Homeowners and builders are going green to reduce heating and cooling costs and do their part to preserve the environment, and a growing cluster of Merrimack Valley companies is helping them do it.
One Lawrence firm builds devices that convert the sun's rays to useable electricity, while another makes extremely energy-efficient housing.
A company in North Andover provides one-stop shopping to residential and commercial customers looking to reduce energy bills, while another is helping lessen the carbon footprint of New York City skyscrapers.
And a New Hampshire builder is using cutting-edge technology to reduce energy use in a subdivision in Methuen.
The Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council has identified at least local 16 companies involved in environmental or green technology and is working to attract more of them to the region, council President Robert Halpin said.
"This is a small but fast-growing segment of the economy," he said. "Nationwide, it's growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy."
Here's a look at five of the eco-friendly companies:
Nexamp Inc.: A Prius on the roof
At Osgood Landing in North Andover, an enormous rooftop solar array helps meet the power needs of the former Lucent Technologies plant, which is being converted to a mix of commercial, retail and light manufacturing space.
The company that installed the array is Nexamp Inc. of North Andover, formerly NexGen Energy Solutions.
Company president Dan Leary started the solar installation company two years ago and was joined by North Andover High School classmate Will Thompson. Since then, they have ridden the wave of interest in all things "green" to new offices, a 15-person staff and a host of clients.
The company also does work on geothermal, wind and micro-hydro projects.
"There are hundreds of different types of products out there," Leary said. "We try to get our customers the one that make the most sense to them."