EcoFest 2019 250


The town's 2019 EcoFest teemed with energy -- and a steady stream of people to participate and learn.

On Sunday, March 3, the free event revved up those at Town Hall with this theme, "Power Day."

Here are some snapshots of what occurred from 1 to 5 that day, organized by Arlington Mothers Out Front and Sustainable Arlington:

-- Net-zero condo: This year’s energy theme highlighted opportunities for residents to make energy-conserving and renewable-energy decisions about home-heating and -cooling, electricity purchasing and transportation options.

To do that, Seth Federspiel, a town resident who is a net-zero planner for the City of Cambridge, gave four tours of his retrofitted, net-zero condo. That means his home produces as much electricity as it uses. His aim: to show what can be done with Arlington's existing housing stock. See more below.

-- HeatSmart: The town’s new program was introduced, with the four heating and cooling technologies available. At its own table was HeatSmart Coach Andy Winslow and technical consultant Jeremy Koo of Cadmus. Among the guests speaking about "What YOU Can do to Save Energy, Money and the Planet" were Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine; Josy Raycroft, Byggmeister; and Winslow.

-- Not adults only: Rachel Oliveri, the public schools' sustainability coordinator, provided photos with this report showing the Peirce Green Team students running the wind-energy activity; "The Trashformations' student recycled-art exhibit, featuring projects from Bishop, Brackett, Thompson and Ottoson; and three Bishop Green Team students in front of their project.

-- Mothers Out Front: Andrea Winslow, a coordinator of the group, which helped organize EcoFest, wrote that at a March 4 meeting members debriefed on highlights. They were:

* One attendee from Quincy wanted to see what Arlington was doing about local green, so she could report back to city lawmakers. She would like to push them to take the progressive stance that Arlington's local government has taken.

* The guided tour of a “green” condo was really illuminating for people. It made the idea of energy efficiency concrete, real and possible.

* The panel on energy efficiency was well attended; an estimated 40 to 50 people listened to each presenter speaking for about 15 minutes. "The audience really seemed eager to learn more about how to insulate their homes and wanted to know more about HeatSmart and what heat pumps were all about," she wrote, adding that the HeatSmart table was flooded with interested parties all afternoon.

Music, electric cars, bikes

At 1:30 p.m. Diane Taraz of Arlington presented a concert for families with young children in the Lyons Room, second floor of Town Hall.

Elsewhere, local electric car owners and their vehicles were on hand, as were reps for local bike-share company Lime Bike, which had an electric bike and scooter.

Larry Slotnick, cochair of the Recycling Committee, said that his group's table drew lots of discussion about food-scrap diversion, the town's three community drop-off locations and the three private services that provide curbside pickup.

On behalf of Department of Public Works, the committee sold five counter-top food-scrap collector bins.

Sustainability club

The Arlington High School Sustainability Club took part. One club member, Lena Goodnow, connected to an organizer at Caffe Nero when she saw a Mothers Out Front bookmark. As a result, she came to the Mothers Out Front February meeting and then organized the club to have a table at EcoFest. Goodnow said the club wants to be part of EcoFest next year.

Other highlights included refreshments by the FoodLink Cafe as well as local volunteer and nonprofit groups.

Federspiel provided further background about his home and lifestyle, in sync with EcoFest values. He wrote that his two-family net-zero condo, through which visitors toured, was converted with the following strategies:

* Insulation and air sealing;

* Replacement of oil-fired boiler/radiators with air-source heat pumps as sole heating source;

* Installation of solar photovoltaics to meet 100 percent of energy demands; and

* Installation of solar hot water with electric backup.

He also drives an electric car.

Koo, the tech consultant for Cadmus, wrote:

“Heating and cooling accounts for about a third of our state’s greenhouse gas emissions and a majority of energy consumption in Massachusetts homes. While folks are increasingly familiar with renewable electricity technologies (like solar and wind) and electric vehicles, there is fairly low awareness of and misconceptions around clean heating and cooling technologies and the broader role of heating in contributing to climate change (even among some of the most sustainability-minded folks in Arlington).”

He called the HeatSmart Mass. program an important part of the state’s comprehensive push toward achieving long-term emissions targets and aims to promote clean heating and cooling technologies, including air- and ground-source heat pumps, solar hot water, and modern wood heating.

The official HeatSmart kick-off event in Arlington is scheduled for Thursday, March 28, in Town Hall auditorium and in Winchester on March 31. 

Feb. 6, 2019: State chooses town go-green effort to address heating, cooling

Feb. 6, 2018: EcoFest 2018 (Greenward) spurs 500 to Town Hall

March 21, 2016: Climate-change theme leads more than 400 to flood EcoFest

This news announcement was published Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, and updated Feb. 22, to add details. It was updated to a news summary March 6. 

Facilitating information for this report was Brucie Moulton, cochair with Amos Meeks of Sustainable Arlington, one of the three Envision Arlington environmental committees. She is also a team coordinators for Arlington Mothers Out Front, with Nili Pearlmutter and Andrea Winslow.