Brattleboro Energy Committee recognizes local green businesses

BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Energy Committee announces the three recipients of its 2013 Sustainable Business Awards: Triple T Trucking, Cultural Intrigue, and the Brattleboro Food Co-op.

These awards are given annually to Brattleboro-area businesses and nonprofits making extraordinary efforts to reduce energy and water use, lower carbon emissions, use renewable fuels, reduce solid waste, promote local food production, and use recycled materials and other environmentally-friendly products.

The awards were presented at the Nov. 19 Selectboard meeting.

Triple T Trucking provides weekly recycling and curbside compostable waste collection services to the town of Brattleboro and local businesses.

“The tools are in place to empower citizens and (businesses) to act on creating a whole new system that emphasizes recovery of resources versus landfilling them,” says General Manager Peter Gaskill. At present, approximately 30 percent of the eligible households are participating in the program.

Triple T collects more than 300 tons per month of compostable waste in Southern Vermont and Massachusetts, not including the town of Brattleboro's material. The material from the town of Brattleboro is being delivered to the Windham Solid Waste Management District.

Cultural Intrigue is a wholesale supplier of wedding decorations, gifts, and home décor products. The company is “constantly working on ways to make our packaging more environmentally friendly,” according to company president Adam Gebb.

Most of the boxes the company purchases are made from completely post-consumer recycled cardboard. The air pouch void fill is made from polyurethane that contains additives to speed up and ensure biodegradation. The bubble wrap is 100 percept biodegradable, and the packaging peanuts and kraft paper are 100 percent recycled. Any Styrofoam in their shipments has been reused from shipments which were sent to them from abroad.

The company's headquarters building on Elliot Street has walls and roof made of R-36 panels. The exterior is Corten siding, which is rated to last for 80 years or longer. For heat, the company uses a mix of radiant floor and a thermo cycler - an extremely efficient form of warehouse heating.

“When we met with heating engineers during the design phase, we were told that our heating costs could range from $7,000 to $30,000 a year, depending on the decisions we made. Last winter, our heating costs were around $7,000,” says Gebb.

The Brattleboro Food Co-op completed a new building in 2012 which includes many “green” features: The building is super-insulated, has triple-glazed windows, and is highly thermally efficient.

The Co-op has reduced the energy requirements of its refrigeration equipment, and the waste heat from this equipment is recaptured during the winter months to provide space heating for the building, including the Windham Housing Trust apartments above the store, as well as domestic hot water year-round.

There is a “green roof” over part of the store, and the building is clad in slate siding: a natural, durable, and local Vermont product. Natural daylighting helps to reduce electric requirements, and lighting fixtures are high-efficiency, as are all pumps and motors.

Wherever possible, items selected to finish the building were specified to be the latest in recycled, natural, and eco-friendly products on the market. The floors are polished concrete: a natural, durable, and maintenance-free product which will not require solvent-based cleaners or sealers. All ceramic tile is 100 percent recycled, and counters are made from 100 percent-recycled paper, locally fabricated in Springfield. All paints and coatings are low- or no-VOC products.

The Co-op site plan has been designed to reduce negative environmental impacts. There is a rain garden (bio-retention area) located in a center island to treat storm water run-off from the parking lot. Overall impervious surfaces have been reduced from present conditions, further reducing run-off.

Along the Whetstone Brook there is a 20-foot vegetated strip to treat the overland flow of the rainwater runoff.

“The Brattleboro Energy Committee is pleased to recognize businesses that are leading us toward a greener future by using innovative technologies and thoughtful design,” said Paul Cameron, Town Energy Coordinator.

“We can be proud that the Brattleboro area is becoming a hub of sustainable practices,” he added.

The Brattleboro Energy Committee assists Brattleboro residents, businesses and town government in reducing energy consumption and costs through conservation, increased energy efficiency, and conversion to renewable energy sources.

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