April 8, 2009 meeting

April 8, 2009
Millers River Environmental Center
Attending: Brian Nugent, Tom Rich, Cara Cleveland, Janice Kurkoski, Jane Manring, Linda Paquet, Pat Larson, Cathy Stanton, Donna Caisse

Potluck supper at 6 p.m.

Announcements:
• April 19, 1-4 p.m. – Climate Leadership Workshop at Smith College with Philip Rice from the Sustainability Institute
• April 30, 10-11:30 a.m. at Greenfield Community College downtown campus – Conservation and green energy grants for both public and private sector
• May 1-2 at UMass Amherst – Sustainable Energy Summit – Brian will be demonstrating winserts in exhibit hall on Saturday – Pre-registration is until April 10 – All-day workshops on Friday on various topics
• May 7, 6:30 p.m. – Free seminar on home energy saving at Athol Town Hall, focusing on insulation – Mass. Municipal Assn. speaker
• May 16, 10-2 at Elks Club in Orange – Family Fun Day – Orange energy committee will have a table
• Ribbon-cutting for wind turbine at Red Apple Farm – 3rd Thursday in June – We are invited to be part of event – we will decide at next meeting what to do/give out.

Energy Expo de-brief:
• Pat wrote up a detailed report about the Energy Expo listing what we did, etc., for use in planning next year. Some highlights:
• Attendance was much lower, probably because of the very nice weather – about 900 people (down from 1,500 last year).
• Generally worth doing and we are interested in doing it again.
• Pat has delivered door prizes to winners.
• The talks were not well attended and we probably won’t do them next year.
• We had too many recycling barrels – need to have just one station for all recycling – also need to talk to vendors earlier/more thoroughly to get message out about composting/recycling
• We ended up with 12 “green” vendors in the hallway, as well as some vendors in the gym who sold energy-related products. The vendors seemed pretty happy despite low attendance.
• The winsert demos went well. Brian reported that he was about as busy as last year.
• According to the pledge slips we handed out, most people are focusing on lights (CFLs and turning off unused lights) for their energy conservation efforts. People are also buying energy efficient appliances, lowering heat/water temperatures, and having energy audits.

“Biomass 101” presentation in Greenfield
Janice and Steve went to this event, which was sponsored by Greening Greenfield. Pioneer Renewable Energy (Madera Co.) is planning to build a 47 megawatt plant and has applied for a MEPA permit. Steve and Janice reported that there is some real tension in community around building of very large biomass plants to generate electricity. Bruce Spencer would like NQE to make a statement opposing this; the public comment period is until April 14. Janice reported the figures that about 79-80% efficiency can be achieved when using biomass to produce heat, but using biomass solely to make electricity reaches, at best, 34%. Various projects like this are in the works, and they are being promoted as green, home-grown energy, which may be very misleading. Many groups are opposing these plans, including the Massachusetts Forest Products Association (see their press release on logging of state forests for “dirty biomass” projects), and RISI, an information provider for the global forestry industry. Bruce will draft a letter, with input from others, expressing North Quabbin Energy’s concern about the proposed Greenfield plant. We may try to do a panel discussion about this issue at the Garlic Festival.

Winserts
With the remaining money in our New England Grassroots Environmental Fund grant, we will print more manuals, purchase DVDs of the workshop from AOTV, and buy winsert supplies for other groups to use (including Manny King’s youth group at the YMCA). Brian will talk to MREC about when and where to store their winserts, now that heating season is coming to a close. We don’t need to do a final report on the grant until September.

Odds and ends
• Janice asked us to be thinking about good speakers for the Garlic and Arts festival.
• Karen Powers at Green Market Farm has expressed interest in helping us distribute our local food brochure. NQE will reimburse Linda $45 for printing the brochure.
CET is doing a “Take Charge” campaign, with a brochure similar to the one we produced for this year’s Home Show. When we reprint ours, we will perhaps make it part of this larger campaign.
• Jane attended the Green Economy Task Force quarterly meeting. The group was revising its mission statement again. Manny reported on the winsert project at the YMCA/Valuing Our Children.

Next meeting
May 9, 5 p.m. potluck and tour of masonry heater/solar thermal system at Linda Paquet’s house. Those interested should RSVP and receive directions via email or phone.

Back to North Quabbin Energy home.

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