Author Archives: Kate Bowen

Belmont Drives Electric!

belmont-drives-electric

This new community-run program, sponsored by Sustainable Belmont, Belmont Energy Committee, Belmont Light and Belmont residents, promotes the use of electric vehicles in Belmont. Based on the highly successful Belmont Goes Solar model, the program includes pre-negotiated deals with local car dealers, Belmont Light monetary incentives, and community volunteers available to answer your questions.

Converting from a gas-combustion powered car to an electric vehicle could cut your transportation carbon footprint by half.  Save money and help reduce Belmont’s carbon footprint.

Belmont Drives Electric is also working with Belmont Light and the town to implement public charging stations for EV’s in Belmont and get some electric cars for the town fleet. We will keep you updated on the progress. Please talk to your town representatives to support this program. Thank you!

Events!

Nov. 12, 2016
Belmont Drives Electric Information & Test Drive Event

Info Session: 1:30-2:30pm
Test Drives: 2:30-4:30pm
Belmont High School Cafeteria & Parking Lot

Why is now a great time to consider an EV in Belmont? How do electric vehicles (EVs) handle in the snow and cold? Are EVs budget friendly? Come find out answers to these questions and more at a free public educational event sponsored by Belmont Drives Electric on Saturday, November 12 from 1:30 to 4:30 pm. During the information session, Belmont residents can find out about time-sensitive cost-saving incentives, need-to-know information regarding charging an EV, the environmental benefits of EVs, and other important information, such as efficiency of EVs in cold weather as well as maintenance and overall cost. Belmont EV owners will discuss their experiences and there will be time for questions and answers.

After the one-hour information session, EVs will be available to test drive a variety of EVs and PHEVs (plug0in hybrid electrical vehicles) and there will be a live demonstration of how to charge an EV.

Refreshments will be served.
Rain or shine!

For more information, please see the flyer here: Flyer – BDE Nov 12 Info Event.

December 15, 2016
EV Info Event & Test Drives at Belmont Light Open House
3-7pm
Belmont Light, 40 Prince Street

Details to be announced

More info:  www.belmontdriveselectric.org
To talk to a volunteer EV coach 617-855-5405
or email: Help@BelmontDrivesElectric.org

2017 Green Belmont Garden Tour: Map

Front Yard Garden

You can do a lot with a front yard. Gone are the days of manicured lawns, English privet and the like. Design for drought and plants that give back!

Map Options

Enter for a chance at a rain barrel or compost bin at the gardens or visit or the Beech St. Center.

Thank you to Organizers: Jeri Weiss, Nancy Forbes, Martha Cohen, Lucia Gates, and Jan Kruse for their ongoing dedication in organizing the tour. Thank you to all the generous gardeners who opened their yards to our community. We always welcome new volunteers and gardeners – please contact Sustainable Belmont to volunteer.

We hope you enjoy the 7th annual Green Belmont Garden Tour – a tour of varied organic and sustainable gardens that will inspire you to create an environmentally friendly, attractive and productive outdoor space of your own. These gardens, whether big or small, all make excellent use of the available space and sustainable practices.

Shade gardens provide a great retreat. Design with leaf variety in mind to create visual interest. Photo Credit: edgeplot

Shade gardens provide a great retreat. Design with leaf variety in mind to create visual interest. Photo Credit: edgeplot

What do we mean by “organic?” Organic landscapes do not use toxic pesticides and herbicides and instead focus on building resilient, nutritious soils that support strong, healthy plants and conserve water and other resources. The goal is to create a healthy environment for homeowners, children, pets and wildlife – especially birds, butterflies and our most important pollinators, bees.

You will see many types of gardens, some focus primarily on vegetables, others on ornamentals, and many on both. There are gardens with fruit trees and berry bushes, with sun and shade environments, rain barrels, compost bins, chicken coops and beehives. Please ask your garden host questions about anything you are curious about. We hope you take home some ideas you can use!

7th Annual Green Belmont Garden Tour

Volunteers jump for joy for our 2016 winners of the rain barrel and compost bin raffles.

Volunteers jump for joy for our 2016 winners of the rain barrel and compost bin raffles.

Sunday, September 10
11 AM to 3 PM – rain or shine!

Gardens throughout Belmont
Pick up Map at 266 Beech St*

Sustainable Belmont is hosting its 7th Annual Green Belmont Garden tour. This free, self-guided garden tour highlights a variety of safe and healthy organic garden practices.

See how gardeners in Belmont have changed practices after last year’s drought. Learn about hearty perennial fruits, annual vegetables, and landscaping plants. See different composting methods firsthand. Talk with the gardeners about all their growing habits!

Compost tea is a popular new approach for organic plant inoculation and cures. Photo Credit: Michael Desmond Cox Photography of Belmont, 2013

Compost tea is a popular new approach for organic plant inoculation and cures.
Photo Credit: Michael Desmond Cox Photography of Belmont, 2013

This year enter a chance to win a rain barrel or composter at each garden you visit.

The more gardens you visit the better chances of winning! This raffle is an effort to help reach out to the Belmont community on issues of sustainability and to encourage healthy yards care in Belmont. If you are already on our mailing list, you may still enter the raffle and residency is not a requirement.

*Printed maps can be picked up from the Beech Street Center at 266 Beech Street on September 10, 2017 from 11 to 3 pm. Download and print or follow using Google Maps via this link on the morning of the tour (page will not be available until then as a courtesy to our participating gardeners).

Volunteer! We are *always* looking for volunteers to help with the tour. Please email Jeri Weiss at sustainablebelmont@gmail.com. Thank you!


