Waste Not, Want Not

Berkshire businesses shrink their ECO footprint



Photo by Interprint

From the very beginning, Barrington Brewery owners Gary Happ and Andrew Mankin were committed to sustainability. They started recycling in 1995, expanding their efforts in 2008 with a solar-heated water system. Last year, they put in 480 solar panels in an adjacent field to provide electricity. 

“It costs us money, but we feel we’re doing the right thing,” says Happ. Business owners who have taken such measures typically agree it’s a win-win move—good for the environment and for business. 

Interprint in Pittsfield invested $2 million in 2016 toward a one-megawatt solar array on its roof, projected to provide 20 percent of the company’s annual energy consumption. The company’s director of communications Peter Stasiowski says that the impetus for installing the solar array was the technology catching up to the company’s needs.

“When our factory was built in 2004, solar panels were too heavy for our roof,” Stasiowski says. “In the decade since, the panels have become quite a bit lighter, to the point where engineers figured out that our roof would indeed support them.”

The printing company also converted from propane to natural gas last fall, partnering with Berkshire Gas Company to run a gas main from Route 20 down Route 41. Interprint’s portion of the investment was $360,000, which will be offset by a cost saving as well as cleaner energy and the ability to run the ink-drying process more efficiently.

“The fuel itself is slightly more efficient than propane, the delivery is more efficient, but the real savings is that it allows us to use less fuel to achieve the same result,” says Stasiowski.

And the company is continually working to upgrade its water-treatment process. It also has converted all of its lighting from incandescent to LED, projected to save 5,000 kilowatt-hours per year and one of the simplest efforts a business should make.

“Every business has lighting, so making sure your lighting is as efficient as possible, that’s pretty low-hanging fruit, easy opportunities worth looking at,” says Lorenzo Macaluso, director of client services for Pittsfield-based Center for EcoTechnology (CET), a nonprofit that helps people and businesses save energy and reduce waste.

Maura J. Hawkins, whose Berkshire Environmental Consulting inspects businesses and advises on environmental improvements, says that many start the process because of regulations and the desire to avoid trouble and be a good neighbor. The top three areas in which companies look for improvement are water consumption, air emissions, and volatile organic compounds.  “Everyone’s concerned about their CO2 footprint, and that includes combustion sources, but there are a number of other sources that are much higher in global-warming potential than CO2,” Hawkins says, “like sulfur hexafluoride [SF6], which is used in transformers and switches.”

Williams College has a massive, ongoing effort to temper its carbon impact, with funds dedicated each year for that purpose. This has resulted in stepped-up efforts to weatherize the buildings and also replacing lightbulbs with more energy-efficient choices—a seemingly simple fix, but for a place like Williams, it’s a complicated process to switch over.

“Our exterior lights go on once it gets dark and go off in the morning once the sun comes up, so that’s a lot of energy that goes into those,” says Amy Johns, director of the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiative at Williams College. “Switching over is very worthwhile both financially and environmentally.” 

The college has also made sure its efforts benefit Williamstown. Williams College is the primary owner of the town transfer station and has invested in a solar array there. As a result, town buildings receive their electricity at a lower price. 

Another area where the college is moving forward, and one that many believe will be a focus of the food businesses, is food waste. “It often goes into an incinerator, so you have emissions from that,” says Johns. “Or if it goes into a landfill, it decomposes and creates methane, which is a very potent greenhouse gas.”

The college already composts, but also has an ambitious dining-services project to reduce pre-consumer waste. Using a system of specialized scales, staff members weigh food waste and enter a code marking the reason it was thrown away. This will help them adjust portions or adopt less-wasteful food-prep techniques.

“The next frontier is working on what’s called post-consumer waste, which is food that people take and don’t eat,” Johns says. “We’re trying to do a similar system of weighing and trying to get a sense of what they’re wasting and why they’re wasting it.” Food waste is part of a significant effort for CET. It has partnered with Big Y to prevent wastefulness and has helped Pine Island Farm in Sheffield set-up its anaerobic digestion system, in which food waste is liquified and put through a process to create methane for heat and energy.

