From The Athens News
With energy provided by solar, wood and geothermal, Village Bakery and the Della Zona Pizzeria may be the "greenest" place in Athens. A geothermal system is the latest step toward environmental progress at the two adjacent buildings.
Text from December 2014 issue of ACEnet newsletter
Work has been completed on the new Geothermal system installed to handle Village Bakery's heating and cooling needs. Last summer, Village Bakery owner Christine Hughes, with the assistance of ACEnet and Appalachian Transition Fellow Carol Davey, applied for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant funding to offset the costs of the project.
The Village Bakery received an award of nearly $10,000 and construction of the project completed in the fall by Airclaws heating and cooling. The geothermal system is the latest step in the bakery's history of striving for environmental responsibility. In a note written by Bob and Christine reflecting on nearly 13 years of business, they state, "Our commitment to bringing you the freshest, most delicious sustainably grown ingredients has never waned. Our menu will always reflect what's in season in Southeast Ohio, so you will taste a connection to the farms around us no matter when you visit. As demand for good, clean, and fair food increases, our ability to find new sources to meet our need also grows."
In addition to a commitment to local, environmentally raised food ingredients, the business as also made a series of updates to reduce their energy usage. Energy for the business is provided by solar, wood, geothermal energy, and wind and the owners are determined to be free of dependency on fossil fuels. To reach this point they have worked with four local businesses; Third Sun Solar for the installation of solar panels, Airclaws for the geothermal installation, Fox Natural Builders for the wood-fired oven and sustainable building, and Pear (wind) Energy.
Congratulations Village Bakery, on the REAP award as well as for setting an excellent example for sustainable small business! Many thanks to the Ohio Rural Development office and to Director Tony Logan and is ever helpful staff.
Text from September 2014 issue of ACEnet newsletter
ACEnet's Appalachian Transition Fellow, Carol Davey, working in the Athens Community to act as the 'Green Pathways Coordinator', along with ACEnet staff helped Village Bakery's Bob O'Neil and Christine Hughes apply for the Rural Energy for America Program (R.E.A.P.) grant. The grant, totaling nearly $10,000 can be used for the purpose of installing energy saving updates. The Green Pathways program allowed for Village to receive assistance with the grant application. Applying for a Grant can be, a daunting, time consuming task. Christine stated, "It certainly wasn't me myself and I doing the work, I had a lot of help from ACEnet." This helped to not only navigate the waters of federal grant writing, but also lessen the time spent by the owners on the application.
Village Bakery is a pioneer in green business practices. They serve local food, generate their own electricity, and they've created a way to bake as efficiently as possible. They are now incorporating a geothermal heating and air conditioning system to replace their conventional watt waster. (See graphic below.) A geothermal system uses 'earth loops' to keep the water surging through the system at a constant temperature. Geothermal HVAC systems do not burn fossil fuel to generate heat; they simply transfer heat to and from the earth.
The system will provide all heating and cooling needs at a fraction of the cost and a savings of 6 tons of C02 a year. The geothermal installation will last almost three times longer than a conventional HVAC system and will also heat most of the water used for the business. As with most energy efficient upgrades, upfront costs of installations deter many from implement the upgrades. However, as owner Christine Hughes states: "the price of solar panels has gotten cheaper each year." Christine saw a significant decrease in the price of the panels from the first installation in 2010 to their most recent in 2013. The upfront costs of the HVAC system will be returned in a short number of years. If selected to receive the government REAP grant, the funds will cover almost 10,000 dollars of the final project cost. Grants like REAP are an amazing resource for small businesses to incorporate energy efficiency into their practices. The HVAC system will bring them one step closer to achieving their energy efficacy goals for the business.
If you are a small business interested in conducting energy efficiency updates, contact Carol Davey at email@example.com.