Together with BCT faculty member Ben Weil, several energy auditing BCT students participated in the project mentioned below. They conducted a thermographic scan and pressure test of the building and will be calibrating an energy model to allow the co-op to size a heating system that will primarily use waste heat from the refrigerators and the freezers.


February 25, 2015

The Massachusetts Pathways to Zero grant program of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has approved the application from the North Quabbin Community Food Coop for funding a Zero Net Energy Design.  Quabbin Harvest, a community based grocery store is, by nature, an energy intensive operation.  A zero net energy building is very energy efficient produces what little energy it does consume through on-site renewable energy (over the course of a year). The task is to find ways to operate both the building and the store without any extra energy that would normally be required from traditional sources.

“Massachusetts is supporting advanced energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings through our zero net energy grant program,” said DOER Acting Commissioner Dan Burgess. “The benefits are diverse and include reduced operating expenses, healthier and more comfortable buildings, energy independence, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”

The 125 year old masonry bank building provides numerous energy efficiency challenges. The project will design a system of building enhancements and system improvements that will result in the Quabbin Harvest grocery store being able to operate with zero net energy consumption. Quabbin Harvest would become  a demonstration for how to make efficient use of similar masonry buildings that are so common in the Commonwealth.

“I am delighted that this project is moving forward,” State Senator Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) said. “Not only will this grant promote economic revitalization in the Orange-Athol area, it will help bring modern energy efficiencies to an aging building and provide retail space for local produce. I congratulate the folks at North Quabbin Community Food Coop and Quabbin Harvest for their winning applications and their commitment to their community.”

The North Quabbin Community Food Coop will be using the technical skills of Guardian Energy Management Solutions and the Building and Construction Technology Program, University of Massachusetts Extension Service.

Amy Borezo, President of the North Quabbin Community Food Coop said, “This is one more very exciting opportunity for Quabbin Harvest to deliver on its commitment to provide high quality, local produce at affordable prices.”

State Representative Susannah Whips Lee said, “I’m delighted to announce that the Department of Energy Resources has awarded a “Pathways to Zero Grant”, assisting Quabbin Harvest to lower its energy costs, which have skyrocketed with the recent National Grid electric increases. Lower energy costs translate to lower food costs, and the people of our region certainly need that. This is an instance where government can make a small investment in a local business, whose sole purpose is helping folks eat well, while allowing that business to manage itself without undue interference. I applaud them and the Dept. of Energy Resources for their cooperative efforts.”