2013 Local Food Brochure Available

North Quabbin Energy’s 2013 “Fresh & Local Food Guide” is now available.

The listing highlights local farms and food producers in the North Quabbin towns (Athol, New Salem, Orange, Petersham, Phillipston, Royalston, Warwick, and Wendell) and neighboring Barre and Shutesbury.  Foods grown locally include fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, flowers, eggs, dairy products, mushrooms, and herbs.  The brochure also lists area specialties plus non-food and “value-added” products like honey, maple syrup, local cheeses, bakery goods, hay, compost, wool and fleece, and imported fair-trade coffee.  Look for information about area farmers markets, festivals, the local food co-op, “Community Supported Agriculture” (CSA) farms, and more.

Eating locally is an energy-related issue because the food industry in the U.S. is based on energy-intensive modes of farming, processing, shipping, and storing food.  Produce and other foods are typically shipped over hundreds of miles from the source to the consumer, adding to the “carbon footprint” of products that are usually grown with petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides.  Buying closer to local sources not only reduces the energy required to grow and ship food,  but helps support area farmers and food producers who are working to strengthen more sustainable regional food systems.

Printed brochures are available at town libraries in the region as well as locations, including farms and businesses, listed in the brochure.  For an online PDF version of the brochure click 2013 North Quabbin Fresh and Local Food.




2013 Garlic and Arts Festival

Check out these Presentations at the 2013 Garlic and Arts Festival

Click on the Garlic & Arts 2013 tab at the top of this page to see the current line up of workshops that will be taking place in the Energy Tent at the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival on October 5-6, 2013.  Janice and Steve Kurkoski from North Quabbin Energy work with the Garlic and Arts Festival Committee each year to find presenters for six to eight exciting workshops dealing with energy related topics.  For more information about the 15th Annual Festival go to www.garlicandarts.org

Other Happenings in North Quabbin Region

  •  Starrett Hydropower Plant Begins Operation —  The Starrett Company in Athol is now able to generate about 20% of the electricity the plant uses from its hydropower plant on the Millers River.  This project has been in the works since 2006.  The new turbine was installed in 2008.  The project has two power houses, one with an older turbine that has operated since the early 1900s and now the new turbine.  Operation of the hydropower plant started on April 2, 2013.
  • Solar Farms in Athol and Orange Under Construction — Three large solar farms are now under construction with a fourth project already on line.  The Adams Farm project in Athol is continuing construction.  In Orange, Soltas is constructing the Hunt’s Farm project (off Rte. 202) and EPG is finishing construction of a project behind the Orange Police Station (on land owned by Steve Canning, a local electrician).  The CTC project in Orange is already operating.  All these projects are between two and three MWs and tie into the National Grid infra-structure.

Other things of Interest

  • Electricity Use — Check out our Conservation page under “Getting Started” for charts on electricity use and a proposed incentive program for electricity customers as proposed by North Quabbin Energy members.
  • 350.org —  
    Click on “Do the Math: A Movie” to watch this 45 minute film.
    Join the Movement at http://www.350.org   Do the Math: A Movie to Spark a Movement.  The fossil fuel industry is killing us.  Watch the film to see how….
    Youtube added on 4/21/13 (41,207 views)

New Green Communities

Petersham and Wendell Earn Clean Energy Leadership Status in the Sixth Round of Green Community Designations

Town Energy Committees in both Petersham and Wendell worked to meet five clean energy criteria and write up a 20% energy reduction plan for their town buildings.  In Petersham Linda Paquet provided the leadership for writing the Green Community proposal.   In Wendell, Nan Riebschlaeger and the town energy committee provided leadership for writing the proposal.  Both these communities must now work to implement projects to reduce their energy use in town buildings.  Petersham is now eligible for $138,425 to implement projects.  Wendell is eligible for $138,125.  Both towns will be working with the MA Department of Energy Resources in the coming months in order to receive money for their town.

Grants for the communities designated today will be funded by Alternative Compliance Payments (ACP) made by electricity suppliers who don’t meet their statutory Renewable Portfolio Standard obligation to purchase a sufficient percentage of renewable energy. Green Communities grants also receive funding from proceeds of carbon allowance auctions under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  There are 110 communities in Massachusetts with Green Community Designation now.

Other towns in the North Quabbin area continue to work on reducing their energy use in town buildings.  Athol, Barre, and New Salem also have Green Community Designation with grants to help them reduce energy consumption in town buildings.   Although Orange does not have Green Community Designation, the Orange Selectboard recently signed an agreement with Borrego Solar for the construction of a PV system on the capped landfill.

Work continues on reducing energy use in town buildings through the work of town energy committees in Athol, Barre,  New Salem,  Orange,  Petersham, Royalston, Warwick and Wendell.  Check out the pull down menu above for town committees to see some updates.


“Deep Energy Retrofit” results at Kurkoski Residence in Warwick

It’s Payback time!

The first winter spent in our “new” house is almost over, and we have some exciting numbers. Besides being very comfortable and warm, we didn’t miss stoking the old wood boiler at all, and the little Fujitsu air-source heat pump did a stellar job heating the house, even in sub-zero temperatures. By the time the winter is really over, we figure we will have used about $200 worth of electricity to provide heat, hot water, and ventilation from Oct – April. That’s not per month – that’s for the entire winter!

On top of that we use about $15/month for the usual lights, fridge, computer, TV, well pump, etc. We hope that the output of our 2.4kw solar system will cover all of our needs.

How did we do it? Through National Grid’s “Deep Energy Retrofit”pilot program, and with technical support from Building Science Inc. The roof, walls and basement were thoroughly air sealed and super-insulated, the windows and doors replaced, and the oil and wood boilers removed. A heat recovery ventilation system now provides fresh air, an air-source heat pump provides heating & cooling, and a future solar thermal system will give us hot water (currently electric) and supplemental heating.

National Grid’s Deep Energy Retrofit Measures for 2013 are now available for homes in National Grid’s electric and/or gas territories in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. National Grid Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) measures upgrade roofs, exterior walls, and basements in existing homes to perform significantly better than current code-compliant new homes. The 2013 DER measures are “Roof-Only”, “Wall-Only”, and “Basement-Only” in order to align with re-roofing, re-siding, and basement fit-out home maintenance upgrades. Projects may pursue multiple DER measures at the same time.

 The base incentive for Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) measures are:
  • Roof/Attic DER Measure – $3.00 per square foot of treated area
  • Exterior Wall DER Measure – $3.50 per square foot of treated area
  • Basement DER Measure – $2.00 per square foot of treated area

The performance incentive for all DER Measures is $1.75 per cubic feet per minute (CFM50) reduced based on pre-construction and post-construction blowerdoor tests performed by National Grid.

 All allowable DER roof, wall, and basement designs are included in the new “Deep Energy Retrofit Builder’s Guide” created by Building Science Corporation.
Visit https://www1.nationalgridus.com/DeepEnergyRetrofit-MA-RES for more info and to download the excellent Builder’s Guide mentioned above.

A special “Thank You” goes to Hamshaw Lumber, FastenMaster, and our builders Bick Corsa and Chris Martin. You can still see the house before the “finish” goes on…come on by! Deep Energy Retrofit

Home of Steve and Janice after Energy Retrofit Work – 2012