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Rooftop Solar in Belmont

In November 2015 the Belmont Light  Board implemented a new solar-friendly policy after years of discussion which provides a feed-in tariff for solar power that is fed back into the grid at 11 cents per kWh. This has spurred an explosion of solar installations in Belmont, mostly through the Belmont Goes Solar community campaign, which runs from January 2016 to March 2018, and has brought more than 290 new roof top solar systems into town so far.  The federal and state incentives are still very lucrative and together with the Belmont feed-in tariff makes solar systems affordable. State-level financial incentives which represent a third of the installation cost will be expiring very soon.  If you are interested in getting solar you can check out more information at BelmontGoesSolar.org, or contact Martin Plass (one of the Belmont Solar Coaches) at mplass@zeroplus.us.

Read more about Solar in Belmont:

2016 Green Garden Tour Map

Front Yard Garden

You can do a lot with a front yard. Gone are the days of manicured lawns, English privet and the like. Design for drought and produce!

Down load and print the Green Garden Tour Brochure with Map or pick up a printed copy at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St. Belmont, MA.

Enter for a chance at a rain barrel or compost bin at the gardens or visit or the Beech St. Center.

You can follow along using Google Maps, too!

Thank you to Jeri Weiss, Nancy Forbes, Priscilla Cobb, Martha Cohen and Lucia Gates for their ongoing dedication in organizing the tour. Thank you to all the generous gardeners who opened their yards to our community. We welcome new volunteers and gardeners – please contact us to volunteer.

We hope you enjoy the 6th annual Green Belmont Garden Tour – a tour of varied organic and sustainable gardens that will inspire you to create an environmentally friendly, attractive and productive outdoor space of your own. These gardens, whether big or small, all make excellent use of the available space and sustainable practices.

Young chickens and their young chicken keeper.

Young chickens and their young chicken keeper.

What do we mean by “organic?” Organic landscapes do not use toxic pesticides and herbicides and instead focus on building resilient, nutritious soils that support strong, healthy plants and conserve water and other resources. The goal is to create a healthy environment for homeowners, children, pets and wildlife – especially birds, butterflies and our most important pollinators, bees.

You will see many types of gardens, some focus primarily on vegetables, others on ornamentals, and many on both. There are gardens with fruit trees and berry bushes, with sun and shade environments, rain barrels, compost bins, chicken coops and beehives. Please ask your garden host questions about anything you are curious about. We hope you take home some ideas you can use!

Green Garden Tour is Sunday!

 

Winners of the Rain Barrel Raffle at the 3rd Green Garden Tour.

Winners of the Rain Barrel Raffle at the 3rd Green Garden Tour.

Sunday, September 11
11 AM to 3 PM – rain or shine!
Residences throughout Belmont
266 Beech St for Map*

Sustainable Belmont is hosting its 6th Green Garden tour. This free self-guided garden tour highlights a variety of safe and healthy organic garden practices. See how gardens and gardeners in Belmont have weathered the drought. You can visit gardens and meet the residents growing everything from flowers to vegetables, raising chickens and guinea pigs, composting and keeping bees!

Compost tea is a popular new approach for organic plant inoculation and cures. Photo Credit: Michael Desmond Cox Photography of Belmont, 2013

Compost tea is a popular new approach for organic plant inoculation and cures.
Photo Credit: Michael Desmond Cox Photography of Belmont, 2013

This year enter a chance to win a rain barrel or composter at each garden you visit. The more gardens you visit the better chances of winning!

*Garden tour maps can be picked up from the Beech Street Center at 266 Beech Street on September 11, 2016 from 11 to 3 pm or download your map here on the morning of the tour!

Volunteer! We are looking for two volunteers to help at the Beech St. Center. Please email Jeri Weiss at sustainablebelmont@gmail.com

A Plymouth Barred Rock Hen poses for the camera.

A Plymouth Barred Rock Hen poses for the camera.


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2016 Rain Barrel Time!

Belmont Residents Can Purchase Discount Rain Barrels

It’s rain barrel time in Belmont residents. Six years ago Sustainable Belmont partnered with Great American Rain Barrel to help residents conserve water and reduce flooding. To date, Sustainable Belmont has sold over 233 barrels. (Considering that each barrel holds 60 gallons of water that’s at least 13,980 gallons of water residents are diverting from Belmont’s over-burdened sewer-system each year). And, your plants will be happier to have non-chlorinated water feeding their leaves and roots!

Pictured are the green, gray and black rain barrels available for purchase through the discount program.

Great American Rain Barrel Discount Purchasing Program

Because of space requirements to store them at DPW, this discount program is offered just once yearly in the spring.

Each UV protected polyethylene rain barrel is manufactured in the USA from a recycled shipping drum and stands 39″ tall by 24″ wide and weighs 20 lbs. empty. The barrel comes complete with overflow fittings, drain plug, mesh screen for keeping out bugs and leaves, and a threaded spigot with a choice of two ports to use with either a watering can or a garden hose. The rain barrel arrives with simple instructions for fast and easy installation.

The Great American Rain Barrel comes in three colors; Forest Green, Earth Brown or Nantucket Gray and cost $75 to Belmont residents versus the retail price of $119; or $70 for an unpainted barrel.

To take advantage of this Belmont program please go to: https://www.greatamericanrainbarrel.com/p-124-great-american-rain-barrel-belmont.aspx

or call (800)251-2352.

The deadline for *ordering* is Sunday, June 18th at 5:00pm.
Barrels will be available for *pick up* Saturday, June 25th from 9:00-11:00am, at the Belmont DPW on C Street.