2006-11-30

First Branch Sustainability Project Is Getting Started

By Emily Marshia

By Emily Marshia

"A combination of rising fuel costs, international politics and global climate change has prompted a group of concerned citizens to form The First Branch Sustainability Project," reads the introduction of an email circulating around central Vermont from Chelsea resident Phillip Mulligan.

One of this project’s first initiatives is called the Solar Hot Water Challenge. Mulligan and a small group of area residents have set a goal to steward the purchase of 50 solar hot water heaters in the area by May 1, 2007. So far, they have received 85 inquiries from people interested in the project.

The group evolved out of some Tunbridge planning sessions based on a call to action around society’s dependence on fossil fuels and global climate change. Ideally, members would like to "reinvent life without fossil fuels. In doing so we think we will strengthen our community’s economy, air and water quality and quality of life."

Group members Kathryn Parlin of Chelsea, Rob Benson of Vershire, Hannah Dennison of Washington, Chris Wood of Strafford, and Dan Retz of Hartford are curseeking affiliation with an established organization to acquire non-profit status.

Most recently, there is an effort underway to assist people with constructing their own solar hot water heaters, as opposed to purchasing a pre-made unit, to help save money. The committee estimates that in Vermont, a solar hot water system can supply 95% of a household’s hot water needs in the summer and 50% in the winter.

For more information, contact Phillip Mulligan at 685-7784 or phillip@sover.net.

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