Twice Ellie and I have opened our home to host a solar tour of homes through Milwaukee Shines. There is a growing interest in renewable energy in Milwaukee and this organization has made great strides in organizing communities to participate in group solar buys. Milwaukee Shines has a wealth of information to help guide the homeowner through the purchase of a new system.
As a result, 92 home and business owners have installed new solar electric and solar hot water systems totaling 322 kW of clean, renewable energy. – Milwaukee Shines, 2015
We were early adopters of the electric car, purchasing the first commercially available electric car in Wisconsin. Participating in the tour allowed us to answer many questions on the performance of solar panels and electric cars. We hope by sharing our experience we can help others make similar choices.
Susan Bence, a reporter for NPR, has a knack for covering all issues related to being green. Several times she has reached out to us for interviews and comments to help round out her stories. It is important for us to share our experiences to hopefully inspire others. My wife and I value our community, the environment and how we choose to live in it. We’ve made deliberate choices that don’t always make financial sense, but they help preserve a healthier future for our daughter and for our planet.
Ed Begley Jr is a leading activist for the green movement globally. He is currently finishing a 4-year project to rebuild his home to LEED platinum standards, the highest green rating a building can achieve. Earlier this year his contractor reached out to Bostik asking if my company would donate adhesive to glue down 3,000 square feet of reclaimed hardwood flooring. Bostik has an adhesive product unique to the flooring industry that uses recycled materials, creates a moisture barrier and improves the acoustics in the home. The use of this product helped contribute to the LEED points within Ed’s home. My team worked to film the glue down process of the reclaimed floors. The video and press release aired in Times Square and has generated a large amount of interest from the press.
Milwaukee Shines decided to hold a press conference to announce the solar group buy for Washington Heights. A solar group buy organizes neighborhoods to purchase panels at a discounted rate. Located close to Washington Heights, our home became the example and backdrop to kick-start their latest program. Local neighbors came with questions, while news and TV reporters showed in full force to record Mayor Tom Barrett’s statement on Milwaukee’s renewable progress. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the mayor and it was an honor to meet him and help promote renewable energy.
I grew up surrounded by farms and subsequently spent a large amount of my childhood on farms with friends and neighbors. My dad, being a produce manager, made sure our family was no stranger to fruits and vegetables. Every spring I would help till and plant the large garden on our property. In the summer I would help my mom weed the many flower gardens in our yard. When fall came around I would help collect all the tomatoes to either cook them for dinner or prepare them for canning.
Five years ago my wife and I bought our first house and filled the small backyard with herbs and vegetables. As you can imagine, our first attempt was not successful. We walked away with only five delicious tomatoes and one tiny pepper. They next year I covered the garden beds with a custom mix of dirt and the results were astounding. The resulting wall of tomato plants was taller then me while the cucumbers where out of control. Our garden food not only tasted better than the imported store goods, but it also gave us a tremendous sense of accomplishment and independence.