Energy Analyst Rheannon DeMond Wins A Kate Goldstein Award

DeMond_DSC6951Congratulations to our Energy & Sustainability Specialist, Rheannon DeMond, on being selected as one of three award recipients of the Kate Goldstein Fund for Emerging Professionals by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA). To date, the Kate Goldstein Fund has raised almost $33,000 to honor Kate’s legacy of support for the next generation of sustainable/ renewable energy professionals.

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Bensonwood and Unity Homes energy analysis and modeling consultant Rheannon DeMond (center) explaining the OBPlus Wall system at the 2013 Greenbuild conference in Philadelphia.

NESEA established the Kate Goldstein Fund for Emerging Professionals in Sustainable Energy in memory of Kate and the wonderful example she set for how NESEA wants their organization to support young members. This award supports recent graduates, enabling them to fully participate in, and benefit from NESEA programs. Rheannon says she had the opportunity to meet Goldstein when she visited Bensonwood a few years ago to give a talk and was very impressed with her knowledge and her passion for sustainable energy.

Rheannon will receive a pass to the BuildingEnergy Conference in Boston, plus hotel stay, and will be an honored guest at NESEA Night, the organization’s annual membership celebration, on March 4, 2015, where there will be a ceremony recognizing the award applicants and winners.

Founded in 1974, NESEA is the region’s leading membership organization promoting sustainable energy practices in the built environment.

Rheannon provides Unity Homes and Bensonwood clients with the following energy-related services:

  • Building Envelope Consultation and Analysis
  • Mechanical Consultation and Analysis – Renewable Energy Consultation and Analysis
  • Environmental Consultation and Analysis
  • Local, State and Federal Incentive Consulting
  • Appliance and Lighting Recommendations.

Annual Bensonwood Fundraiser Benefits Fall Mountain Food Shelf

Fall Mountain Food Shelf director, Mary Lou Huffling and Bensonwood events committee members, (L to R) Jeffery Starratt, Kevin Bittenbender, and Erik Walker, next to a carload of donated food.

Fall Mountain Food Shelf director, Mary Lou Huffling and Bensonwood events committee members, (L to R) Jeffery Starratt, Kevin Bittenbender, Huffling and Erik Walker, next to a carload of donated food. Photo by Patrick Ziselberger

With winter fast approaching, the proceeds from Bensonwood’s annual fundraiser could not have come at a better time for the Fall Mountain Food Shelf. The September 13th fundraiser, attended by over 200 people, raised $5,500, a record for the event, which was matched by an anonymous donor, bringing the total to $11,000. In addition, an estimated 40 to 50 bags of groceries were donated.

A much appreciative Mary Lou Huffling, Director of the Fall Mountain Food Shelf, accepted the proceeds, indicating how badly the food and donations are needed, especially now with the colder weather arriving early. “So many people are coming to use the food shelf and we have to buy most of the food ourselves,” said Mary Lou, adding, “This money will buy a lot of food and help a lot of people.”

According to Kevin Bittenbender, Head of Production at Bensonwood, “We have had a fall party for many years (over 10 years), but it was in 2010 when we turned the event into more of a fundraiser for the Fall Mountain Food Shelf.” Then, commenting on Bensonwood’s focus on giving back to the community, Kevin added, “We like to support local organizations where we feel we can really make a difference. The Fall Mountain Food Shelf is the perfect fit for the kind of organization that we like to support.”

The Fall Mountain Food Shelf spends between $2,500 and $3,000 a week on food, so the timing of the Bensonwood event could not have been better. In the fall, their donations are down, just as the needs get greater. Among the recurrent needs that must be addressed at this time of year, the food shelf recently received calls from several individuals who have been laid off for the season and were inquiring about obtaining food.

Many local businesses and individuals contributed products and money to the fundraiser. $1,100 was raised from the event raffle and $3,400 from cash donations, all of which was added to a $1,000 donation from Bensonwood. Without the help of these businesses, friends and neighbors, and especially the anonymous matching donor, the event would not have been such a success.

