Boston 500: Challenge to Save Energy

Tomorrow, June 1, is a big day in Boston. In the midst of a heat advisory with temperatures expected in the 90s, a broad coalition of 40 community organizations and businesses are joining Mayor Menino in the Boston 500: Challenge to Save Energy, a citywide day of action to save energy, save money, and save the planet. Volunteers and organizers at more than 25 events in 12 Boston neighborhoods will aim to sign up 500 Boston residents for no-cost Renew Boston home energy assessments and weatherization.

The first Boston 500 event kicked off at 8am this morning at the administrative offices of the Boston Public Schools. The staff charged with supporting our youngest Bostonians were introduced to energy conservation strategies and became the first Renew Boston sign ups of the Challenge.

Sean Attri engages a Boston Public School staff  member about Renew Boston in the first Boston 500 event.

At 9am Saturday the Challenge begins with farmers, growers, and neighborhood organizations in Adams Park, who will celebrate the grand opening of the summer’s first Roslindale Farmers Market. GreeningRozzie will be giving out free trees with energy assessment signups and Boston Building Resources will display energy saving and green products for the home.

At 10:30 Boston’s Chief of Energy and Environment, Brian Swett will kick off a press conference outside the Jamaica Plain home of Laura Sylvan. Swett will announce exciting new energy efficiency incentives for Boston duplexes and triple deckers. Sylvan, the owner of a triple-decker, is hosting an “Energy Open House” from 10-12pm to invite neighbors to kick the tires on her new  Total Climate Control heating and cooling system and insulation installed by Renew Boston provider Next Step Living. Her’s is one of four “Energy Open House” events hosted by past Renew Boston customers on the day.

Volunteers and Renew Boston partners will fan out to a 5K “Let’s Get Movin” walk/run in East Boston, a Family Fun Day in Southie, a Family Rowing Day in Brighton, a haircuts and energy savings event at Biz Barbershop in Mattapan, and scores of diverse activities from Hyde Park to Chinatown. BostonCAN volunteers will gather sign-ups at Egleston Farmer’s Market, at Daisy Field, and at JP Licks. Drummers from 350MA will join us at JP Licks from 2 to 4pm.

Throughout the day volunteers at each event will tally up their Renew Boston sign ups, hold up a Boston 500 checkered flag with their number on it, and snap a photo. A speedometer will be updated hour by hour as the coalition drives toward 500.

Next Step Living estimates that, with a typical rate of conversion from sign up to energy assessment and weatherization, reaching 500 Renew Boston sign ups could eliminate the carbon pollution equivalent to taking 46 cars off the road for a full year and save residents over $50,000 on annual energy bill in addition to reducing noxious emissions that cause respiratory diseases and creating new green jobs.

~Guest blog by Josh Lynch