The GO GREEN Needham campaign, launched in 2018 by Green Needham Collaborative and the Needham League of Women Voters, highlights green practices by local businesses and organizations and encourages participants to take next steps towards sustainability.
Make no mistake. The Needham Channel building has a modest 1904 facade, but its operation is definitely 21st century. Updates and additions to the building reflect best practices that not only benefit the environment, but make financial sense as well. (Hint: Note the solar panels on the roof.)
Marc Mandel, Executive Director of The Needham Channel, knows a thing or two about sustainability. As a videographer at public forums, he has covered scores of events about environmental topics — everything from solar power to waste reduction. So it is no surprise that he was eager to participate in the GO GREEN Needham campaign, taking the opportunity to share experiences and find new ways to be green.
Like other businesses and non-profits in town, The Needham Channel has taken advantage of utility-sponsored programs and incentives to improve energy efficiency. In 2012, after purchase of their current building, they had a Mass Save no-cost building assessment to identify rebates and help guide renovations, which included improved insulation, multiple heating zones, and programmable thermostats. More recently, again taking advantage of a Mass Save business program promoted by the Newton Needham Chamber of Commerce, The Needham Channel worked with World Energy Efficiency Services to retrofit the building with LED lighting and install motion detector lights, with rebates covering up to 70 percent of costs. To further reduce electricity use, computers are set automatically to go into low power mode an power strips allow some machines to be turned off completely, thus avoiding “phantom power” loss.
In 2015, The Needham Channel was able to add the jewel in the crown. They purchased a 9.0 kW roof-top solar array, which has generated 38,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in the past 3 years, reducing electric costs by $6,000 and bringing in revenue from Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs). Payback is estimated to be 6 years. You can watch a short video detailing all their impressive efforts.
What’s left to do? As a commitment to GO GREEN Needham, The Needham Channel has agreed to find ways to further reduce waste and make sure their recycling stream is free of contaminants. They also worked with Greg Smith, Superintendent of Recycling and Solid Waste, to produce a public education video about how to correctly use the facilities at the Recycling and Transfer Station RTS.