BRATTLEBORO -- Brattleboro’s Veterans Affairs clinic is going to get a little greener after winning a federal grant that will help fund a new solar power system for the building.
Gordon and Jean Bristol, who own the building at 71 GSP Drive where the vet clinic is located, have been awarded a $20,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that was paid for through the Rural Energy for America Program.
"From the start, our whole idea has been to make the building as environmentally friendly as possible," Gordon Bristol said. "We wanted to set up this clinic for the vets who are around now and for the next generation."
The grant was included in the more than $127,000 that was awarded to seven projects across Vermont that include reverse osmosis systems at maple sugar houses, solar panels and a hydro electric project.
The 24-kilowatt solar system will cost about $115,000, but Gordon Bristol said the grant, and state and federal tax credits have reduced the projected payback time from 10 years to five, which he said made it possible to move ahead with the project.
Project construction is expected to start next week, and when it is completed by mid-August, the 100 solar panels will provide almost all of the electricity needs of the building.
Since partnering with the Bureau of Veterans Affairs in opening the community based outpatient clinic, the Bristols have committed themselves to building and managing an energy
The 20-year-old building, which was formally a medical facility, was painted with sealants that do not contain volatile organic compounds and upgraded lighting fixtures are expected to reduce the lifetime carbon dioxide emissions from energy use by 79 tons.
All of the landscaping is being done with environmentally appropriate tools and methods and even the cleaning products in the building are chosen to meet strict environmental standards.
"We’ve been trying to do environmentally friendly things because the veterans deserve it. They’ve put themselves in harm’s way and they shouldn’t have to worry about being harmed when they come here for care," Bristol said. "We think it sends the right message. This is one more way for us to give back."