News & Events

Ribbon Cutting Marks Opening of River Valley Co-op’s Net-Zero Grocery Store

River Valley Co-op marked a significant milestone, building their second co-op on the 20,000 SF location on Northampton Street in Easthampton, MA. A pivotal step in the organization’s expansion took place on Thursday, July 1st, 2021, with their ribbon-cutting ceremony. River Valley Co-op is a community-owned food cooperative that specializes in fresh, municipal, and organically grown groceries, prepped meals, and overall health.

The new co-op location is being recognized as one of the first net-zero energy grocery stores in Massachusetts. Net-zero energy refers to the balance between the amount of energy used versus generated on-site. For example, in partnership with Co-op Power, the River Valley Co-op installed a nearly 1 Megawatt solar array that covers the roof of the store and includes a solar canopy covering the majority of the parking lot.

During the ribbon-cutting Mayor of Easthampton, Nicole LaChapelle stated, “The co-op coming to town brings so many wonderful dynamics. [Number one being that it’s] net zero. Easthampton has a strong commitment to go net-zero itself. This facility is cutting edge [with] the first solar canopy. It really leads [by] example for both businesses and residents”.

A row of electric vehicle charging stations at River Valley Co-op.

The project planning, design, and construction team included Wright Builders, Co-op Power, Solar Design Associates, PV-Squared, Berkshire Design Group, Thomas Douglas Architects, National Co-op Development Co-op, Tighe & Bond, and several local subcontractors and specialists in high-performance buildings.

Working in tandem with the co-op and the expansive project team, our engineers provided energy modeling services early in the design phases to evaluate various design alternatives including HVAC systems, building envelope, and lighting systems for the River Valley Co-op.  Tighe & Bond provided the basis of design concepts that leveraged high efficiency dedicated outdoor air systems and air-source heat pump systems to provide the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning for the building.  Enhancements to the HVAC systems also include a variety of indoor air quality features such as improved filtration, increased fresh air, and bi-polar ionization air cleaning technology to address concerns relative to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tighe & Bond also provided electrical engineering services for the building in support of power systems, lighting, and interface with the extensive solar PV infrastructure on site.

As a community-owned grocery store, fundraising and financial investment from customers and community members were critical to funding the new co-op location. Our team also used their expertise to work with energy provider Eversource to design a substantial array of electric vehicle charging stations in the co-op parking lot. Tighe & Bond aided the client with the necessary applications for Eversource’s Make-Ready grant funding and the state’s Smart Program to fund the installation of the charging stations.

Immediately following the ribbon-cutting both co-op members and non-members were able to grab a shopping cart and experience the new branch of the co-op for the first time.