Newton Eco-project

 

The Newton Eco-project is part of  Green Decade Newton, a twenty year old environmental organization. Our mission is to help Newton residents make their homes and their lifestyle move sustainable. We have  a number of initiatives to accomplish this including:

Eco-teams: Small groups of residents working together in  ’teams’ to reduce their household carbon footprint. Team members create their own action plans that offer tips on how to live in Newton,  with our cars and older homes, etc, and minimize our environmental impact. To find out more scroll down to Eco-teams below. To join an Eco-team on “Join A Team”

Mass Save: Helping residents take advantage of NSTAR’s residential energy program that offers no cost home energy assessments, free CFLs and programmable thermostats, subsidized insulation, rebates and 0% loans. To schedule a free home energy assessment click here

Go to the referrals page for a list of contractors who work in Newton and provide services that qualify under the Mass Save program. Finally if you have any problems or questions navigating the Mass Save program, the Eco-project is here to help, just e-mail us at newtonecoproject@gmail.com with your questions. We are familiar with each part of the program and can approach Next Step Living and NSTAR on your behalf. 

Resources: Providing residents with local sources for goods and services that provide energy related products. Often residents want to do more than what the Mass Save program provides and we can help by offering  residents resources  for household energy analysis (thermal imaging, blower door testing), alternative energy systems (solar, geo-thermal, etc.) , deep energy retrofits and Zero energy houses.

Please note we have only just begun building these resources so our library may be thin. Check back if you don’t find what you are looking for or e-mail us with a question at    newtonecoproject@gmail.com  

What are Eco-Teams?

Eco-teams are designed to help people make voluntary changes in the way they interact with the environment. The program organizes households into groups called Eco-teams. Teams meet four times, usually in each other’s homes. They work through an easy to use workbook that shows how to make lifestyle choices and household improvements to dramatically reduce their carbon footprint, thereby reducing green house gases and global warming.

Eco-teams learn:

  • How lifestyle choices can make your household more eco-friendly and less costly to run.
  • How to order a free home energy audit and take advantage of the rebates, weatherization and energy loan programs that are currently available.
  • How to calculate your CO2 footprint with an easy-to-use carbon calculator.
  • What resources are available to further minimize your impact on the environment.

The Newton Eco-team Project is reaching out to community groups to become partners to help form Eco-teams.

Benefits:

  1. The Newton Eco-teams provide a way for individuals to address environmental concerns while reducing their household expenses.
  2. The program helps citizens access free home energy audits, weatherization, rebate and zero interest loan programs offered by NSTAR and other state & federal agencies.
  3. This conservation strategy yields immediate results, reducing the carbon footprint of Eco-team members with every action they take. We don’t have to wait years or decades to see results.
  4. The Eco-team Project helps Newton contribute toward the Commonwealth’s carbon reduction goals by 2020.
  5. Eco-teams build community by bringing people together into teams to help each other address the environmental crisis.

How do they work?

Eco-Teams are made up of groups of 5-8 people from different households, who come together to learn how to make lifestyle choices and home improvements that reduce their carbon footprint. Teams meet just four times, typically at each other’s homes. By tweaking the way we drive, use water, maintain our homes, use energy, buy things and throw things away, we can significantly reduce our negative impact on the environment. Homeowners not only help the environment but reduce their annual household expenses as well. Eco-teams build community by bringing people together to work toward leaving a more sustainable world for future generations. Eco-teams are a low-key, fun way to interact with your neighbors to help Newton become a more sustainable place to live.

What is the Mass Save Program?  

The Mass Save program is sponsored by our local utilities NSTAR and National Grid. It is a residential energy program paid for by a surcharge in our utility bills to encourage homeowners to reduce their energy  consumption by offering financial incentives and services to make our homes more energy efficient. The Newton Eco-project believes this is the most cost effective and efficient  strategy to make the older housing stock in Newton more energy efficient. 

What does  Mass Save offer?

First, the program offers no cost home energy assessments. This is the ‘free energy audit’ many of us are familiar with. It takes about two hours.  An energy specialist will access your home to find where energy improvements can be made. You receive a list of recommendations to make energy saving changes around your home such as adding insulation or upgrading your heating system. At the assessment the specialist will offer free CFL light bulbs to replace any incandescent  in high use area that can be worth over $100.

The energy assessment may qualify you for other incentives offered by Mass Save such as:

  • A 75% subsidy up to $2000. toward approved insulation up-grades
  • Rebates for heating and hot water equipment
  • 0% loan program for qualified heating, hot water and window replacements

How Can I Take Advantage of the Mass Save Program?

Simply call to schedule a free energy assessment at 866-867-8729. This is the number of Next Step Living, the utilities qualified assessment provider. Once the audit is complete, if you have any questions about the results or need referrals for contractors to quote the work contact the Newton Eco-project via e-mail at newtonecoproject @g-mail.com . We can help you navigate the Mass Save program so you can take advantage of the savings the program offers.

What resources are available?

The Newton Eco-project strives to be the place to go for residents  looking for resources to make their homes and lifestyles more sustainably. We are building a library of :

  • Referrals for local contractors who can perform household energy improvements under the Mass Save residential energy program so that Newton residents can get quotes and take full advantage of the rebates & subsidies offered through the program.
  • Resources for residential diagnostic and testing services for homeowners who want thorough energy analysis of the homes.
  • Resources for alternative energy systems such as solar, geo-thermal or passive heating systems.
  • Links to government resources for the latest residential tax and rebate incentive programs.
  • The Eco-team Action planner is full of homeowner ‘actions’ to reduce energy use and conserve resources. It includes tips on everything from driving, water usage, electricity usage to recycling and composting.

If you would like to contribute a resource, some energy saving tip or referral we would like to hear from you. Post  a message in the site. Eco-team members and neighbors involved in energy improvements in their own homes are our best resource.

Go to the referrals page to access our resources.

 Posted by at 5:22 am