365 Stories to Go Green | Medford

To remind us all that there are simple ways to help the environment every day of the year, the Medford Energy Committee has set a goal to collect 365 stories about what people in Medford are doing to GoGreen.

 

Please scroll to the bottom of the page and share your stories by submitting a comment below.  Even better, record and post a video telling your story of going green.  Need some inspiration of things you can do to Go Green, see our tips.

For every 50 stories submitted, the Medford Energy Committee will randomly draw a winner to receive a small prize.

Please share your name and in which section of Medford you live/work!

117 thoughts on “365 Stories to Go Green | Medford”

  1. This is such a great idea!! 🙂 I have been a Medford resident since 2003 (12 years already, wow). In the house that I currently own, the previous owners had made no green renovations, and had not a single flower on-property. In the 1.5 years of our ownership, we have done so many things to “green up”. The list is long, so I’ll just post the ones that come quickly to mind here:

    1) We are a certified wildlife habitat and a monarch waystation. We live along the “Over the Mystic” walking route, so we’ ve hung signs on our property to encourage walkers to notice how much you can do even on a small plot of land. As part of these certifications, we’ve planted a ton of native plants and flowers (including milkweed, which is essential for monarch reproduction). Almost everything on-property is now native, edible, or annual (with only 2 exceptions). We’ve provided shelter, water, and food for insects and birds (bird houses, water baths, insect hotels, etc).

    2) We have installed rainbarrels, and re-directed the water flow from our gutters.

    3) We have installed a vegetable garden, replacing the useless yew bushes that were previously inhabiting the space.

    4) We have added a roofdeck using all sustainable materials, including bamboo decking from CaliBamboo.

    5) We have purchased (but not yet received or installed) a honeybee hive to promote pollinators

    6) When we needed a new car, we purchased a Prius-V (the ultimate family vehicle for environmentalists!)

    7) We did the Next Step living energy assessment, and implemented most of their recommendations (and updated all of our thermostats, lighting, etc).

    8) Because we have decent walkability to the Fells and to Medford Square, we walk! A lot! 🙂

    9) All of our energy is renewable, thanks to the National Grid Renewable Energy program (paying a few cents more can go a long way!).

    10) We have committed to all-organic lawn care, including composting and NO other fertilizers or pesticides. We use a push-reel lawn mower.

    11) Of COURSE we reduce, reuse, and recycle. Besides the typical recycle bins, we also call catalogs to discourage sending them (to reduce junk mail and thus reduce the recycling load). We re-use kids clothes and toys via the MFN swaps and local friends. And whatever cannot be reduced or re-used is recycled.

    So many other things as well, but this is plenty for now!!

    Go Medford! Go Green!

  2. This past spring we got to use our first barrel of compost, which we used to fill containers for tomato plants. We also installed our first rain barrel and were amazed at how much of our watering needs it actually met. This year will include more compost, a second rain barrel, and we’ll aerate the lawn to reduce runoff.

  3. I’ve been a member of the energy committee for 5 years but this year I bought a hybrid car. My 2013 Honda Insight has been great! Most of my driving is in the city where I’m currently averaging 34+ miles/gallon. When I’m on the highway, long trips routinely get above 44 mpg. The fuel efficiency is great but the user interface also promotes safer driving by incentivizing more deliberate acceleration. It’s the best choice I could have made when purchasing a new car. My hope is to keep it for the next five years and then, hopefully, buy whatever completely electric vehicle is on the market. But that’s a story for the future!

    1. UPDATE: I’ve gotten better at driving the car! I’m now up to 40+ mpg city driving and routinely get 50+ on long highway trips.

  4. One day my husband convinced me to join this competition called the Energy Smackdown. As part of it we reduced our electric consumption by changing lightbulbs and figuring out what was drawing lots of electricity in our home. We cut our energy use by almost 40%. I was hooked! Just from changing lightbulbs and unplugging things!