“They’re one of a handful of these across the state,” says CET’s Macaluso of Pine Island Farm’s new system. “They’re taking food waste and running the digester to produce a significant amount of renewable energy. They put their manure through the same system where it’s combined with food waste for a renewable-energy source all in one shot.”

CET has also been working with restaurants in Lenox to create a program to reduce food waste through a town-composting effort that’s almost ready to go, and has started the same process with Williamstown restaurants. Barrington Brewery is a key part of that effort, and owners Happ and Mankin believe it’s the way of the future.

“I think the state is going to mandate reducing food waste in the next five years, and we wanted to figure it out and get it done in 2018,” says Macaluso. “People are finally waking up and saying we’ve got some issues here, and we’ve got to work to solve them. No matter what the coal and oil and gas companies are telling us, we’re moving towards renewables. There’s no question it’s happening.”


STATS––The Center for EcoTechnology served 114 Berkshire businesses in 2017. That resulted in these total savings:

Electricity kilowatt hours 
60,000  

Natural gas therms
110,000             

Wasted food 
80 tons 

Materials recycled 
36 tons 

The energy use and waste reduction savings combined with incentives added a total of about $230,000 to the bottom line in 2017 and removed approximately 700 tons of carbon from the environment—equal to removing about 180 cars from the road for a year.


Checklist––Areas where energy efficiency opportunities may be found for businesses

Natural Gas

  • Installing or maintaining components of steam systems to ensure these are operating optimally, e.g. condensate recovery and steam traps.
  • Insulating pipes used for moving steam or hot water around a building, for heating or for manufacturing processes are a major source of heat loss and therefore wasted energy.
  • Installing or updating equipment to prevent heat from escaping a building (e.g., heat recovery systems), and to purposefully redeploy the heat elsewhere in the building.
  • Updating older equipment that runs on energy generated by natural gas.
  • Installing or updating automated control systems that provide management of energy for the building or manufacturing processes.

Electricity 

  • Installing energy efficient lighting, such as LEDs and motion controls.
  • Replacing old equipment motors.
  • Replacing old equipment compressors.
  • Installing automated control systems that manage when to turn electricity drawing devices on/off. 

Source: Center for EcoTechnology

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Cost: 0

Where:
First Congregational Church of Ridgefield
103 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Sponsor: NAMI Southwest CT
Telephone: 203-984-8329
Contact Name: Karen
Website »

More information

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
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Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

Dr. Dan Villiers, co-founder of the Anxiety Institute in Greenwich, Conn., will give a free talk titled In the Trenches: Family Impact and Parenting Strategies for Anxiety and OCD. Dr....

Cost: 0

Where:
Greenwich Town Hall
101 Field Point Road
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: NAMI Southwest CT
Telephone: 203-400-6264
Contact Name: Karen West
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Robert Kalm discusses his documentary Self Make: The American Dreams of Philip Musica, about the notorious swindler Doctor Frank Donald Coster, also known as Philip Musica, who was a respected...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Simon Russell Beale returns to National Theatre Live screens following broadcasts of Timon of Athens and King Lear, and his recent role in the National Theatre’s critically acclaimed...

Cost: See Website

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Road
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

Join New Morning Market’s new knitting club! We’re crafting wearable items for Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury and welcome all levels to join! Instructors will be on-hand for beginners. Yarn,...

Cost: Free - registration requested

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St North
Woodbury, CT  06798
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Sponsor: New Morning Market
Telephone: 203-263-4868
Website »

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Blending nature and spirituality, Connecticut artist Lori Barker explores the rhythms of life in a new collection of mixed media works on display at the Gunn Memorial Library Stairwell Gallery from...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library Stairwell Gallery
5 Wykeham Rd.
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey

More information

Idea exchange and brainstorming for entrepreneurs.  Sign up at www.martinhosueworkspace.com/event-listings.

Cost: no charge with one-day pass or membership

Where:
Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Martin House Workspace
Telephone: 914-764-3128
Contact Name: Erin Trostle
Website »

More information

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Zachary Zaitzeff is a painter living in the Hudson Valley who has incorporated his extensive world travel, including his 2011 summit of Mount Everest, into his artwork. Zachary spent 2018 studying...

