Archive for June, 2010

Green Awakening – Quantifying Sustainability Introduces Practices Far Beyond Recycling

Monday, June 28th, 2010


Cape Elizabeth, Maine - Solar

Paul Farrow’s 6.6kW solar electric system installed on the roof of his home.

Paul Farrow, a ReVision Energy customer is retired but still does consulting to help businesses save money by, “going green.”

“The idea that sustainability encompasses every decision a business makes, from wellness programs to employee benefits, is gaining traction, according to Paul Farrow, former CEO of Belfast’s Moss Inc. and now a consultant on sustainability practices for a large private equity firm.
Farrow, also a MBS board member, warns Maine companies to ignore the movement toward sustainability at their own risk. The conventional wisdom that sustainable business practices drive up costs and are embraced only by businesses that see it as “a cool thing” and have the money to spend is wrong, he says. It’s become a matter of remaining competitive.

Businesses embracing sustainable business practices are still the minority, Farrow says. But some of the most powerful businesses in the world are already moving in that direction, he says. “If anybody asks me, ‘What could Maine businesses do in a sustainability sense to be as powerful as they could be,’ I’d say, ‘Go study the supply-chain initiatives of big companies,'” he says. “Start with Wal-Mart.”

Last October, Wal-Mart completed the first phase of a new sustainability initiative. It had its top suppliers complete a 15-question survey on their sustainability efforts. The initiative has already yielded cost savings for Wal-Mart and its suppliers, Farrow says, and forced a shift toward sustainability among companies that want to continue supplying products to the world’s largest retailer. Small businesses in Maine may not have the power to force a sea change within the business world, but they certainly want to be able to operate in supply chains like that, Farrow says. “We better be conversant in those terms because our competitors will be,” he says. “Those who say they can’t afford it or it’s too complicated will be left behind.”

A sustainable company may also see a competitive advantage when it comes to recruiting talent, Carey says. At Eaton Peabody, Brown believes its sustainability initiatives — the alternative transportation program and focus on energy conservation — will give it an edge when it comes to hiring the next generation. “We find that each generation weighs those types of things more and more when considering where they want to work,” she says.

As companies adopt sustainable business practices, those fundamental values enter a company’s culture, Farrow says, leading it to gravitate toward suppliers and other businesses that share the same practices and attracting employees with similar values. “Once you start aligning values, employees there for the paycheck and not interested in fulfilling a bigger mission either get driven to improve because they start to believe in what the company is doing or they get driven out,” Farrow says. “It’s the real ticket to high-performance organizations.”

Full article available at:

Montville harnesses sun for power

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Montville harnesses sun for powerThe Bangor Daily News reports on a new solar installation for the town of Montville, where we recently installed an 8kw solar electric system.

Abigail Curtis writes:

In Montville, the rays of the sun soon will be turned into electricity to power all municipal buildings, and that thought makes Administrative Assistant Susan Shell light up in a big smile.

“We’re very excited,” she said recently. “We thought, why not try to get our town further away from dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels?”

That thought led to the drafting of a grant proposal to request a grant for some American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds designed to help municipalities complete renewable energy projects.

The grant was accepted, which meant that the western Waldo County town would receive 90 percent of the money needed to install 42 solar panels on the roof of the Montville Sand Shed and to make two other town buildings much more weathertight. The $44,733 grant has meant a lot to Montville, which has long been known as a progressive community, Shell said.

Read more on the Bangor Daily News website or PDF File as a PDF Download.

Green Building Tour of the Bright Built Barn

Friday, June 25th, 2010
Time: Friday, June 25th, 4:30PM – 6PM
Location: 181 Mill Street, Rockport, ME 04856 (Map
Rockland, Maine - Bright Built Barn

On Friday, June 25 the Maine Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council will be hosting a tour of the Bright Built Barn, a net-zero building which has received numerous accolades including LEED Platinum and a 2009 LEED for Homes Innovative Project Award.

Here is a summary of the event:

Join us for a tour of this award-winning, practical, affordable, beautiful structure that is one of the only buildings in the world to be designed to be truly carbon neutral: by making more clean energy than it consumes, over its lifespan, BrightBuilt Barn will actually offset all the atmospheric greenhouse gases produced by its construction.

This in-depth tour will be led by Keith Collins, BrightBuilt’s owner, and Phil Kaplan of Kaplan Thompson Architects, the project’s architect.

ReVision Energy will be there to answer any questions about the renewable energy systems on the building. Please RSVP by Wednesday, June 23 to attend – the event is $10 for members of the Maine Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, and $12 for non-members.

Click here for more information and for registration.

Open House at Solar Home in Belfast

Friday, June 25th, 2010
Time: Friday, June 25th, 4PM – 6PM
Location: 57 Union Street, Belfast, ME (Map)

Weiss Solar Open Hosue

Join designers/builders/owners Zofia and Ian Weiss and ReVision Energy project manager Hans Albee to learn about this unique home’s solar energy system, as well as the design and construction process.

Come see how this super-insulated house is heated primarily by the sun!

The event is free and open to the public, and guests are encouraged to come by with all their solar questions.

Students Learn Simple Solar Energy at Horne Street Elementary School

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
Horne St. Elementary Solar Demo
ReVision Energy NH Branch Manager Will Kessler shows a 2nd grade class how to use PV to power a small motor

On Friday, June 11 the second grade classes at Horne Street Elementary School took an hour out of their busy schedule to learn about renewable energy, and build their own machines with the help of their teachers Mmes. Breen, Pike, Knox, Tokenol.

“Energy is the ability to do work,” explained ReVision’s Will Kessler. Each student then put their own kinetic energy to the test, rubbing their hands together to make heat, and blowing on windmills of their own construction to make wind energy.

At the end of the presentation, students made their way outside to see if there was enough solar energy on this cloudy overcast morning to power a small DC motor and run the windmills without any wind.

It turned out there was – a small PV panel was enough to cause motion! One second-grade student in Mrs. Breen’s class said: “I thought it was too cloudy, but that was awesome!!!”

Today’s solar cells use reliable technology for harvesting light, which means that the modules work with or without direct sunlight. Even on a cloudy day in New England, there is enough light reflected and refracted amongst clouds for a solar panel to produce at over 50% capacity. During this demonstration each 2.4V (peak) panel was producing roughly 1.2 volts DC.

Afterwards, students had lots of questions about energy: how it’s used, how it’s applied, and, as is often the case – lots of ideas!

Our favorite part – a student’s drawing showing the connection of the small solar array to the windmill’s working motor:

Student's Drawing of a Solar Panel