Pioneer Valley
Planning Commission

Eric Carle Museum, Amherst, MA
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Media Release

CONTACT: Catherine Ratté, PVPC Principal Planner (413) 781-6045
April 21, 2010

Get Green, Save Green with New Interactive Online Tool

Just in time for Earth Day, homeowners can help the earth while helping themselves. A Green Energy Decision Tool now available from the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network shows users the environmental, health, and financial benefits of green energy upgrades to their homes and takes the mystery out of residential energy upgrades.

By comparing the existing energy use of a house to any proposed changes, the Decision Tool defines cost and savings, including how long it will take to recoup the cost of upgrades such as new windows or added insulation.

Furthermore, the Decision Tool shows the health and environmental impacts proposed changes will have. For example, reducing the burning of fossil fuels and thus the release of particles and pollutants into the atmosphere can lower the number of asthma attacks, days of lost work, and respiratory symptoms. The online computer program calculates all these variables automatically and shows users how their decisions will affect air quality and public health.

To use the Green Energy Decision Tool, log on to the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network website at, click on “Initiatives” on the toolbar, and choose the “Decision Tool” from the drop-down menu. Users will need to have Microsoft Excel on their home computers to run the application.
With funding from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, the tool was developed by University of Massachusetts Amherst mechanical and industrial engineering professor Erin Baker and graduate students Ben Ewing and Rose Zdybek.

The Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network is a broad-based network of organizations and individuals dedicated to creating a just and sustainable future for the Pioneer Valley region, including a flexible and effective regional model that can be applied in other regions of the country. The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission is a member and helps staff the network.

For details about the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network, visit or contact PVPC’s Catherine Ratté at (413) 781-6045 or

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