AT CET, we believe that each of us has the power to make a difference. The need to tackle climate change and build a just and equitable transition to the low-carbon economy is more urgent than ever. We work with partners throughout the country to transform the way we live and work – for a better community, economy, and environment.
For more than 45 years, our innovative non-profit organization has offered practical solutions to save money, increase the health and comfort of our homes, and help businesses perform better.
WE MAKE GREEN MAKE SENSE
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Since 1976, the Center for EcoTechnology has helped lead the way to a more sustainable society through innovative pilot programs and production scale services. With our partners in the community and government and business, our collective efforts have transformed the way we live and work for a better community, economy and environment. Here is a sampling of some of our work together over the years:
1970s: Heightened awareness of the environment signified by first Earth Day, national environmental legislation (Clean Air and Clean Water acts, National Energy Act) and establishment of EPA; decade of oil crises and oil embargo.
1976 – CET Founded
1976 – CET was founded in Pittsfield, Massachusetts:
CET is one of the few environmental organizations of its kind across the country that was founded in the 1970s and still exists today in a similar form
Home Energy Audits
Pioneer in energy conservation including designing
and offering the first energy audits in homes:
This early work helped pave the way for today’s
award-winning statewide Mass Save program
Leader in renewable energy including first passive solar
greenhouse – at the Berkshire Botanical Garden.
Launched project SUEDE, a solar demonstration program that trained unemployed people in solar and energy conservation theory and carpentry, and installed 31 solar space heating systems in low-income households.
Conducted informational workshops on energy efficient design for new construction, solar hot water, wind energy, solar greenhouses,
solar retrofitting your home:
The technologies and programs change over time, but we are still
teaching people about them today
Developed Energy Detective curriculum for elementary schools.
1980s: High energy costs; increased interest in conservation; solar tax credits; decade of the garbage crisis.
Small Business Energy Program
Small business energy program provided some of the first energy assessments for businesses to identify opportunities to increase their energy efficiency.
Energy Circuit Rider
Energy Circuit Rider provided grant writing services to municipalities to apply for funding to install energy conservation measures.
Berkshire Training and Employment Program
BTEP – Berkshire Training and Employment Program – conducted
weatherization training for unemployed youth.
Energy Financing Programs
Energy financing programs for efficiency and renewable energy:
Solar Bank – administered 0% loan program that wrote down the principal and provide zero interest financing for residents to install solar hot water systems
Heat Loan program – helped administer one of the first financing programs to help residents install solar and energy efficiency improvements
Over the decades, the HEAT Loan and Solar Loan programs and others like them have helped millions of people across the country
Springfield Materials Recycling Facility
Expanded services to include waste management and recycling, including working with towns to pass mandatory recycling bylaws so they could join the local Springfield Materials Recycling Facility (MRF):
The Springfield MRF remains the only public-private
partnership like it in Massachusetts
Public Access Television
Conducted public education about do’s and don’ts of recycling at community meetings on public access television.
Conservation Law Foundation
Joined with the Conservation Law Foundation and other energy and environmental groups to file suit against utility companies to deliver
conservation and efficiency programs.
Regional Program Operators
Participated in network of Regional Program Operators to provide energy programs to communities of western Massachusetts:
These initial efforts and others like them helped pave the way for today’s statewide Green Communities Program and the development of sustainability volunteer committees and staff in many towns
Opened office in Northampton to better serve
four western Massachusetts counties.
CET Heating Oil Cooperative
Launched the CET Heating Oil Cooperative to provide fair pricing and quality service along with information about energy efficiency and
renewable energy programs and services:
CET eventually discontinued this program in favor of other
renewable energy products and services
1990s – Utility energy efficiency programs grew; federal solar tax incentives disappeared; electric restructuring occurred; municipal recycling grows
Pittsfield Business Recycling Cooperative
Launched the Pittsfield Business Recycling Cooperative in 1997
to collect office paper from small businesses:
Our efforts and others like it helped encourage private recycling haulers
and on-site shredding companies to enter the market.
