Clean Energy Connections

The Castle Square Deep Energy Retrofit construction project is coming to a close. The buildings have gone through more than a year and a half of intense rehabilitation. The new roofs are on, the new windows installed. The exterior insulation around the mid-rise is complete. We are beginning to see energy savings and the solar hot water panels are working almost too good (the water is really hot!)! But the process will continue even after all the workmen and construction equipment goes away.

The engagement of our community to become more environmentally responsible and to move toward sustainability is just beginning. The work of community greening will be a continuous process into the future. The trainings and workshops provided for residents are one aspect of that. The energy reduction contest will be another. The outreach to kids during â??Ecology Hourâ? is another important aspect of creating goodwill toward environmental initiatives in the youth of the community.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) came from ARRA, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act from February 2009.

Castle Square was invited to a program called â??Clean Energy Connectionsâ? sponsored by the DOER to describe how we are leveraging the funding to show others how it is possible to dramatically transform an affordable housing complex. Deborah Backus (executive director) and Grey Lee (sustainability manager) were invited to talk to an assembly of other ARRA funds recipients to exchange lessons learned and best practices so clean energy work can move forward even after the ARRA funding has ended.

The program was held at Massasoit Community College (at their conference center in Brockton, MA) on June 15th. Over 100 participants gathered to hear from federal and state officials. We also broke out into smaller discussion groups to analyze our experiences and crystalize areas for further enquiry. I learned a lot from the presentations and did some good networking. Debbie Campbell (resident services) came with us and said we did a good presentation (thanks Deb!) Castle Square was noted as the most ambitious energy efficiency projects of its type in the nation. Stay tuned to hear more of how we will continue to be leaders for energy efficiency and sustainable urban living.

-Grey Lee

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