Mark Zaccheo thinks big. He is the co-owner of one of Greenfield’s largest apartment buildings and is putting the finishing touches on a 19-unit apartment building that’s as green as you can get. He thinks big because he sees the future and it’s all about energy efficiency, using the sun for water and electricity, and figuring out other ways to save money. As we biked near the Turners Fall bridge and watching a torrent of water pour over the dam, he wondered out loud about the great potential this village has to use the water for additional power generation. He’s got a positive outlook and isn’t afraid of risk.
We took a tour of the former bakery building on a sunny Sunday that was once a dilapadated mess. It overlooks the new train/bus station being built in the town, which is also a green building. Outside the apartment building are solar panels for hot water. Up on the roof, where a six-inch thick membrane has been placed for super efficiency, there will be a huge array of photovoltaic cells that will cost $200,000 to install. With state and federal paybacks, he expects to pay for it in seven years and provide all of the electricity and hot water the tenants require from the sun, not WMECO.
Inside the fully rented building, the hallways gleam with sparkling wood floors. LED lighting will soon be tweaked so that it dims if no one is inside and gets very bright when someone walks in. This lighting is about 90% cheaper than traditional hallway lighting, just one of the many ways this building is state of the art.
It’s inspiring to me to spend time hearing about Zaccheo’s many ideas for new developments. The train station will have a big solar array too, and there are so many projects that he’d like to do next. People like Mark are part of what is putting Greenfield on the map as an up-and-coming place to live. In a few years you will be able to take a train to New York City. Now that’s progress!