Find Out About Composting at Forum at Watertown Library

On Sunday, November 3, 2019, a free public forum on the how and why of composting will be held at the Watertown Public Library from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Almost half of the “trash” thrown away in the U.S. could be composted instead of taken to landfills, and almost half of that is food. It is estimated that American families produce an average of 20 pounds of food waste per month. If not composted, all of this waste has to be transported from individual homes to landfills, a process that requires a large amount of fossil fuel; once the food waste reaches the landfill, it is sealed in airtight enclosures that emit greenhouse gases. Every pound of food thrown away results in 3.8 pound of greenhouse gas emissions. Composting is one way for ordinary people to reduce the consumption of fossil fuel and the production of greenhouse gases.

What It Would Take For Watertown to Have Net Zero Energy Schools

An example of a solar array canopy with a timber frame in a parking lot. They can be made of other materials, including metal. Architects showed the School Building Committee what it would take to make Watertown’s new elementary schools net zero — so the campus would generate enough energy to cover the electricity used to run the building. Watertown will be building two new elementary schools — at Cunniff and Hosmer — and school officials seek to make them not only green schools, but are looking at possibly making them net zero schools. Wednesday night, architect Scott Dunlap of Ai3 Architects, told the committee overseeing the project that the energy would be generated by photovoltaic (PV) solar panels.

Entries being Taken for the Watertown Mall’s Scarecrow Contest

The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Mall:

The Watertown Mall is hosting its 28th Annual Scarecrow Contest. Scarecrows can be entered individually or in groups, and there is no entry fee. Your group could be family, friends, co-workers, classmates, teammates, or business. This is a great way to get ready for the Halloween season, show off creativity, and get involved in your community and even advertise and promote your business! The scarecrows will be up for display from October 18 through October 31, 2019.

Watertown Residents Can Receive Discount on Solar Systems

The following information was provided by Neighborhood Solar:

Right now, Watertown, Belmont, and Cambridge residents, businesses, and nonprofits can save 20 percent on a solar installation, receive a 30 percent federal tax credit, and apply for a zero-down loan to get the work done! The program, with its 20 percent discount off the medium price of residential solar installations in 2018, runs only until Oct 3rd! Please join Watertown For Peace, Justice, and the Environment, Green Cambridge, Mothers Out Front in Cambridge, 350 Mass Watertown and Cambridge Nodes, and Neighborhood Solar for an informative presentation on the benefits of installing solar and why now is the perfect time to consider it. Parents and caregivers: feel free to bring children. When:  Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Time:  6:30-8:00 p.m.

Where:  The Cambridge Senior Center

                 806 Massachusetts Avenue

                 Cambridge, MA  02139

Neighborhood Solar is a local nonprofit working to leverage a group-buy to make solar power more affordable.

Plan Calls for Planting Hundreds of Trees in Watertown

Town officials seek to plant 250 trees a year in Watertown, some of which will be done by the Town, but others will be done by non-municipal groups. Those groups include Trees for Watertown. Pictured here, Watertown resident David Jay of Trees for Watertown plants a tree outside Hosmer Elementary School in honor of Arbor Day. Hundreds of trees will be planted in Watertown each year as part of an effort to increase the number of street trees and tree canopy in town. The Tree Planting Program calls for planting 2,500 trees over 10 years.

OP-ED: MBTA Behind on Climate Change Adaptation

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger of Belmont who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston:

At a recent MBTA board meeting, it became alarmingly clear that the MBTA is behind in its planning for climate resiliency.  Add that challenge to the challenges of catching up on maintenance, assuring safety, and expanding service. Andrew Brennan, Senior Director for Energy and Environment, explained to the board that the MBTA completed a “high-level” vulnerability assessment of the system in 2017.  His presentation materials are here and his talk begins at 2:55 in this livestream of the June 10 board meeting. The 2017 high level assessment revealed the obvious: Namely, that the most exposed asset is the Blue Line and that the greatest risk to the Blue line comes from flooding due to sea level rise. Only months after the assessment, the winter high tide of 2018 flooded Aquarium station. As to the lowest lying assets on the Blue line (Aquarium station and the Orient Heights Maintenance Facility), more detailed engineering studies have been completed to identify just how they would be flooded and what can be done to protect them: for example, raising openings like vent shafts and raising the most water sensitive components like transformers.

UPDATED: Watertown Electrical Customers Moving to New Green Energy Program in Fall

Watertown’s new electricity plan will get half its energy from renewable sources, such as solar panels. NOTE: A fourth informational meeting has been added, see details below:

In September, Watertown residents will be transitioned to the Town’s new Electricity Choice Program, which gets half its power from renewable sources. Customers have a choice to opt out of the program, or to get a greater percentage of green electricity. The new renewable energy contract will be part of the state’s Community Choice Aggregation program. In May, the Town Council gave Town Manager Michael Driscoll the authority to approve a contract with a greater amount of renewable energy that required by the state.

DPW Trying to get Watertown to Clean Up its Recycling

Residents will soon be able to purchase a second recycling toter – the green one – for less than before. With the recycling world in flux, the Department of Public Works is trying to get Watertown to clean up its recycling in an effort to maintain service and keep prices down. Jesse Myott, the DPW’s director of Administration and Finance, said that the facilities that take the recyclable items from the United States have become more strict about what they will take. Loads with the wrong type of materials, or those that are dirty or soiled with trash are being rejected. “Back in 2018 we saw significant change with regards to the global processing of recycling,” Myott said.