Berkshire Center for Justice Partnering in Great Barrington HeatSmart Mass Program


HeatSmart Mass is a community-based education and group purchasing program for clean heating and cooling technologies, which — thanks to a $9,000 grant — will enable Great Barrington to reduce its carbon emissions, lessen the environmental impact of energy usage for indoor heating and help residents save on home heating costs. Several partner organizations — the Great Barrington Senior Center, Construct, Volunteers in Medicine, the Guthrie Center, Berkshire Center for Justice and Greenagers – -will educate residents on financial aid programs that would help defray the costs of switching to more environmentally friendly heating sources.

Great Barrington Selected to Participate in Residential Clean Heating Program
The Selectboard and Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin are pleased to report that the Town of Great Barrington was selected by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to participate in the new HeatSmart Mass initiative.

HeatSmart Mass is a community-based education and group purchasing program for clean heating and cooling technologies, which — thanks to a $9,000 grant — will enable Great Barrington to reduce its carbon emissions, lessen the environmental impact of energy usage for indoor heating and help residents save on home heating costs.

“This will be a great opportunity for our community to reassess our energy usage and consider alternatives that could make heating both more affordable and more environmentally friendly,” said Town Manager Tabakin. “I’m grateful for the work of everyone who contributed to Great Barrington earning this grant, and am eager to see the results.”

The program, which includes six other communities in the Commonwealth, relies on a group purchasing model to lower the cost for towns acquiring air-source heat pumps, ground-source heat pumps, modern wood heating and solar hot water. “The HeatSmart program is the next step in our constant work toward being a more sustainable green community,” Selectboard Chair Sean Stanton said. “We are excited to build upon our our residents’ enthusiasm for solar power and to fulfill the commitment our commitment to upholding green building standards in Great Barrington.”

Great Barrington will kick off its HeatSmart initiative early next year under the leadership of Great Barrington Energy Action Team member and newly-appointed Heat Smart Coach Michael Feldstein.

“This grant will allow us to build on the great work the town has already done to provide residents with greener and cheaper options for electricity,” Feldstein said. “We’re particularly proud of the emphasis we will be placing on helping our low-income neighbors. Thanks to a terrific set of partner organizations and the support from the state with this HeatSmart grant, we will work to increase the availability of affordable low-carbon home heating for Great Barrington residents.”

With funding in place to help residents modify their home heating systems, the town intends to launch its efforts by connecting with residents who have signed up for the Solarize Mass program and expressed an interest in green energy.

Great Barrington will work with several partner organizations — the Great Barrington Senior Center, Construct, Volunteers in Medicine, the Guthrie Center, Berkshire Center for Justice and Greenagers – – to educate residents on financial aid programs that would help defray the costs of switching to more environmentally friendly heating sources.

“I am thrilled to learn that Great Barrington is participating in this program. Bringing air-source heat pumps to town will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve local air quality, it will help folks save money,” State Rep. Smitty Pignatelli said. “I am proud to represent the people of Great Barrington and to get to work with the Baker-Polito Administration on programs that will make a real difference to constituents and the environment, in the Berkshires and across the Commonwealth.

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Free Legal Clinic Every Wednesday

We are proud to partner with The Guthrie Center to offer a Free Legal Clinic every Wednesday from 12-1 pm during Free Community Lunch at 4 Van Deusenville Rd. Great Barrington, MA.

No appointment necessary!  Just drop in!

BCJ has been providing Free Legal Clinics at the Guthrie Center’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner since 2008 and weekly Free Legal Clinics at Community Lunch since 2014.

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Wine & Hors D’oeuvres Fundraiser – Privately Sponsored Event

In October 2017, a BCJ supporter will host a private fundraiser with wine and hors d’oeuvres. If you are interested in hosting an event to benefit BCJ, please email Eve Schatz.

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2017 Rock, Rattle and Drum Pow Wow (Past Event)

BCJ is pleased to participate in the 12th Annual Rock, Rattle and Drum Pow Wow on August 12-13, 2017 at the Great Barrington Fairgrounds in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. For two exciting days, Great Barrington, MA will be the center of Native American art and culture where American Indians will gather for the Rock, Rattle and Drum Pow Wow and share the richness, diversity and beauty of their indigenous ways.

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Harvest of Hope Festival (Past Event)

BCJ will proudly participate in the 2017 Harvest of Hope Festival in Pittsfield, MA on Saturday, September 16.  The event will feature music, food and community resources to help and support the multicultural community. The Harvest of Hope was founded last year by the Manos Unidas/Hands Helping Hands Multicultural Educational Cooperative. Manos Unidas is a multicultural consortium of local groups that support the community in a wide variety of endeavors such as housing, health, legal advice and immigration issues.

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