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improve the environmental profile of economic activity in Western Mass

Past Green Nights


January 10, 2018 – Energy Efficiency Incentives for Massachusetts Residents, Businesses, and Cities

Mark Tajima and Tom Rossmassler of Energia in Holyoke, MA led a conversation and Q&A session about the latest and greatest energy efficiency incentives available to western Massachusetts residents, businesses, and cities.

Mass Save Offers & Rebates

Special Limited Time Offer on Home Insulation

Electric Heating and Cooling Equipment

Early Heating and Cooling Equipment Replacement

Mass Save® HEAT Loan

No-Cost Energy Assessments

Mass Clean Energy Center

Clean Heating and Cooling Programs


Gas Networks Home Heating System Rebates

Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust


December 13, 2017 – About HeatSmart Northampton: A Community Program Bringing the Option of Heat Pumps to Homes

Chris Mason, Northampton’s Energy & Sustainability Officer, led this conversation on ways to increase the market share of cold climate air source heat pumps, one of the most efficient ways to heat and cool your home or business. The conversation included a report by Chris on Northampton’s HeatSmart program (a Solarize-type program for air source heat pumps) that is running from September 2017 to the end of January 2018; and an overview of Northampton’s work to use public information on Northampton’s residential building stock and infrared scans of Northampton’s single family homes to identify micro-target messages to promote clean energy and energy efficient home improvements. Click here to learn more about air source heat pumps from the City of Northampton.

November 8, 2017 – Nicaragua’s Transition to Renewable Energy
WMGC board member, Eric Fedus, took us outside of our national bubble for an hour to see what the global renewable energy transition looks like in Nicaragua. Here in the US, Nicaragua still often evokes an image of an impoverished nation forever caught in a 1980s civil war. Yet, changes across the developing world have been astounding in just the last couple decades and have touched Nicaragua as well. Eric brings his own personal experience having worked for a non-profit in Nicaragua in the early 2000’s as well as the experiences of his Nicaraguan friends and colleagues who now play roles in government, non-profits and solar companies that are helping to bring the renewable energy revolution to Nicaragua, panel by panel.
Sponsor: Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee

October 11, 2017 – Making “Solar for All” a Reality
Approximately 85% of Massachusetts households either do not have a viable rooftop for solar or are financially unable to install solar panels on their own property. In Westhampton, Clarksburg, Hinsdale, Pittsfield, Cloverdale, Holliston, and other locations across Massachusetts, community shared solar installations are, or will soon provide those previously unservable households with access to solar power. Malcolm Bliss, C.E.O at Co-op Power, discussed some of the benefits of community shared solar that include the following:
– No need for upfront investment
– Savings on electricity from day one
– Minimal buyer qualifications, an easy engagement process
– Special incentives for low- and moderate-income households.
Sponsor: Climate Action Now

September 13, 2017 – Selling Comfort, Health and Safety to Homeowners: What’s the Business Model?
This presentation touched on the issues affecting healthy homes, the role of the contractor in providing healthy home assessments, and how these assessments can help grow and expand contractor businesses. BPI is on the cutting edge of home performance with their new Healthy Homes Examiner HHE certification and presented and explained why healthy homes is a gigantic new business opportunity for everyone in the home performance field and critical to making our environment more healthy. This was also the first WMGC Green Night event that is offering BPI continuing education units (CEU’s) at one of our events.
Sponsor: Energia, LLC

July 12, 2017 – Get Charged Up about Electric Vehicles
Massachusetts has been overseeing the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations throughout the state. The goal is to encourage the use of zero emission vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions from the transportation sector. Stephen Russell provided an overview of electric vehicles and where and how to charge them and some items to consider before installing charging stations. He talked about the EV rebate program available to MA consumers who purchase or lease electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles and described the Mass Drive Clean campaign. Then, Ann-Renée Larouche will shared her personal experience as an EV driver, addressing many of the topics of potential interest to attendees contemplating going electric. She will also provided an overview of the Low-Income EV Program being launched by Community Action.
Sponsor: Burke Chevrolet

