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Vermont Contractor Drives Hard for Environmental Sustainability

Tue November 17, 2020 - Northeast Edition
Vermont Business Magazine

Kingsbury Companies plans to set the standard in the construction industry by way of carbon neutrality, seeking protection for the planet and for future generations to come.
Kingsbury Companies plans to set the standard in the construction industry by way of carbon neutrality, seeking protection for the planet and for future generations to come.

Kingsbury Companies LLC, a general contractor and biological waste management company nestled in the heart of central Vermont, is driving full steam ahead at leading the construction industry in sustainability by focusing on environmental stewardship and off setting its carbon footprint.

The ecologically savvy company maintains its headquarters in Middlesex, Vt., as well as a satellite office, maintenance shop and earthen material recycling yard in Waitsfield, Vt.

Environmental awareness and premier service remains at the forefront of the priority list for Kingsbury Companies, where adaptability, efficiency and integrity are the pillars of its existence.

The central office opened its doors within the Middlesex community in 2018. Having stretched its territory in Vermont, New Hampshire, upstate New York and western Massachusetts, Kingsbury not only gave convenience to employees and vendors but also allowed for a significant reduction in staff commutes.

During the office's design-build project, constructed by Kingsbury, energy efficiency, reduced construction waste, durability and functionality were prioritized over trendy design, fad or luxury material selections.

The building is equipped with a roof-mounted solar system that supplies more than enough power when it is at full occupancy. The water to air heat pump system provides heating and cooling through geothermal exchange with the earth so that no points of combustion are necessary, and because of this fact, the facility uses no fossil fuels.

Advanced technology combined with sensibly selected materials pioneers a new standard to which all new buildings in Vermont should be constructed and Kingsbury is proud to call such an innovative facility its home.

Despite being in what some may consider a "dirty" business, Kingsbury is working towards making the entire business carbon neutral. In 2019, the company partnered with Aegis Renewable Energy Inc., to construct two solar arrays, a 440-kilowatt direct-current ground mount in Kingsbury's reclaimed gravel pit, and a 157-kW DC rooftop mounted array at its maintenance facility in Waitsfield. While the renewable energy credits for these projects are retired with the distribution utility, the arrays together produce enough energy to offset the use of Kingsbury's maintenance and support facilities.

Travis Kingsbury, president and owner of the company, looks forward to creating a brighter, more sustainable future for the construction industry and hopes other forward-thinking Vermont companies will follow suit.

"In 2018, after we moved into our new 100 percent net-zero headquarters in Middlesex, I set a new goal for our organization — to make every effort to offset our carbon footprint and reduce waste wherever possible," he explained.

"Unfortunately, petroleum products are currently the only option for powering our heavy truck fleet and earth moving equipment. So, we committed to developing solar projects as a way of making a positive impact and playing a role in helping the state achieve its goal of 90 percent renewable energy by 2050."

He added that while the use of the rooftop and gravel-pit arrays are lowering his company fleet's carbon footprint, they only reduced it by 40 percent, prompting him to increase Kingsbury's efforts in 2020.

That has led the contracting firm to develop four more solar projects, which will be completed over the course of late 2020 to the middle of 2021.

All kilowatt hours of energy generated will be net-metered to innovative Vermont businesses. Once put into service, based on second-quarter 2020 New England Power Pool (NEPOOL) data for the fuel source mix of the ISO New England electric supply, the green electricity produced by Kingsbury's 2.7-megawatt direct current (MWDC) solar portfolio will more than offset its carbon footprint, having the equivalent of more than 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

"Increasing the efficiency of our Kingsbury Companies' buildings and developing solar energy projects is just the beginning for its sustainability journey," he said.

The company also plans to set the standard in the construction industry by way of carbon neutrality, seeking protection for the planet and for future generations to come.

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