Lenox Solar Initiative: Launch Event Dec 6

The lenox unplugged campaign and the Town of Lenox’s Environmental Committee invite Berkshire County residents to the “Lenox Solar Initiative Launch Event” on Monday, December 6, 2010 from 6-8pm at the Lenox Town Hall Auditorium.  This exciting evening will celebrate the launch of the Lenox solar grant program offering $2000 to Lenox residents towards the installation of a solar project at their home or commercial building.  

The seminar will begin at 6pm with featured speaker Chris Vreeland.  Chris is a licensed professional engineer and principal of Precision Decisions LLC, a firm specializing energy conservation and renewable energy. 

The seminar will cover both solar hot water and solar electricity for residential and small commercial projects.  Attendees will learn the basics of what makes for a good solar site, the various components of a solar system, typical system and construction costs, available grants and incentives, and various project economics. Attendees are encouraged to bring a copy of their electric bill. 

Lenox residents will learn what the prerequisites are to receive a $2000 grant, and applications will be available during this evening’s event. Grants will be given first come-first serve to candidates who meet all criteria. 

The $2000 grant to Lenox residents is made possible through funding available based on Lenox’s designation as a “Green Community” with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  With this designation, Lenox has become eligible for significant funding for energy efficiency measures, large renewable energy projects, and innovative methods that use less fossil fuel. 

Several vendors will be on-site offering information and available services.  These businesses and organizations specialize in solar energy and renewable energy technology. Participants will go home with a toolbox of resources and information to help increase their energy efficiency, an application in hand, and clear next steps for moving forward.. Businesses participating in the fair include Alteris Renewables, Alpine Solar Heat, Berkshire Photovoltaic Services, Sun Energy, and the Center for Ecological Technology. 

Join us to celebrate the launch of the Lenox solar grant, success of the lenox unplugged campaign, and our on-going efforts as a “Green Community.”  Those in attendance are invited to enjoy drinks and snacks, with thanks to local grocers Price Chopper and Guido’s Fresh Marketplace.   More information can be found at the website www.townoflenox.com/lenoxunplugged


 For more information, please contact: Keith O’Neil, Sustainability Coordinator, Town of Lenox, 413 717 1945, lenoxunplugged@gmail.com.

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Wind study shows promise

Wind study shows promise

By Trevor Jones, Berkshire Eagle Staff

Updated: 10/19/2010 11:44:05 AM EDT


Tuesday October 19, 2010LENOX — Early returns from a wind study atop Lenox Mountain show velocities amenable to generating significant power, results that could lead to residents being asked next May to approve the construction of a wind turbine at the site.

The study began seven months ago through a $79,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the state authority for developing the clean energy sector. The research is being conducted with a sonar device measuring wind velocity on top of the mountain. The minimum standard for wind speeds meriting power-generating turbines is six meters per second, or approximately 14 mph. So far, wind levels at 50 feet above the mountain have measured 7.5 meters per second, and 7.9 meters per second at 80 meters above the mountain.

Town Manager Gregory Federspiel called the results “encouraging,” and said the next step will be a series of public forums beginning in January, which will relay the study’s findings and get public input on how to proceed.

A final report is expected to be completed by March, with other factors — access to the site, environmental impacts, connecting to the energy grid and financial feasibility — included in the analysis.

Outside of any major logistical roadblocks, Federspiel said, putting a wind turbine project out to bid could be up for a vote at May’s annual town meeting.

If the project were approved by voters, it could be the first publicly owned wind turbine

in the county, though there is potential for the involvement of a private vendor. The town’s municipal energy costs, Federspiel said, could be cut by more than $100,000 annually once the turbine becomes operational.This is not the first time the town has looked into wind power. In 2005, the Board of Selectmen voted against erecting a wind-testing tower on Lenox Mountain amid public concerns about the amount of tree clearing needed.

New technologies have allowed the town to go ahead with the current testing without removing any trees, though clearing would be required for a turbine — the tower of which could be as high as 80 feet tall.

Federspiel said improved turbine technologies will assuage some of the previous concerns of residents, including noise levels. He expects greater support due to growing interest in clean energy and familiarity with existing turbines around the county, though he also anticipates plenty of questions and an “energetic” debate before a final decision is made.

“There will be lots of opportunity for public debate and ultimately the voters will have the final say,” said Federspiel.

