Megan Amsler with the water tank for her backyaard solar thermal system.
By Sarah Murphy
Posted Oct 13, 2010 @ 08:28 AM
In recognition of 10/10/10, the day of international action to cut carbon emissions by 10 percent each year, the Falmouth Climate Action Team, in coordination with other Falmouth and Cape Cod organizations, hosted events to promote awareness and education about sustainability.
On Saturday, Oct. 2, homeowners opened their doors and offered practical tips and suggestions about how people can reduce their carbon footprint, as part of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association Cape Cod chapter’s green buildings tour. The event was organized by Cape & Islands Self Reliance and CIRenew.
A sustainable way of life
Megan Amsler of Hatchville grew up on an organic farm in New York, so for her, sustainability comes as second nature.
Amsler is the executive director of Self-Reliance, a nonprofit whose mission is to promote environmentally sound practices and sustainable solutions. She is also the co-chairwoman of the Falmouth Energy Committee, the treasurer of the Cape & Island Renewable Energy Collaborative and the Falmouth alternate representative to the Cape Light Compact.
She is passionate about practicing environmental awareness, and teaches a class on renewable energy at Cape Cod Community College.
“We raise chickens for the eggs and meat, and my car is run on biodiesel. It gets about 50 miles per gallon,” she said.
The roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, which she installed in 2009, provide electricity.
“I haven’t paid an electric bill since April,” Amsler said.
Her home also features a ground-mounted solar thermal system in her backyard for space and water heating. The system, which is made of recycled panels, was installed last spring as a field activity for Self Reliance’s Clean Energy Training Program. The program offers training to those in the construction business who want to add sustainability practices to their offerings.
Amsler said the first step for homeowners who want to practice sustainability is to get a home energy audit.
“Cape Light Compact provides them for free. They also have information about rebates for anything from light bulbs to appliances to solar heating systems,” she said.“They also offer information about tax credits for energy efficiency.”
Amsler added that even small steps can make a big difference.
“I’m constantly reminding my kids to unplug appliances that aren’t in use. I just want them to be aware,” she said.
The answer is blowing in the wind
Amsler’s in-laws Ron Zweig and Christina Rawley also have a long history with sustainability practices. They were some of the first employees of the New Alchemy Institute in the 1970s. Zweig is the Falmouth representative to the Cape Light Compact, and Rawley is the co-founder of the Falmouth Climate Action Team.
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