Non-profit Energy Efficiency Program
Conducted Non-profit energy efficiency program which provided energy assessments and helped non-profits apply for funding to install measures.
Expanded Environmental Education Programming
Expanded environmental education programming including interactive videoconferences, first Berkshire Junior Solar Sprint, REAPS school recycling program, and Earth Stewards after school program.
Established the Materials Exchange – one of the first web-based
materials swap sites for businesses:
This was before E-Bay, Freecycle, Craig’s list and all the other
great online materials reuse platforms we have today
Conducted workshops on energy efficient lighting, do-it-yourself
window insulation and backyard composting.
Compost Bin Distribution Program
Created the first home compost bin distribution pilot program, which sold compost bins made of recycled plastic collected in Massachusetts:
This pilot was the catalyst for a future statewide equipment program for municipalities which still continues today
Climate Change and Renewable Energy Sessions
Conducted informational sessions about climate change and renewable energy.
Household Hazardous Waste
Organized Household Hazardous Waste collection days.
Commercial Food Waste Composting
Created first pilot programs for composting of food waste
from supermarkets and restaurants on farms.
Offered radon education and mitigation program.
Greylock Glen Development
Produced Sustainable Development blueprint for Town of
Adams and proposed Greylock Glen development.
2000s: Some increased public awareness about climate change; MA Global Warming Solutions Act and Green Communities Act enacted, MA became a national leader in investment in efficiency and renewable energy; Mass DEP expanded waste bans/recycling programs.
Leader in Building Consumer Awareness
CET became a Massachusetts leader in building consumer awareness, acceptance and demand for energy efficiency and renewable energy:
Helped address early barriers to adoption of PV in nonprofits and municipalities with multiple installations and collaborated on some of the first third-party ownership models
Convened the Berkshire Renewable Energy Collaborative
Provide informational workshops and public forums, recruited and promoted participants for annual Green Building Open House tour
Coordinated and conducted wind energy tours
In partnership with Green Energy Consumers Alliance, enrolled 1,500 households in New England GreenStart renewable electricity
Helped towns earn over $500,000 in matching funds and grants to implement local clean energy projects. This effort also helped fund some of the first sustainability staff positons in local government
Established Climate Action Circuit Rider services: Held “Greening Your Community” workshops for communities throughout western Massachusetts
Help municipal and citizen energy and climate action committees establish goals and strategies and conduct outreach. Today many communities have staff and/or volunteers that work with others in regional and state government
to perform this critical work
Helped communities achieve Green Community designation including
passing the stretch energy code
Expanded Role in Energy Efficiency
Expanded role in delivering residential and commercial energy efficiency:
Conducted energy assessments in thousands of households for
local gas and electric utility companies
Provided contractor arranging and air sealing and quality assurance to help homeowners implement energy saving measures. Eventually we and others were able to help develop the industry enough that air sealing could be
provided by local insulation contractors
Conducted energy assessments for hundreds of businesses and municipalities through utility and state funded programs
Launched and expanded High Performance Building services and offered ENERGY STAR for Homes and U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes programs
Created and launched some of the first energy efficiency
programs for multi-family buildings
EarthShare New England
Was a founding member of EarthShare New England, a federation of environmental and conservation organizations
Expanded Waste Management and Recycling Services
Expanded waste management and recycling services, including
composting and toxic use reduction:
Expanded paper recycling services to north Berkshire County;
began to offer document destruction/shredding
Helped residents reduce the use of toxic materials in and around their homes and educated residents and businesses about the toxic effects of
mercury on both human health and the environment
Developed and implemented a pilot effort to help western Massachusetts businesses recycle mercury-bearing fluorescent lamps
Started and expanded mercury reduction programs for waste-to-energy facilities including collection from medical facilities
Helped schools and businesses set up organics
collection and composting programs
Created and organized the first several annual Organic Waste Summits in Massachusetts for industry and government. This work helped pave the way for an eventual food waste disposal ban in Massachusetts and other states, and a national food waste reduction goal
Published some of the first wasted food diversion studies and toolkits, including “Building a Market-Based System for On-Farm Composting of Off-farm Food Waste,” and “Restaurant and School Food Waste Composting Toolkit”
Developed Greening Your Business services and workshops
ReStore Home Improvement Center
Opened ReStore Home Improvement Center
(now EcoBuilding Bargains) in Springfield in 2001:
This was one of the first stores of its kind in the country and helped change attitudes and styles regarding building materials reuse
Building Deconstruction Services
Launched pilot building deconstruction services:
A growing number of contractors now offer deconstruction services
Helped launch the AmeriCorps*VISTA Recycle for Gold program and
host a total of 25 members over many years.