  5. This is great!

    So, I went and got rid of my lawn and put in native low bushes, flowers and groundcover. I’m still working out the details, I’ll admit, as there’s still plenty of raking to do, and weeding didn’t stop just because there’s no grass. But I’m very happy to not be mowing or watering anymore! We ended up going with lots of varieties of thyme, sedums, some low blueberry, rose, cranberry, sages and holly.

  6. We insulated our 1925 home with Aircrete, a zero VOC, nontoxic cementitious spray foam. It isn’t as airtight or as high an R-value as some other spray insulation, but it’s been effective and was reliably safe with kids in the house. We also redid our kitchen with flourescent fixtures (this was ~6 years ago now, so LEDs were still expensive!), Energy Star frig, low VOC paints, engineered Quarts counter with recycled materials, and no-added urea formaldehyde cabinets. We also got an induction stovetop – that is Awesome! a bit pricey, but more efficient energy use for faster cooking speed and more direct power than gas or resistance electric.

  7. – Encouraged people in my area to do recycling
    – Educate people; make people aware about CO2 emissions to shut down their computers when they are not using them.

  8. We came to Circle the Square to recycle Styrofoam. I believe in making extra efforts like this to save the earth since everything we do hurts the earth so much more than 100 Years ago.

  9. I don’t have a green thumb, but I have been trying to build a city garden in my back yard. Each year has been a bit better and I am happy to say that this is the first year that I have successfully started planting from seeds and not starter plants. It’ s a start!

    Additionally, my son and I walk to school on most days to cut down on pollution and get morning exercise!

  10. I walk to Medford Square from my house instead of driving. I got a rain barrel and compost bin within the past year. I sleep downstairs in order to avoid using another air conditioner and I recycle a lot- I often have to tamp down my recycling bin to fit everything in! I also always take the T into Boston instead of driving!

  11. I use Baystate textiles for re-use of those clothes that no one wants. I recycle all paper and cardboard at work. I stopped using pesticides and herbicide on my lawn. I bought a hybrid vehicle and I compost!

  12. Many members of the Fells Dog Group have gone into the Medford woods cleaning, hauling bags and bags of trash (and dog waste) out to keep the area clean.

  13. I try to Go Green whenever I can! I ride my bike and take public transportation whenever possible as well as try to shop locally. I recycle everything I can and buy most of my clothes from second hand stores. I also try to limit my meat consumption.

  14. I recycle and try to make the city greener. i have a neighbor who has a garden where she grows all of her vegetables.

  15. I recycle paper, plastic, and aluminum. I compost and walk places when possible. I also try to dry my clothes outside.

  16. My family recycles plastic bags and recycles plastic, cans, and paper and cardboard. We go to our recycling room once a week.

  17. We Compost, bike and bike, use biodegradable detergents and products, recycle and reuse, and use no plastic bottles and bags.

  18. I compost and use reusable water bottles. We are thinking about going solar! We use high efficiency condensing boiler. Our house is also fully insulated.

  19. What am I doing to go green? I have been trying to help my high school with going green as an environmental science student. I have been trying to educate my peers with my knowledge of what has been going on with our environment. I have been trying to remind my peers to recycle their recyclables such as papers, plastics, and other items.

  20. I am more green today because I live with a teenager. My daughter 3 years ago asked to start a compost bin. Being a dad that wants his daughter’s support, we are now a composting family. The children can lead the way- Adults just need to follow!

  21. We participated in Medford’s energy smackdown TV show. We have solar panels, compost, and recycle everything. I bike to work.

  22. We bought a rain barrel and compost bin through the city. The rain barrel has helped us save on our water bills. We think Medford should continue and expand these programs!

  23. We compost in our backyard, recycle and try to keep our trash to the minimum. We use cloth diapers, cloth wipes, and napkins. We don’t use paper in the kitchen and use reusable containers whenever we can. We use reusable bags for groceries. During events we try to bring reusable plates, cups, etc and wash them. We drive a hybrid and walk/bike whenever possible.

  24. A group of 8 of us went away, but to save on gas and keep the air cleaner we only took 2 cars and chatted the whole way!

