Heard on the Street: 7.16.15

Going Geothermal Cuts Out Fossil Fuels

MONTPELIER — One way to heat your house without using a huge amount of fossil fuels is by using geothermal ground water heat pumps, according to Jim Ashley of Green Mountain Geothermal. With a background as a hydrologeologist who worked for the state of Vermont, Ashley started his geothermal business about 12 years ago after retiring. The way geothermal works, pumps extract heat from water that has been pumped up from the ground, either from a well or from a pipe buried in the ground, and release the warmth into the air.

“We capture that heat, upgrade it through a compressor, and then are able to discharge heat to heat our homes and businesses,” Ashley said.  Or, in summer, it can take the heat from the air and release it into the ground while bringing cooler air up from the ground.

And while this technology is growing in popularity, it is growing very slowly in Vermont, possibly beause of the roughly $30,000 pricetag for installation. If you can afford the outlay, you will be paid back in tax credits and in knowing that you are helping to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.


Local Architect Wins National Award 

MONTPELIER — The Co-op Plaza Redevelopment project in Brattleboro, designed by local architectural firm Gossens Bachman Architects of Montpelier, was recently awarded the 2015 American Institute of Architects/Housing and Urban Development Secretary’s Housing and Community Design Award for Creating Community Connection. This national award recognizes excellence in design for projects that incorporate housing within other community amenities for the purpose of either revitalization or planned growth. The award was presented at the AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia on May 15. 

The project is a unique private-public partnership between the Brattleboro Food Co-op, Housing Vermont and Windsor Windham Housing Trust in the revitalization of a key edge of downtown Brattleboro. The Co-op was in need of a major expansion and the membership was committed to staying downtown. The building is a model of energy efficiency using both conventional and innovative systems. Heat generated by refrigerators is recycled to heat the store, apartments and provide hot water. The apartments have continuous fresh air ventilation with heat recovery and the Co-op utilizes a solar photovoltaic system to generate electricity. More information can be found at www.gbArchitecture.com


Bye Bye Bacon

MIDDLESEX — Say “goodbye” to Bacon Thursdays at Nutty Steph’s — a popular night of entertainment at the old Camp Meade location, now called Middle Ground. Nutty Steph’s business started out selling granola, then got into the chocolate business and added booze and entertainment in recent years. But now, founder Jaquelyn Rieke, a.k.a. Nutty Steph, has moved to the campground she owns in Marshfield, and plans to focus her energies there. Speaking with The Bridge June 30, Rieke said she is hosting an event she is calling “Wierdo Fest” on Saturday, July 18 at the campground. The event will include a pig roast and be free to the community. Rieke said she hopes people who attended bacon Thursday will turn out for “Wierdo Fest,” saying, “I want those people who came to bacon Thursday to feel like they have a community.”

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