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 260 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. If you are interested in getting solar you can check out more information at, or contact Martin Plass (one of the Belmont Solar Coaches) at

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

A Plymouth Barred Rock Hen poses for the camera.

A Plymouth Barred Rock Hen poses for the camera.



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:

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.

Gas Leaks Presentation

Gas Leaks in Belmont: A Presentation with Belmont Chapter of Mothers Out Front and Sustainable Belmont

Wednesday, April 27
7 PM
Assembly Room, Belmont Public Library

Did you know that within its 4.6 square miles Belmont has 80 gas leaks, with the oldest dating back to 1996? Of these, only 7 are scheduled to be fixed within the next 12 months. Gas leaks are coordinated with road repairs as much as possible, but still, every year the numbers increase. Here is a link to a map showing Belmont’s gas leaks as of December 2015, when there were 90 leaks.

Why should we be concerned about gas leaks? Public health and climate change. Gas leaks are a threat to health – they exacerbate asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Methane – the gas leaked – is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Who pays for the leaked gas? We do. The costs for lost gas are passed on in billing and the gas company has little financial incentive to fix all but the worst leaks. Learn about efforts to hold gas companies accountable for fixing leaks and what you can do to help.

Free and open to the public.

Can’t go solar? You can still make the switch!

Make the Switch

Remember, you can *always* make the switch. When you consider donations to social causes, consider the switch to clean energy among your choices. By participating in Mass Energy’s “Make the Switch” to clean energy, you purchase renewable energy and send a strong message that Massachusetts households want more renewable energy. Your donation is 100% tax deductible.
Logo for Make the SWITCH; a leaf merges with a power cord
To get started, go to and click “Make the Switch”. When asked to choose a utility, if you are a Belmont resident, select “My utility is none of these”. Because Belmont has a municipal utility, you won’t have your clean energy purchases coupled within your utility bill. Instead, you can offset your estimated monthly electricity consumption – or any amount of your choosing – through Mass Energy’s New England Wind Friends program. From the New England Wind Friends page, select “Click here to sign up” and complete the form to set up a monthly payment.  The site has a feature to help you estimate your monthly payment, which for the average household ranges from $12 to $23.

Presentation: Kick Gas with Electric Vehicles

Wednesday, March 2
7 – 9 PM
Assembly Room, Belmont Public Library

Join us for a panel discussion with Belmont residents who have recently gone electric with their cars. Learn about the financial and environmental benefits and some of the challenges. Four different cars will be in the parking lot for viewing.

In MA, about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions are from the transportation sector. By transitioning away from petroleum to cleaner electric vehicles, emissions can be dramatically reduced. Learn how rooftop solar works with electric vehicle charging – charging and operating costs; financial and emissions benefits.

Come see how easy it is to kick gas!
2013 nissan leaf

Learn about: General costs of operating an electric vehicle; Charging options; What’s cool about this technology; How EV’s lower greenhouse gas emissions.