  25. I don’t own a car so I rely exclusively on public transit- shout out to the 94 and 96! I am conscious of my red meat consumption and stay vegetarian 40% of the time. I bring my water bottle everywhere I go. I’m thinking about getting a soda stream to fuel my sparkling water habit and looking into ways to offset my travels by buying carbon credits.

  26. At my house we recycle a lot. One day at school me and my friends noticed all the trash around the park. We started picking up the trash right away. We spent recess picking up all the trash.

  27. We recycle all old fabric, shoes, pocketbooks.
    After washing; bedding and towels go to pet shelters in need. Clothing is donated.
    Clothing that is worn out is washed and dropped-off for recycling in the drop-off bins located outside at Medford Schools. The old shoes and pocketbooks are cleaned as best we can and also put those in the bins.

    The to-go food container trays we get from Chipotle restaurant are recycled by giving them to local pet shelters.
    The waxy cardboard bottom dish and aluminum top we clean and save. The animal shelters can use these to feed feral cat colonies dry kibble and more uses.

    We have (2) rain barrels to collect water from the roof downspouts about 8 years now. Used for watering outdoor plants.
    We use no pesticides or herbicides in our yard.
    And last week I had my first sighting and amazing visitor to the yard, a huge, Praying Mantis. We just watched him and he watched us.

  28. I’m posting on behalf of Steve from the Universalist Church on High Street.
    The church is very excited about energy efficiency and has changed out all of their incandescent lamps to compact fluorescents.
    They use a programmable thermostat for their heating system controls and have switched to cleaner burning natural gas.
    The church is also big on recycling.
    They would like to do more too!

  29. I bought and installed the rain barrel from City Hall and now use it to water our garden. We also have been composting and recycling!

  30. I am a demon for recycling. I make our family actual landfill contribution very small. We also compost our vegetable waste and grass clippings.

  31. My old office didn’t recycle so I would bring mine home, then started collecting others. Over tune people would tell me that my example was affecting their practices at home. Felt good to make a difference.

  32. All LED’s or CFL’s in the house, wifi enabled thermostat, energy efficient water heater, lower thermostat.
    Our motto is “Layer Up, before you turn it Up!”
    Hybrid car, collecting used water for plants, etc.!
    Recycling Recycling Recycling!

  33. We recycle, compost, reduce, reuse, upcycle + are changing over from compact fluorescent to LED’S. We also make most of our purchasing of “things” used. Collect rainwater + garden.

  34. My whole life is dedicated to going green. I work with Next Step Living and our work is dedicated to making the world more green!!

  35. Have over 600 square feet of organic vegetation. Have golden raspberries and wheat grass.
    Took down deck, re-purposed all deck wood into flower beds.
    Next year rain barrels and composting.

  36. I started with reusable bags, always in the trunk.
    Thrift stores, why buy new when you can keep things out of a landfill and help people in need?
    Donate gently used stuff to keep it out of landfills.
    We have a vegetable garden, composter, we recycle…and work & shop local!
    Rain barrels in garden & drip irrigation.

  37. My grandfather opened the first recycling company in the state of Massachusetts.
    To continue the legacy we recycle, compost, donate old clothing and anything we can think of to do our part 🙂

  38. We aggressively recycle! We installed low flow shower heads and toilets.
    – turn off lights
    – use CFL light bulbs

  39. Replaced bulbs with CFL bulbs, going to LED soon. Wrapped water heater with insulation and hot water pipes, too.

  40. We are hanging our wet laundry outside to dry. And we are letting our grass go brown and dry. And we are grilling pizza instead of turning on the oven to cook it. And we don’t always flush when we pee. And we flush with buckets of laundry water/rain water.

  41. I was contacted by National Grid to do a FREE audit of my home. They came by and made recommendations for energy improvements at no cost. This is a GREAT program.

