Author Archive | John Felton


Malik house solar collectors, facing south (Photo by John Felton)

Tyler Malik and her husband, Richard, decided they wanted their new home to be “really green,” for practical as well as philosophical reasons.

“Our two main concerns were energy efficiency, because we wanted to escape the utility companies as much as possible, and eliminating toxic materials from the home, because my son and I are really sensitive to chemicals. We also wanted to reduce the damage we cause to the environment,” Tyler said. “We think we achieved all of those goals.”

Indeed, the new home they moved into August 2012 is about as environmentally friendly as possible in New England. It has earned an Energy Star award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a high rating on an efficiency index known as the Home Energy Rating System (HERS). The house was designed by West Stockbridge architect John Fülöp and built by Derek Heartquist from Stuyvesant, New York.

The Maliks built their 2419 square-foot house in an open field southwest of downtown Great Barrington—with a spectacular view of East Mountain. The view dictated lots of east-facing windows, but windows tend to be among the biggest energy losers in any house. The Maliks turned to a super-efficient window system, installed by Morrison’s Home Improvement in Pittsfield, that allows in heat and repels cold in the winter; roof overhangs help keep out the sun in the summer.… Read the rest

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How Green Is Your Grocer?

Grandsons of Italy deal in food—go figure!


All photographs from the Masiero family collection

Long before the term “foodie” entered into American popular culture, two young second-generation Italian Americans from Manchester- on-the-Sea on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, decided that the central Berkshires desperately needed better-quality food. They started their store along Route 7 in south Pittsfield in 1979 as a seasonal enterprise, offering a limited section of fresh fruit and vegetables from early spring until mid-autumn.

The pent-up demand for high-quality produce was so great; however, that Chris and Matt Masiero moved to a year-round operation and in 1982 opened a brand-new store just north of the Lenox-Pittsfield town line. In addition to produce and groceries, the store carried meat, seafood and pasta sold by tenant businesses. The brothers use that same business model today, although the tenants have changed over the years. Chris and Matt called the store Guido’s, after their father, Guido Masiero, a school teacher in Manchester, MA, who had loaned Matt $2,500 to open his first business—a short-lived flower stand in Lenox. Guido had long wanted to go into business, but with a family of seven children to support found it necessary to stick with teaching and a variety of parttime jobs after school and in the summers.… Read the rest

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