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Oct 3: Montague Green Building Open house Tour

Saturday, October 3rd, Montague green neighbors will open their doors as part of the NESEA) Green Buildings Open House tour – (Map and Directions inside)

Montague, MA – September 21, 2009 – Montague homeowners and town building managers are excited about how they are saving on fuel and electric bills as a result of the efficiency and renewable energy systems they have implemented.

On Saturday, October 3rd, these green neighbors will open their doors as part of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association’s (NESEA) Green Buildings Open House tour and the American Solar Energy Society’s National Solar Tour. Tours are self-guided and maps, descriptions, and open hours (which vary from place to place) of the Montague Center, Montague City and Turners Falls host sites are on NESEA’s Green Buildings Open House webpages at www.Nesea.org.

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Here is a taste of what you can see on the tour:
Last winter, my neighbors, Cheryl Sadler-Twyon and John Twyon, at 23 Union Street in Montague Center, had an electric air source heat pump installed that heated their home in the winter and efficiently cooled their home in this summer. After comfortably getting through a cold winter only using the heat pump, they’ve since disconnected and removed their oil heater, which they were keeping as a backup heat source. The heat pump, which sits outside, is roughly the size of a compressor for a central air conditioner. Before installing the heat pump, they had cellulose insulation blown into the walls and attic and air leaks sealed.

Jack Nelson and Eileen Dowd of Turners Falls own a three-story brick building built to house a factory and paper mill workers in late 1800s. The building over looks the canal. They’ve converted the building into a living and work space. The building features efficient geothermal heating and cooling.

Franklin County Technical School has just finished a complete replacement of its heating and cooling system with the primary objective of reducing energy consumption by 35 to 40%. This goal has been achieved. Their green features include a solar hot water system, complete sealing of the building envelope, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, and a sun-tracking photovoltaic array. The school has invested in a large quantity of photovoltaic and solar thermal training equipment for their students and continues to modify and update its curriculum to prepare students for their future as installers and maintenance technicians working with renewable energy systems. They expect to have students leading tours of their school.

Ted and Alice Armen’s Montague Center home was built in 1846 and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. They have an attractive blend of old and new, adding 3 solar hot water panels and a 4.7-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system to their roof. According to Ted, “We were able to take advantage of the state rebate program. This required an energy audit. As a result of the audit recommendations, we bought a new, efficient fridge. We already had efficient light bulbs. The audit also led to additional insulation and air sealing in the house.” The Armens installed solar hot water first to avoid the costly use of their boiler to heat water throughout the year. “It was pretty clear before hand that the payback is so rapid. Depending on the price of oil, it’s going to be between two and five years.” With their new PV panels, their electric bills this summer have typically been under $10.

The Montague Energy Committee is promoting the energy efficient and renewable energy features of our town’s many green homes and buildings on this tour. Look for fliers about this event at the Carnegie, Lake Pleasant and Millers Falls libraries, the Montague Center post office, Mini Mart and Bookmill, along with a MontagueMA.net “Montague-Palooza” calendar listing and a public service announcement on MCTV. The fliers will include maps showing where Montague’s green buildings are located for easy biking or parking and walking to open houses in our neighborhoods. You’ll also start to see NESEA Green Buildings Open House signs posted at host sites around town.

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