‘Clean Energy Community’ earns solar panels for building

By Kitty LeShay - ReminderNews
Ashford - posted Thu., Jun. 16, 2011
(L-r) Green Folk Band members Ryan Wilcox, Chuck Eaton, Meg Ryan, Gregg Valentine and Cliff Birtwell entertain at the clean energy celebration.  Photos by Kitty LeShay.
(L-r) Green Folk Band members Ryan Wilcox, Chuck Eaton, Meg Ryan, Gregg Valentine and Cliff Birtwell entertain at the clean energy celebration. Photos by Kitty LeShay.

Two years of dedication and work toward a goal of clean energy culminated in a town celebration at the Babcock Library.

Members of the Ashford Clean Energy Task Force, the Board of Selectmen and Conversations for a Green Connecticut have helped to make a small rural town the forerunner of the Green Movement.

The June 10 celebration was more of a beginning than an end. It was an informational session as well as a party, and tables provided participants with information on geothermal and solar energy, as well as ways to conserve with traditional energy providers.

Following the 2009 decision by the Board of Selectmen to purchase clean energy for the town, the Ashford Clean Energy Task Force was formed in 2010 and dedicated itself to the goal of having Ashford’s municipal buildings purchase 20 percent of its energy from clean energy sources. “We went through all the electric bills and figured out how much extra it would cost to sign up for clean energy. Anyone or any municipality can sign up through their electric company,” said Susan Eastwood, chair of ACETF.

Once the town met its 20 percent goal, it qualified to receive solar panels, which were provided free by DCS Energy through a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The goal of both ACETF and Conversations for a Green Connecticut is to inspire and educate people to reduce their carbon footprint by promoting clean energy and energy efficiency. To do this, the group reaches out to the community by posting tips at the library, hosting regional workshops, partnering with community groups and particularly reaching out to students in schools. “We have a lot of young people here tonight. It is a turning point because up to now we have had older people, mostly homeowners. We want to target younger people because we want to establish good green behavior early,” said Jane Cercena, an organizer for ACETF.

Guests listened to speakers, checked out the informational tables, listened to music provided by students from UConn and enjoyed refreshments.

With 93 Ashford households signed up for clean energy, committee members know the work goes on to bring more people aboard.


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