The business donors for the fundraising event included: Bingham Lumber, C & S Grocers, Canmar LLC, Cleary Millwork, Diamond Pizza, Duncan Gowdy, Foard Panel, Harpoon Brewery, HHOMG Inc, Hooper Golf Club, Kapiloff Insurance Agency, LaValley’s Building Supply, Morrison & Tyson Communications, Murray’s Restaurant, Perkins Home Center, Pete’s Farm Stand, Raven Workshop, Real to Reel, Russell Supply Corp., Shaw’s of Walpole, Taylor’s Welding, The Bread Shed, The Village Blooms, Tractor Supply of Walpole, Vermont Custom Cabinetry, Walpole Village Salon and the Walpole Village Tavern.

 

 

Bensonwood Celebrates 11th Year Riding The Prouty to Fight Cancer

bensonwood beam team cyclistsIn our 11th year riding the Prouty, our 52 team members raised $11,000 for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Our team members ranged in age from 5 to 65+!

The 33rd Annual Prouty raised over $2.7 million from cyclists, walkers, rowers, golfers and “virtual” participants, like our West Coast sales rep., Marilyn Taggart, in Seattle.

finish lineMarilyn (below) rode the Iron Goat (aka Mosquito!) Trail, an old railroad bed in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Forest in Washington State.

virtual prouty rider

Project Update: Orchard Hill Breadworks Pizza Pavilion

orchard hill pizza nightWe are proud to announce that the Orchard Hill Breadworks Pizza Pavilion that Bensonwood volunteers helped build, is now open. A community supported building project dreamed up in the summer of 2013, the Pizza Pavilion is a gathering place to celebrate and share meals. Its primary use is as a place to host benefi10437442_775628855802052_4393911810537717031_nt Pizza Nights throughout the summer.

The pavilion  provides guests shelter and allow pizza night to go on despite the weather. Pizza Night started in 2007 as a small gathering of friends and family, but now attracts hundreds of guests every week of the summer with 100% of profits going to local nonprofit groups.10178060_757302684301336_2476085396725425041_n Orchard Hill Breadworks, a small, rural bakery located in southwest New Hampshire, has given away almost $30,000, $500 to $1,000 at a time to about 20 different groups. Click here to see some of the beneficiaries and visit them on Facebook to keep current.   This time lapse of the project tells a story of collaboration, cooperation and group effort.

Rising Star, Builder Shawn Brown

shawn_brownPLACEHOLDERWhen Shawn’s high school Building Trades instructor, Chris Moore, told him of a job opening at Bensonwood, he jumped on it. Unlike some of his fellow classmates, Shawn wasn’t taking every shop course he could merely for the credits. He wanted to become a great builder. Now, coming up on his one year anniversary at Bensonwood/Unity Homes, Shawn gained valuable experience framing and sheathing panels in our Building Systems shop and traveling to regional job sites assembling the highly fabricated, panelized elements into home shells.

Since joining the company, Shawn has been amazed at how far building science has come and is eager to learn every aspect of Bensonwood’s processes. He especially likes working a few weeks in a controlled shop setting and the next week or two at an exotic job site. According to Shawn, “It’s never dull, and it’s really exciting seeing these amazing homes come together on site in a matter of days knowing the precision of the fabrication made it possible.”

Hungry for new experiences, Shawn noted, “I’ve gotten to travel to picturesque, distant, and often challenging job sites doing what I love to do.” These have included building projects as varied as a beautiful shore home in Gloucester, MA, “within a stone’s throw from the ocean,” a religious retreat in Woodbourne, NY, “with the (January) temperatures dropping to 20 below,” and most recently, a high-performance Unity Zūm home in Asheville, NC.

This summer, as a testament to his enthusiasm and quality of work, Shawn will go on site for the first time as a job captain to assemble a Unity Homes Xyla. “They’ll be an experienced job captain looking over my shoulder,” he confided, “but I’ll be responsible for raising the home’s weather-tight shell.” With Bensonwood’s ongoing culture of continuous learning, it won’t be long before he’s looking over the shoulder of some new kid with dreams of becoming a great builder.