The Planet had to laugh at the coverage given to the installation of solar panels at seven buildings at Berkshire Community College. Full disclosure: The Planet is an adjunct professor of English at BCC, which means I have many contacts there. Not all of them drink the Kool-Aid. Sure enough, there’s a story attached to this seemingly innocuous, and actually positive “green” story.
One would think the installation of these panels would have occurred AFTER the leaking roofs at BCC had been repaired. Apparently, that’s not how state government does things. Cart first, horse second. Consequently, too much of the 394 kilowatts of solar power on the BCC roof tops sit upon sieve-like leaks.
For example, The Planet knows of two egregious torrents, both on the second floor of the Field Administrative Building. The first is in the computer room at the west end of the hall. The second is in the women’s rest room several doors down. In offices along the corridor, you can spots water damage, particularly along northwest surfaces. Water is leaking into light fixtures onto computers, and elsewhere. During heavy rains, the school maintenance department employs high-tech methods of dealing with the leaks: They place buckets on the floor the collect the dripping water.
Upon these sieve-like surfaces, the state, in its wisdom and under the seal of the governor’s Leading By Example program, installed the solar panels.
I’m no electrician, but The Planet recalls that water and electricity don’t like each other. Besides the obvious fire hazard, leaking water creates mold, erodes inner wall surfaces, caqn cause “sick building” syndrome, and flat out looks embarrassing.
What’s that? You say they DID fix the roofs. Then why were there leaks in both the Field and Hawthorne buildings during the most recent heavy rain? Of course, BCC had a press conference about the solar energy installation. Fortunately, nature cooperated by giving them a dry day.
Local and state officials attended, including Energy and Environmental Secretary Ian Bowles. Senator Ben Downing, in his recent update newsletter, had a self-serving blurb on all the PR back-slapping. Downing’s headline: “Welcome to Pittsfield, the “solar capitol [sic] of the Commonwealth.” Yup, some funky in his office used the wrong word. This usage takes “capital.” The Planet advises the senator to enroll this person in my next Comp 101 course.
Downing had a link to the Berkshire Eagle’s glowing coverage. How much you wanna bet he won’t link you to this story in The Planet? We risk our set of Davy Crockett iron-ons, so sure are we.
TODAY’S TOP 5
Who are the Top 5 most underrated musical acts in the rock-pop era? The Planet lists them. Note that we aren’t considering commercial success a factor. We mean: Did the music critics take them seriously or understand their music.
(2) Abba. Critics dismiss Abba as a couple of pretty faces. Did they ever listen to the music?
(3) Carpenters. Karen and Richard fashioned classic songs performed brilliantly. 5-Star.
(5) Tie: Dave Mason, Robin Trower, Nils Lofgrin. Three for the ages.
The Planet invites you to submit your choices. Who did we leave out?
Pittsfield as “a rich cultural hub”? Direction fine, but it’s not there yet.
The city of Pittsfield entered the “Mayors’ Arts Challenge Video Contest.” In the film, Mayor Jimmy Ruberto “talks about how arts and culture in Pittsfield helped revitalize the area and transform it into the rich cultural hub we see today.”
In case you didn’t guess, the quote comes from “Cultural Pittsfield’s” weekly press release.
Now The Planet, being artists ourselves, applauds Ruberto’s emphasis on culture and the arts as part of the downtown mix. We just don’t agree with the city’s portrayal. Downtown is not yet “the rich and cultural hub we see today.” It’s taken modest steps in that direction, but it’s far from being there. Want to experience “rich and cultural hubs”? Go to downtowns in places like Burlington, Vt., Northhampton, Mass., and Portland, Me.