COLUMN: Sustainable Medford
DATE: October 26, 2006
AUTHOR: Jon Crowe
Medford Recognized at Alternative Energy Fair
The fourth annual AltWheels festival rolled into Boston last month as industry professionals, community groups and citizens gathered to celebrate renewable energy and alternatively fueled vehicles.
The three-day event featured fifteen high fuel economy cars now on the market, dozens of alternative energy vehicles already being used by local municipalities, schools, and businesses, as well as biodiesel, solar, electric, natural gas, ethanol and hydrogen-powered prototypes now in development. Exhibits from more than 80 transportation, energy and environmental organizations helped participants learn what steps they can take to create a sustainable future.
Medford was also represented in the second annual AltWheels caravan that kick started the weekend-long event. Mayor Michael J. McGlynn drove one of the City’s Ford Th!nk electric vehicles that are used in various municipal operations. The caravan ran five miles through Boston from the Larz Anderson Auto Museum to MIT and featured over 30 alternative fuel vehicles running on 16 types of fuel from hydrogen to vegetable oil.
The festival also honored individuals and organizations who are leading the way in renewable energy. Medford was one of three municipalities in the state to receive an award for its commitment to alternative transportation.
The city has long been at the forefront of energy initiatives. In 2001, it became the first municipality in Massachusetts to adopt a climate action plan, which set the course for efforts in energy reduction. Medford City Hall was fitted with solar panels and a new gas furnace, making it the only municipal building in the Commonwealth to obtain an Energy Star plaque for energy efficiency. In 2003, Medford was awarded a $483,000 EPA grant for low-emissions conversion of 70 school buses used
in Medford and surrounding communities. A state grant funded a similar retrofit municipal diesel engines this year. The city has also been integrating the latest energy efficiency technology in its new schools, replacing traffic lights with 90% more efficient LED bulbs, installing solar panels at Hormel Stadium, integrating biodiesel and electric vehicles into its cemetery division fleet, and investigating possible small-scale wind power projects that would provide schools with cheaper, cleaner energy.
Medford continues to promote clean, renewable energy through a city-wide GreenUp campaign. GreenUp is a state-funded program that gives cities money for renewable energy projects when residents elect to purchase clean energy through their power company.
With winter coming it’s a good idea to check your home’s insulating system. Look for insulation with a high “R value” to slow the transfer of heat through your walls and roof. Drafty cracks around windows and doors can dramatically increase your winter heating bill and should be sealed with caulking. The easiest and most cost-effective way to insulate your home is to add insulation in the attic. Get more tips to winterproof your home at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/tips/air_leaks.html.