Services for Farms
Provided information and technical services for farms to reduce costs through energy efficiency and increase their use of renewable energy:
Conducted Energy and Small Farm Sustainability Project with funding from Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE) grant
Conducted on-farm tours to highlight examples of energy efficient lighting, refrigeration, and milking equipment and renewable energy for water pumping, irrigation, and other electrical needs
Conducted methane digestion information session and facilitated feasibility study for anaerobic digestion to produce electricity at two area farms
Installed solar PV to power refrigeration and irrigation at farms with funding from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and U.S. Department of Energy
2010-present: Growing awareness of climate change; state energy goals skyrocket; wasted food becomes a major regional and national issue; upcycling becomes stylish; CET undergoes a statewide and regional expansion
EcoBuilding Bargains Expanded
EcoBuilding Bargains expanded to a much larger facility to become the largest store of its type in New England.
New Location Transformed
A deep energy retrofit of the new location transformed the 100-year old structure into a high performance green building with a public classroom.
Building Science Training
Expanded role in building science training and curriculum development:
Educated building inspectors and professionals about the State’s energy code and residential green building programs in order to increase energy
efficiency in new construction
Developed and taught Pathways out of Poverty job training classes
Produced MassGreen Curriculum for statewide community college use
Expansion Residential Efficiency Programs
Expansion of residential energy efficiency programs
offerings and production levels.
Weatherization Boot Camp
Co-operate statewide Weatherization Boot Camp to expand the number and experience of home weatherization contractors.
RecyclingWorks MA Launched
Award-winning statewide RecyclingWorks MA program launched and expanded.
Mass Farm Energy Program
Statewide Mass Farm Energy Program expanded to help farms with energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
Green Team Program
Green Team statewide school waste reduction educational program expanded.
CET EcoFellowship Launched
CET EcoFellowship launched to help develop tomorrow’s environmental leaders:
Our EcoFellows have gone on to positions of increasing responsibility at CET, The Union of Concerned Scientists, CERES, NESEA, Smith College,
Boeing, Schneider Electric and more
Commercial Programs Expanded
Commercial and small business energy efficiency programs expanded statewide.
Mercury Reduction Programs
Started and expanded mercury reduction programs for the thermostat industry throughout the Northeast and beyond.
Developed plans for a community solar pilot project.
Goal Setting and Tracking
Began mission impact goal setting and tracking including carbon reduction impact to address climate change.
Launched Wasted Food Solutions
Launched Wasted Food Solutions service and regional/national expansion of wasted food efforts.
Boston Zero Waste and Harvard Food Waste Ban
Co-created Boston Zero Waste Plan and Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic Food Waste Ban Toolkit.
Solar Access Program
Launched Solar Access pilot program for middle income homes.
Healthy Homes Program
Launched Healthy Homes pilot program for asthma and COPD patients.
Solar Hot Water Program
Created and implemented commercial Solar Hot Water statewide pilot program.
Passive House and Zero Energy
Added Passive House and Zero Energy approaches to
High Performance Building services.
High Performance Multifamily Projects
Served a growing number of high performance affordable multifamily new construction projects.
Deconstructing DeconstructionMarch 28 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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