June 14, 2017 – We Really Can Create a Sustainable World
Dr. Ellen Moyer is an environmental consultant and registered professional engineer with a BA in anthropology, MS in environmental engineering, and PhD in civil engineering. She is also a US Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional who remediates contaminated soil and groundwater and develops sustainable solutions and practices to promote environmental and human health. Her third book, Our Earth, Our Species, Our Selves: How to Thrive While Creating a Sustainable World, came out in December 2016 and quickly became Amazon’s #1 “Hot New Release” in the categories of Green Business, Nature Conservation, and Environmentalism. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Right now may be the most exciting, dangerous, and important time to be alive in all of human history. Specific actions you and I can take now will help us and our world thrive, starting immediately.
Sponsor: Get There On Our Own

May 10, 2017 – GCC’s Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Program: Internships Enhance Local Businesses
GCC has significantly contributed to Massachusetts’ national prominence in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and our interns are often on the forefront of these fields. Student interns have contributed to such forward-looking developments as manufacturing recycled vegetable oil fuel, assessing the energy performance of our regional building stock, increasing outreach to businesses and volunteers for our local low-income housing franchise, and designing and installing solar arrays. Teresa Jones, GCC’s RE/EE Program Director, Beth Paulson, Adjunct Faculty for the RE/EE Program, and Christine Copeland, GCC’s Internship Coordinator guru, updated us on GCC’s accomplishments and describe how other businesses can get involved.
Sponsor: Greenfield Community College

April 12, 2017 – Energy Storage – Beyond Batteries
Ben Weil, Extension Asst. Professor of Building Energy at UMass Amherst says 100% renewable energy is possible! But to get there we have to deal with the realities of a brittle electrical grid, when the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. How can buildings, and especially housing, be part of the solution instead of part of the problem? How do we provide heating using renewable electricity without further straining the grid or increasing reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels for power generation? Because of the instantaneous nature of the electricity generation and use, net-zero energy buildings are not sufficient. Because batteries are still expensive and relatively inefficient, they are part of the solution, but can’t balance the grid. Thermal energy storage, district energy, and low-temperature hydronics can make housing a critical component in an energy arbitrage system that balances the grid, makes a profit, and could supply affordable housing with extremely low space conditioning costs and 100% renewable energy.
Sponsor: Northeast Solar

March 8, 2017 – Repurposing, Refurbishing and Restoring – The Wellspring Cooperative
Emily Kawano, co-director of The Wellspring Cooperative, as well as Gary Roby and Pam Howland discussed The Wellspring network that includes three businesses, with more in the pipeline: Wellspring Upholstery Cooperative, the Old Window Workshop and Wellspring Harvest, a hydroponic urban greenhouse that broke ground in March. A primary goal of Wellspring is creating decent jobs in democratically run businesses with asset building opportunities, as well as supporting sustainability and saving tons of waste from being added to our landfills.
Sponsor: Jobs with Justice

February 8, 2017 – Offshore Wind Energy: A New Frontier for Massachusetts
Dr. Jim Manwell, Director of UMASS Wind Energy Center updated us on this burgeoning renewable energy source in New England.
Sponsor: Associated Energy Developers

January 11 – Roger Sorkin presented his film “The Burden,” the story of fossil fuel dependence as our greatest long-term national security threat.
“The Burden” tells the story of fossil fuel dependence as our greatest long-term national security threat, and why the military is leading the transition to clean energy. The film is the centerpiece of a strategic media engagement campaign to inspire a movement that strengthens our energy security and harnesses the power of American innovation to make us leaders in the 21st century global clean energy economy.
Click here to watch a 2-minute trailer of the film–really amazing!
Sponsor: The Sandri Companies


December 14 – Grass Fed Beef, Health and Carbon Capture in New England
Ridge Shinn of Big Picture Beef presented his innovative plan for creating large “finishing farms” that will provide local facilities for small farmers to send their grass-fed beef cattle to be fattened entirely on grass, eliminating the need to ship cattle to the Mid-west to be fattened on grain. He also outlined the human and animal health benefits of raising beef cattle on a 100% grass diet, and the sustainability benefits of growing deep-rooted, prairie-like grasses.
Sponsor: River Valley Co-op which carries Hardwick Beef, a grass-fed beef organization co-founded by Ridge Shinn.

