil and greater emphasis on energy efficiency.

“Weatherizing Maine’s old homes reduces our dependence on the fossil fuels used to heat them, which in turn reduces heating expenses and environmental impacts” said BHJS teacher Cris Lavigne. “When kids learn how weatherization works and how they can be a part of it, they make things better for their community. It’s a powerful service-learning opportunity.”

Students will share what they’ve learned by creating a bank of weatherization materials, along with instructions on how to use them, and using those weatherization materials to seal drafty spaces in their lives. In March, they will share the results of their learning at a community-wide event.

Photo and article courtesy of Evergreen Home Perfomance.

Maine National Guard Battalion Opens Solar Facility
11/25/2015 - 4:35pm

The readiness center of the Maine National Guard 133rd Engineering Battalion photo courtesy of Maine National GuardThe new, LEED Silver readiness center for the 133rd Engineering Battalion of the Maine National Guard at Brunswick Landing opened in September 2015. Following new National Guard regulations to build energy efficiency and renewable energy into all new projects, the $23.5 million building boasts 38 KW of solar capacity, geothermal heating wells, LED lighting and a living roof growing blueberries.

Read more about it in the Sun Journal.

E2Tech Hosts its First Expo Oct. 1
09/28/2015 - 9:45pm

Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine E2TechThe Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine (E2Tech) and its partners are pleased to host the inaugural E2Tech Expo on October 1, 2015. Events include keynotes from a Fortune 50 company and a venture capital firm; its first-ever “E2Tech Talks” on Maine’s local and global food movements; a high-level plenary panel on cleantech markets, technologies, and public policies; workshops on energy policy, workforce development & career connections, sustainability in the supply chain, and cluster development and seed funding; and dozens of tables featuring environmental and energy companies, products, services, and resources.

You may see the agenda and register here.

Legislature Overrides Veto to Help Restore Efficiency Maine Funding
07/01/2015 - 8:31pm

And image courtesy of Maine Association of Building Energy Professionals.L.D. 1215, the bill that restores the missing word "and" that was omitted from the 2014 Omnibus Energy Bill and reverses the ruling by the Public Utilities Commission to cut Efficiency Maine funding by $38 million, is now law.

On June 23, 2015, the governor vetoed the bill. First the House voted 144-0 to override the veto, then the Senate voted to do the same, 35-0. The Public Utilities Commission will be asked to reconsider its vote in light of the new legislation and set the funding level at the intended $60 million.

Read the full story in the Portland Press Herald.

Image credit: And image courtesy of Maine Association of Building Energy Professionals.