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William Moomaw and Mark Sylvia’s Presentations from our forums

William Moomaw’s presentation from lenox unplugged forum

Mark Sylvia’s Presentation, Lenox helps Massachusetts create a greener energy future

Late last month I posted Mark Sylvia’s presentation on the site for those who missed our forum on June 24.  Here again is Mark Sylvia’s presentation and now in addition we have Dr. William Moomaw’s presentation too.  I definitely recommend viewing Dr. Moomaw’s presentation if you haven’t seen it yet.  I will post these permanently ubder our about lenox unplugged page.

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if a pug can do it…thanks to Mary for this post idea!

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Energy Fair and Forum on CTSB

As you all know, we had our very successful Energy Fair and Forum at Town Hall on June 24th.  CTSB’s Government Channel 18 on Time Warner Cable, has agreed to broadcast the full forum in Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, Sheffiled, and Stockbridge.  The video shows speakers such as Mark Sylvia, the Director of the Green Communities Division at the Massachusetts Dept. of Natural Resources, and Dr. Bill Moomaw, the Professor of International Environmental Policy at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.  Bill Moomaw was an especially exciting presentation showing his net zero energy home that he and his wife built in Williamstown.

Here’s the schedule (in reverse chronological order):
+       Wed     07/21/10        08:00 PM        Channel 18
+       Wed     07/21/10        03:00 PM        Channel 18
+       Wed     07/21/10        11:00 AM        Channel 18
+       Wed     07/21/10        03:30 AM        Channel 18
+       Tue     07/20/10        05:30 PM        Channel 18
+       Tue     07/20/10        08:30 AM        Channel 18
+       Mon     07/19/10        03:00 PM        Channel 18
+       Sun     07/18/10        08:00 PM        Channel 18
+       Sun     07/18/10        08:30 AM        Channel 18
+       Sat     07/17/10        10:00 PM        Channel 18
+       Sat     07/17/10        01:30 PM        Channel 18
+       Sat     07/17/10        06:00 AM        Channel 18
+       Fri     07/16/10        05:30 PM        Channel 18
+       Fri     07/16/10        08:30 AM        Channel 18
+       Fri     07/16/10        01:00 AM        Channel 18
+       Thu     07/15/10        10:00 PM        Channel 18
+       Thu     07/15/10        05:10 PM        Channel 18

The program is about 1 hour and 48 minutes.  Please tune in about 5 minutes early, as to insure you do not miss the beginning if they are a little ahead of schedule.  Also, double check CTSB’s website, http://www.ctsbtv.org, in case of any last-minutes program changes.

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Increased Bird Deaths from Oil Spill

Although BP has claimed that the Gulf Coast Oil Spill has been stopped, there is still tons of damage to be dealt with.  Recent studies have shown that over 3,000 birds in the gulf have been either covered or killed by the oil.  Until now, the harm has seemed to be minimal, but seeing as a bird preserve was just hit by the spill, the numbers have increased greatly.  Off the Louisiana coast, hundreds of pelicans and terns have been found completely covered.  Also, Louisiana’s state bird, the brown pelican, was just taken off the endangered species list.  Now, things are looking even worse for its population.  Being covered by oil is so harmful because when birds preen or clean their feathers by picking at them with their beaks, they intake the oil.  Even a small amount that gets into their body can cause problems with their body temperature regulation.  After the report that 3,128 birds have been either killed or covered by oil, we need to realize that the immense damage goes well beyond just the actually spilling of the oil.

Our own Mass Audubon society at the Pleasant Valley Bird Sanctuary are extremely concerned about the situation.  They are doing everything they can to help, and so should you!  For more information on what they are doing, and for ways you can help, visit: http://www.massaudubon.org/news/index.php?id=1440&type=news.

Also, for the full article killed and covered birds from the BP oil spill, visit: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/07/3000-birds-killed-covered-oil-gulf.php

by Gillian Fisher, lenox unplugged Summer Intern

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Put solar on IT!

Most people have heard that in 1979 President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the roof of the White House.  A few years after the solar panels were installed Reagan came into office and had the panels take down.  Nowadays solar power is rapidly growing.  350.org and Sungevity have begun a new campaign designed to get President Obama to put the solar panels back on the roof of the White House and you can help.  The campaign is called PutSolarOnIt, and you can go to PutSolarOn.it to send a letter not only to our president but world leaders around the world.  You can send letters to President Hu Jintao asking him to put panels on the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, or to Prime Minister David Cameron, asking him to add them to the British Parliament.  This campaign is part of a bigger push started by 350.org towards its day of action on October 10, this day is a Global Work Party.  Lenox High School has taken part in a 350.org campaign already and this is a great way for other lenox residents to take part in a movement.  A movement to install the solar panels back onto the White House and let world leaders know that we encourage GOING GREEN!

by Katie Connell, lenox unplugged Summer Intern

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