As of January 10,2013 Package Machinery is completely moved into, if not completely organized in, its new facility in Holyoke, MA.
We are still finding our way through nonessential things, extra chairs and file cabinets, to the essential ones, like our machine shop and work in process.
In making our move decision, we were driven by living what we recommend to others – Do it Sustainably. We learned a lot about how hard it is to do it sustainably.
Our new location is definitely an inner city one with all the benefits and drawbacks of being in an older city. HOlyoke clearly understands what it needs to do to attract business back to its urban core and we are pleased to be a part of that. We are lucky that Holyoke has the greenest power supply in Massachusetts – the Connecticut River hydroelectric plant, supplemented by fields of solar panels. This not only provides a lower cost source of electricity but the greenest we could find. And, yes, fish can get up the dam through an innovative fish elevator.
We were happy to learn that rehabbing an existing building is better for the environment than building new. Our building is 80 years old and built in three pieces, one of which is close to bomb-proof. It is also a museum to generations of old telephone systems and electrical lines but we have been able to simplify that.
Our first steps were to decide what we could afford to do, what had to be done and what we would like to do. The third category got discarded almost immediately. The first is answered by the second and the second became somewhat negotiable.
For instance, we decided we would love to do a green roof and the building could support it, but we uncovered that another part of the roof was in desperate need of replacement. The green roof that might reduce storm runoff is shelved for now. The gray roof in the picture is the compromise of what is needed and what will reduce the heating and cooling demands on the building. Fortunately we were able to add extra insulation to provide further protection.
Replacing an antiquated oil-fired hot water system with a new HVAC system seemed obvious, but the necessitated lots of wall repair as well as duct work.
Safety was also a consideration. We could have moved into the building and operated as is, but we chose to make some changes. So we have upgraded all the fire safety signage and exit lighting. That will remain a work in process as we work through improvements to an older sprinkler system.
We are making a virtue of necessity. Glass block windows could be replaced by new double paned ones but that fell in the third category. So we are enjoying the diffused light of the glass blocks and reminding ourselves they provide some insulation.
December evenings and weekends found me as painter in chief. While this gave scope for my underdeveloped artistic talents, it quickly became far more time consuming than I anticipated. Low or no VOC paints were the order of the day. But as the old heating system gave out, I found that my hands were less coordinated at 52 degrees than I would like and the trim work suffered.
Fortunately, in the nick of time before the pipes froze, we were able to get the new heating system up and running. Christmas weekend found me skipping the hullabaloo and painting up a storm so that we could get carpet down the day after Christmas and move our stuff while our customers were enjoying the holidays. I never enjoyed Christmas more and shopped less. And I still got to cook my favorite dishes.
The carpeting was important, since we wanted to recycle the existing carpet and buy new recycled carpet tile. We were successful in the purchasing of new but returning the old carpet for recycling was cost- prohibitive. I count this as a failure in our trade off between green and being respectful of the budget.
I do know that, as much as we sold a lot for scrap and recycled as much as we could, we put too much in the dumpster.
While I see a few more painting jobs in my future and scope for my gardening talents in the spring to improve the exterior, I am more happy to refocus on the great things that lie ahead in 2013 and the new customers with whom we will be partnering to create innovative machines in our new home.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
from all of us at Package Machinery