Roost editor Sandy Stott is on vacation. This post was written by Ken Lizotte, president of the Board of Trustees, Thoreau Farm Trust.
How is Thoreau Farm like the Juno spacecraft now circling our largest planet? Hey, that’s an easy one. Both are powered by the sun!
For Juno, this was the only way our space engineers could keep Juno on course and, now, keep it circling our largest planet. For Thoreau Farm, solar power was the last ingredient in the environmental recipe set in motion by Henry himself when he insisted that our natural surroundings were sacred and something to observe and persevere, not destroy.
It’s been a long haul for us to reach this pinnacle of self-sustaining reality. This journey began 20 years or so ago when the early saviors of Thoreau Farm wisely decided fulfilling Henry’s ecological legacy was worth building into The House’s very foundation. Since then, a long proud list of respect-for-the-earth practices has been building to a crescendo. As proof, skim down this sample from our “How We’re Green” webpage:
- Siting – The House faces south for passive solar heat and light
- Shade tree on the south lawn cools house in the summer
- Daylighting – use of windows and skylights for light
- Low or no VOC paints, sealants, adhesives, carpets and composite woods
- Locally grown and milled clapboards
- Soy and cellulose-based insulation
- Roofing made from 95% post consumer recycled material but looking like traditional cedar shingles
- Clivus Multrum composting toilet system – waste is broken down on site!
- Night sky friendly outdoor lighting
- Rain water collected in barrels for watering our gardens
- Local materials utilized whenever possible
Now one last ingredient has been added, a cozy solar array at the far end of our gravel parking lot, the culmination of literally years of determination on the part of our trusty Board of Trustees and our former executive director Nancy Grohol. As a result, solar energy promises to power most, if not all, of The House’s energy needs. So would Henry be proud of us? Yes, I bet he would.
But wait, a few more thank-you’s: To all of you Thoreauvians who contributed personal donations over the years designated to ensure that this would happen. And thanks too to Solect (Hopkinton) and to Solectria (Lawrence), two Massachusetts solar energy firms who also donated a combination of their own time, equipment, know-how and resources to get this system installed and up and running for a minimum of the next 20 years! That means the sun supplies us with heat, lighting and cooling (yes, AC too!) exactly as it powers the Juno spacecraft. To these solar wizards’ dedication, willingness and expertise, we can only humbly bow and tip our Henry-like straw hats in heartfelt gratitude.
Want to learn more about how we’re green? Just click here for a full list of how we’re achieving that: http://thoreaufarm.org/thoreau-birth-house/how-were-green/
Or come by The House sometime and take a good look at the solar array for yourself. Oh, and don’t forget to come inside and visit Henry’s birth room while you’re here. Without that blessed event, none of the rest of this would be happening!