  42. got solar panels, Dave bikes to work and the rest of us take public transit, recycle, insulated home and replaced windows, LED lightbulbs – that we keep off when not needed, smart thermostat, rain barrel (but not much rain yet!)

  43. Thanks to the Harvest Your Energy Festival we had a consultation with SunBug Solar and installed both PV solar panels as well as a solar hot water system. This has almost negated our net electricity use, and has greatly reduced our gas wage. In addition, during a recent home renovation we improved our insulation, tried to chose green products (marmoleum flooring, richlite countertops) and installed a heat pump for heating and cooling. We’re also trying to use rain barrels for watering our garden.

  44. – Shut lights off when not using space.
    – Unplug appliances not in use.
    – Use electricity during non-peak hours when possible.
    – Line dry laundry.
    – Take MBTA or walk when possible.

  45. I bought my 1st compost bin 1 month ago and use it every day. I’m glad to help the environment – and benefit my garden!

  46. We put in solar panels 3 years ago. We used mass save for loan for new windows. We need to get a rain barrel.

  47. I bike to work (downtown Boston) year round – so I help reduce congestion and don’t use a polluting mode.
    Please improve cycling infrastructure so more people can safely bike.
    If you reduce lane widths a tiny bit on Mystic Ave it can easily accommodate bike lanes. Please.

  48. My green story begins with my daughter. She demanded and we the Osborne family followed by purchasing a compost bin from the city. For the past two years we are and continue to be a composting family.

  49. At home, we get our electricity currently from New England GreenStart (costs an extra 2.4c/kWh, but well worth it). Our home adjoins the Fells, with fabulous tree cover to keep the home cool in summer, but also makes rooftop solar currently impractical. I have attempted to purchase a community solar contract, but waiting lists are long and apparently not moving due to the regulator stalemate.

    I bike commute to Kendall Square nearly every day. Our annual car mileage is only about 7,000 miles/year. And I bike for as many local errands as possible.

    In my work at MIT OpenCourseWare, I promote our free climate change and sustainability education resources, such as https://mitopencourseware.wordpress.com/climate-change-courses-in-ocw/ and http://climatex.mit.edu/. I’m also active in the Fossil Free MIT group, which started with a push to divest the MIT endowment but has also branched well beyond that initial focus.

    This year I plan to learn how to facilitate the Global Climate Simulation, a role playing exercise of the UN climate change negotiations for groups, developed by Climate Interactive (https://www.climateinteractive.org/programs/world-climate/). I hope to bring this into Medford High School and also perhaps run it with other interested community groups.

  50. My landlord completed a deep energy retrofit of our apartment several years ago. He added solar thermal heating, rainwater cisterns, raised garden beds, and energy star appliances. The home also incorporates passive solar. It’s a great home to live in.

  51. Shut lights off when not using space. Unplug appliances when not in use. Use electricity during non-peak hours when possible. Line dry laundry. Take MBTA or walk when possible.

  52. I bike to work 16 miles each day to Lexington, drive an electric car, and recycle. We are also adding trees to our backyard.

  53. We continuously recycle everyday. We have purchased a rain barrel and I commute to and from Boston everyday on the bus (MBTA)

  54. We don’t use pesticide lawn care and we have rain barrels. I am a public transit aficionado and avid cyclist. I am an architect by profession and LEED certified projects are a passion.

  55. – Changed all bulbs to LED
    – Installed window insulation
    – High efficiency A/C
    – New low-flow shower fixture
    – Use the NEST system
    – No pesticides in garden
    – Bike around town and use public transportation
    – Recycle
    – Used eco-friendly, recyclable diapers

  56. I make sure to take public transportation 2-3 days per week to limit pollution and congestion. Hoping for a more walkable Medford!

  57. – Installed mini-split heating/cooling system
    – Installed high R value spray foam insulation
    – Recycled wood floors
    – LED lighting
    – Daylight lighting timers

  58. Recently purchased energy efficient and water efficient washer and dryer units for my home. Also had MassSave come and insulate our attic and fix drafty doors which helped our winter energy consumption go way down.

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