Cost: free

Where:
RT Facts Gallery
8 Old Barns Rd
Kent, CT  06757
View map »


Sponsor: RT Facts
Telephone: 860-927-1700
Contact Name: Natalie Randall
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

January Swing Dance w/ Chops, Sauerkraut, Krewtons Friday, January 18, 2018 Dewey Hall, 91 Main Street, Sheffield, MA 01257 Doors open at 7:30, Lesson with Jason Fenton at 8:00, Live music at...

Cost: $10-$20 sliding fee scale

Where:
Dewey Hall
91 Main Street
Sheffield, MA  01257
View map »


Sponsor: Oldtone Productions
Telephone: 413-429-1176
Contact Name: Beth Carlson
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Do you have a startup you’re trying to get off the ground? Are you thinking about starting your own business? Are you a solopreneur who’s trying to do it all? Everyone needs a...

Cost: no charge with one-day pass or membership

Where:
Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Martin House Workspace
Telephone: 914-764-3128
Contact Name: Erin Trostle

More information

The much anticipated Great Trains Holiday Exhibit at the Wilton Historical Society opens the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 23, with Santa visiting on December 8! Decorated for the...

Cost: Members free, Non-member adults $10/ kids $5.

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »

More information

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Blending nature and spirituality, Connecticut artist Lori Barker explores the rhythms of life in a new collection of mixed media works on display at the Gunn Memorial Library Stairwell Gallery from...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library Stairwell Gallery
5 Wykeham Rd.
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey

More information

We invite you to join us at Dojo Fairfield on Saturday January 19, 2019 when we host the founder/CEO of C.O.B.R.A. Self-Defense, Chris Sutton, for a one-day self-defense/ASRP (Active Shooter...

Cost: $129.00

Where:
DOJO FAIRFIELD
2317 Black Rock Tpke.
FAIRFIELD, CT  06825
View map »


Sponsor: DOJO FAIRFIELD
Telephone: 203.319.9989
Contact Name: Karina Gramesty
Website »

More information

Caring for a loved one with a mental health condition can be overwhelming and stressful. Family-to-Family is a free, 12-session education program for family, friends and significant others...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Greenwich Hospital
5 Perryridge Road
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: NAMI Southwest CT
Telephone: (914) 527-2994
Contact Name: Janet
Website »

More information

Celebrate Helena Hernmarck’s materials and processes at our monthly free admission day. Work with teaching artists and Museum staff on warm wintery projects while enjoying hot cocoa and seasonal...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

The much anticipated Great Trains Holiday Exhibit at the Wilton Historical Society opens the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 23, with Santa visiting on December 8! Decorated for the...

Cost: Members free, Non-member adults $10/ kids $5.

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »

More information

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Zachary Zaitzeff is a painter living in the Hudson Valley who has incorporated his extensive world travel, including his 2011 summit of Mount Everest, into his artwork. Zachary spent 2018 studying...

Cost: free

Where:
RT Facts Gallery
8 Old Barns Rd
Kent, CT  06757
View map »


Sponsor: RT Facts
Telephone: 860-927-1700
Contact Name: Natalie Randall
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Type 2 diabetes is becoming an epidemic. Dr. Shawn Carney, a naturopathic physician at Northeast Natural Medicine, LLC, will address the development of problems with blood sugar control. He will...

Cost: Free - registration requested

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St North
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: New Morning Market
Telephone: 203-263-4868
Website »

More information

Join artists and crafters Amelia McIsaac of Flowering Heart and Susannah White of Carapace Farm Puppetry to explore the process of felting. Work with plant-dyed wool from their small family flock...

Cost: $15; $13.50 member

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn some basics of a simple honest cuisine created by thousands of years of heritage, shared culture and a bit of Viking pillaging.Menu:Demo: Gravlax from Scratch, served with Mustard Dill Sauce...

Cost: 100.00

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Comedian, actor, and impressionist Frank Caliendo has been making people laugh his entire life.  He is well known for his impressions of famous personalities: Donald Trump, Morgan Freeman, Al...

Cost: See Website

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Road
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

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