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Home Show speakers draw crowds eager for greener lifestyle

  • Visitors to the Better Greener Living Show at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield talk to vendors Sunday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • A vehicle from Valley Solar and a trolley sit outside at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield during the Franklin County Better Living Show Sunday, April 23, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Visitors to the Franklin County Better Living Show at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield talk to vendors Sunday, April 23, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Visitors to the Franklin County Better Living Show at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield talk to vendors Sunday, April 23, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt



Recorder Staff
Sunday, April 23, 2017

GREENFIELD — Now in its 10th year, Greening Greenfield’s role in the area has grown as the national discussion around climate change has become divisive.

On Earth Day, and on the same day as Boston and other major cities marched in the name of science, Greening Greenfield held its Franklin County Better Greener Living Show at the fairgrounds, in partnership with the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce.

About 120 people came through to the Franklin County Fairgrounds over the two-day, weekend event to hear various speakers discuss ways to help live a more sustainable life, while finding ways to cut costs.

“Ten years ago there was this wave of people wanting to do something,” Greening Greenfield member Nancy Hazard said. The spark in interest to find ways to help protect the environment, helping to improve personal and communal quality of life leveled out in recent years

She continued: “Things have been even until (President Donald) Trump was elected.” The new president’s Environmental Protection Agency head official Scott Pruitt recently threatened to leave the Paris agreement, which was intended to help fight climate change internationally. “I hope that the silver lining is getting people reactivated to do something.”

Greener Greenfield invited in 16 speakers to teach community members about topics from beekeeping to gardening to solar energy. Most lectures were well attended, filling up the available seating.

“The quality of workshops we have going on here are on par with any large conference,” Greener Greenfield member Spartan Giordano said. “It speaks to Franklin County’s humble but deep knowledge.”

In the event’s final presentation slot, Sally Pick, an environmental consultant, spoke about ways people can make their homes more energy efficient. Though solar energy is the sexy move, she stressed to try to make the home as efficient as possible first. This includes everything from switching to energy-saving light bulbs to caulking attics for escaping warm air.

For now, Pick said that there are still many state and federal programs to help encourage electricity efficiency. She recommended Mass Save and Clean Heating and Cooling rebates. Mass Save will perform a free energy assmeent, Pick said.

Greener Greenfield spoke about its mission 10 years ago to get 10 percent of homeowners to pledge to reduce their energy spending. In 2008, the group was able to get about 1,000 homeowners out of the 8,000 in Greenfield to make the pledge, surpassing their goal, Hazard said.

“I think Greenfield is way ahead of a lot of our neighbors,” member Peter Letson said. “Partly because of the work we’ve done and partly because the mayor has gotten on board.”

Despite the dreary weather Saturday, a decent crowd showed up to the fairgrounds. Emma Stamas noted that a significant portion of the people who came walked away with concrete ideas of what they can do back home.

“People come out on a weekend to do this for free because they care about their community,” Hazard said.