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February 2010 – Mark and Barbara Zaccheo

Landlords Can Save Energy Too

When Mark and Barbara Zaccheo bought the 5-story landmark 1930’s Reed Building on Franklin Street in Greenfield 3 1/2 years ago, it already possessed the first of many energy-saving features that they would later add.

Just six months earlier, the former owners had fitted every radiator with a thermostatic control, allowing tenants to adjust the setting to their preferred level. Nonetheless, much of the heat generated by the oil/steam furnace escaped through and around the building’s original windows, resulting in high carbon emissions and high fuel costs. Next the new owners had 15 inches of insulation blown in under the roof, and insulated all steam-heating pipes using one inch of fiberglass with silver coating on the inside. In addition they installed six new high-efficiency washers (reducing water-use from 40 to 15 gallons/load) and dryers for tenant use, and replaced all incandescent lightbulbs with CFL’s in common areas.

The Zaccheo’s have already installed 12 new high-efficiency heating systems in their other rental properties. Energy-conscious future plans for all their properties include more insulation, low-flow toilets, more window-replacement projects, solar collectors for heating water, systems that extract heat from waste-water, and change-over from CFL’s to LED lighting in common areas and outdoors. (LED’s last 10-20 years, contain no mercury, and use 80% less electricity than incandescent bulbs.)

The Zaccheos and their partner, Jack Dunphy, diligently researched information for a major window replacement project for the Reed Bldg. The first measurements were taken in September, old windows were painstakingly removed, cracks and window-weight cavities were sealed with insulation, foam insulation was placed around every frame, tightening the envelope of the building and. the new windows were in place by December. “We refinanced with Greenfield Savings Bank, and paid for about one-quarter of the project ourselves” said Zaccheo.. When asked whether these measures had lowered fuel expenditures, Zaccheo replied, “By thousands!” What about tenants’ reactions? “Anywhere from very happy to ecstatic!” He added, “I encourage tenants to reduce energy use in their apartments by lowering their thermostat during the day.” As a member of Greenfield Landlord’s Assoc Mark Zaccheo sees energy conservation high on the agenda of those landlords who include heat and/or hot water in the rent.

His advice to any rental property owner is “INVEST IN WEATHERIZATION. START WITH INSULATION.”

There are government programs available to home-owners and public entities for weatherization, but very little available for owners of rental properties, although Mass Save and Berkshire Gas have some supportive measures. For this reason, Greening Greenfield honors Mark Zaccheo and his colleagues for taking the step of committing to reducing energy use in their properties.

Think Global, Act Local EarthThrives tells the story of what is Green, Sustainable and Local for the Pioneer Valley, MA!