Good Day, Sunshine!

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Find out more about sustainability at The Trustees and what you can do at home to go green!

Appleton Farms Old House solar thermal array
Solar thermal arrays at the Old House at Appleton Farms

Appleton Farms Old House ground mount array
12 kw ground mount arrays at Appleton Farms

Long Point array and solar thermal
4 kw arrays and solar thermal arrays at Long Point

Long Hill photovoltaic array
2 kw photovoltaic arrays at Long Hill

Doyle photovoltaic array
26 kw photovoltaic arrays at Doyle Conservation Center

Powisset photovoltaic array
25 kw photovoltaic arrays at Powisset Farm

Do rising winter energy costs in New England have you wondering how you can cut costs at your own home? Well, The Trustees – motivated not just by escalating energy costs but also by an organizational push to reduce our carbon footprint – have made a smart investment in going even greener. How are we doing that? For a start: solar panels.

To date, we’ve installed five photovoltaic and one solar thermal arrays at properties across the state including: Appleton Farms in Ipswich, Doyle Conservation Center in Leominster, Long Point on Martha’s Vineyard, Long Hill in Beverly, and Powisset Farm in Dover. And we’re not done yet: additional arrays planned for 2014 include Moose Hill Farm in Sharon and Bird Park in Walpole.

If you’re not sure about the difference between photovoltaic and solar thermal arrays, neither were we! We went to our own Director of Structural Resources and Technology Jim Younger to explain the difference. “Photovoltaic arrays convert sunlight directly into usable electricity. Solar thermal arrays use heat from the sun’s rays to create hot water; the thermal array at Appleton is used to meet hot water demands in the dairy operation.” Action from home owners today is a no-brainer: achieving environmental benefits by reducing carbon while lowering your utility and tax bills. There are so many companies operating in Massachusetts today that allow the home owner to participate in the solar revolution with no initial investment (e.g., The return on your investment for solar hot water is the fastest, especially if you are like me and you have a family that does a lot of laundry and takes lots of showers.

But when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint as an organization, solar arrays are only part of the bigger solution. The Trustees follow a three-pronged strategy: 1. Energy conservation – using less energy where we can, 2. Generating our own renewable clean energy, and 3. Exploring the use of carbon offsets where appropriate. So, efforts like repurposing historically significant buildings for re-use, which we’ve recently done with The Old House at Appleton Farms, the Bullitt Center in Ashfield and at the Westport Town Farm – align perfectly with our ongoing efforts to minimize waste and value our environment.

Next up in The Trustees toolkit to reduce our carbon footprint? We’re currently exploring the production of wind power on top of Turkey Hill in Hingham, and have started conversations about the possibility of harnessing tidal energy off the coast of Edgartown. Stay tuned!

Published February 2014