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Jones receives Green Giant Award from Western Mass Green Building Group

Posted on Thursday December 5th 2013

Area green builders know there’s a green giant walking among us, even though that giant isn’t a tall guy wearing green tights. The Massachusetts West Branch of the US Green Building Council recognizes that Teresa Jones, Program Coordinator for GCC’s Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency (RE/EE) program is a giant in the green energy and building field. At their annual meeting in Amherst on December 4, USGBC MA West will present Jones with their Green Giant Educator Award for her work with GCC’s RE/EE program. The Award recognizes educators who “inspire and actively teach the design students, engineers, trades people and citizens who will in their turn advance our green building revolution.” Jones was nominated for the award by Nancy Bair, formerly Director of Workforce Development at GCC, currently Green Jobs Coordinator for Co-op Power, and Chair of the Green Night Committee for Western Mass Green Consortium.

Jones, an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science/Plant Biology, helped create GCC’s RE/EE program. The RE/EE program curriculum develops knowledge and skills leading to expertise in the theory and practice of: building energy efficiency and renewable energy, solar domestic hot water, photovoltaic (solar electric) technology, energy conservation and efficiency, wind energy, insulation retrofits, sustainable design and green building, including landscaping. Jones teaches a key 4-credit science lab course in the program – Sustainable Energy: Theory and Practice.

In nominating Jones, Bair wrote, “Though many of us worked hard and long on the grant that installed GCC’s new RE/EE program, Teresa was truly the guiding light, the academic leader, the force that we all strived to keep up with! To write the amount of exemplary curricula in the first two years of the grant; to attend and help lead partner meetings; to recruit, hire, and guide so many gifted and committed instructors for the program; to shepherd so many new and non-traditional students, shows the intellect and the commitment that she brought to the project. The GCC program is known throughout Massachusetts and beyond for its pioneering creativity, integrity, and success. GCC is very lucky to have Teresa Jones teaching for them.”

Jones graduated from Yale University in New Haven, CT, with a double degree in Environmental Studies and History. She received her master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in Plant Biology. She has worked as a science reporter and co-authored a book on asthma. She began teaching at the high school level before coming to GCC in 1999. She currently teaches Botany, Horticulture and Sustainable Energy courses and serves as the Program Coordinator for the Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency (RE/EE) program.

Reflecting on the Award, Jones said, “I am thrilled to have the GCC RE/EE Program recognized by the Massachusetts West Branch of the USGBC. Our program is a testament to what a committed and collaborative team of people can do. We are so fortunate to have a deep talent pool here in this area. Organizations, businesses, professionals, tradespeople, instructors, students and private citizens who have been thinking and doing sustainable building and living for decades. It is this collaboration that constitutes our program and makes it so dynamic and fun. As the Program Coordinator, I often get credit for things that I could not possibly have created on my own. This award is really an acknowledgement of a broad network of people. A diverse and interesting group of students come to us because our instructors are real-world practitioners, our network with local businesses opens doors, and our courses continue to adapt to a continuously changing field. I look forward to the next decade of keeping our program engaged with innovation, opportunity and a positive vision of the future.”

Also honored by USGBC MA West with a Green Giant award was Sean Jeffords, an early employer to work with GCC’s RE/EE program in the Sustainable Practices in Construction grant for which Jones was the program coordinator and academic leader. Jeffords, a construction contractor and President of Beyond Green Construction, took his construction company seriously green years ago and changed the name of his company to Beyond Green Construction in 2008. He exemplifies sustainable practice by continuously seeking new information and techniques for himself, his crew, the subcontractors he works with as well as his clients and other colleagues. Sean welcomed interns from GCC and other educational programs so they could get essential hands-on experience putting classroom learning into practice and has hired graduates of the RE/EE program.

The Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Certificate and Associate Degree Option at Greenfield Community College was established through support from a Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund grant named Sustainable Practices in Construction (SPC).

Jones can be reached at (413) 775-1462 and at jones@gcc.mass.edu.

By Mary McClintock, ’82

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