November 9 – Solar Hot Water – Overlooked Potential for Carbon Reduction
Spartan Giordano, who runs Spartan Solar, a full service solar hot water company in Greenfield, MA, and also installs mini-splits and heat pump hot water heaters. Blogging at:
Sponsor: Stiebel Eltron

September 14 – State Senator Benjamin Downing
Senator Downing shared his thoughts about his work on energy issues in the State Senate and more.
State Senator Benjamin Downing, Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy in the Massachusetts Legislature
Sponsor: SJP Environmental Consulting, LLC

August – Yearly hiatus

July 13 – Village Hill Co-housing project
Mary Kraus of Kraus Fitch Architects, led us through a look at this newest co-housing community. We will learn more about how co-housing contributes effectively to both community life and the environment.
Mary Kraus, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

June 8 – Dance Party!
BLEST ENERGY brought some great dance-able environmental hip hop with a soul for our annual fundraiser.
Sponsor: Energia

May 11 – Wasting Food Is not Sustainable!
Panelists from the Center for EcoTechnology’s Recycling Works program, UMASS, commercial composter Martin’s Farm and food producers.
Sponsor: Center for EcoTechnology

April 13 – Advancing Sustainability and Resilience—and Growing the Economy in the Process
Alex Wilson, founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. in Brattleboro, Vermont and president of the Resilient Design Institute.
Sponsor: UMASS Clean Energy Extension

March 9 – Speed Networking!
Green Night attracts a great mix of people interested in sharing and learning from each other about green building and sustainability topics.
Facilitators: Andrew Baker and Mark Tajima, President of WMGC and Board Member respectively
Sponsor: Leader Home Center

February 10 – How Did Seven GREEN COMMUNITIES Do It?
Ben Weil, Extension Asst. Professor of Building Energy at UMass Amherst (
Lauren Mattison, Research Fellow in the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Clean Energy Extension at UMass Amherst
Jim Barry, Western Mass Regional Coordinator, for the Department of Energy Resources, Green Communities Division
Sponsor: Greater Good Energy Solutions

January 13 – What’s the ‘Climate Reality’ talk and post-Paris walk?
Darren Port, of Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) and a member of the WMGC Advisory Board, shared what he learned at Climate Reality Project leadership training in December, 2015, in Miami relative to the road ahead from the Paris Climate Talks.
Sponsor: Energia


Dec. 9 – Green Bank & Commercial PACE in MA
Representative Paul Mark, MA House of Representatives
Sponsor: Victory Energy Solutions

Nov. 11 – Solarize Mass: How It’s Working
Stephanie Ciccarelli, Town of Amherst Sustainability Coordinator; Carol Collins, Town of Greenfield Director of Energy and Sustainability discuss their implementations of the Solarize Mass program in their towns.
Solar Tech Minute: Community Solar by Isaac Baker of Co-op Power
Sponsor: NorthEast Solar

Oct. 14 – Healthy Building Network
Bill Walsh, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Healthy Building Network

Sept 9 – What is An Affordable Retrofit?
Panelists: Sean Jeffords, Beyond Green Construction; Kent Hicks, Kent Hicks Construction Co. Inc.; Jamie Callan and Adin Maynard, HIS & HERS Energy Efficiency
Sponsor: Energia

July 8 – The Orange Food Coop (Quabbin Harvest) Energy Efficiency Story
Panelists: Karl Bittenbender, Janice Kurkosky, Ben Weil
Sponsor: Energia

June 10 – Green Building Codes
Darren Port, Building Energy Code Manager for Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP)
Sponsor: Beyond Green Construction

May 13 – Bicycling as Transportation
Eli Damon, Cycling Savvy; Peter Talmage, ELF Owner and long time bicycle commuter; Wayne Feiden, City of Noho Sustainability, Pedal People; Alden Booth, Owner The People’s Pint
Sponsor: The People’s Pint

April 8 – Vermont’s Building Science Center for Excellence
Peter Yost, VP of Technical Services at and Guy Payne, Executive Director of Sustainable Energy Outreach Network (SEON)
Sponsor: Menck Windows

March 11 – Integrating Site Design and Building Design
Beth Paulson, Building Analyst, Ecological Landscape Designer, Teacher at Greenfield Community College (Sustainability Program) and Boston Architectural College
Sponsor: Regenerative Design Group

February 11 – South Congregational Church’s Path to Net Zero
A case study of energy stewardship in a religious community, by Steven Jones. Check out their solar production and sustainability video at the bottom of the home page.
Sponsor: Live Well Home Improvement

January 14 – Women in Sustainable Construction
Jacqueline Cooke, Regional Administrator, U.S. Department of Labor
Sponsor: Quigley Builders