As a part of Medford City’s 385th anniversary, the Energy Committee conducted a campaign for Medford residents to share their sustainable activities. The goal of this campaign was to stimulate discussions about environmentally friendly activities among residents, and encourage other residents to take part in such activities. Residents submitted their stories through Committee’s page on the City of Medford’s website or during various community activities, such as the Harvest Your Energy Festival. By the end of December 2015, 81 Medford residents shared their stories.

Medford residents shared measures that they are taking to create a sustainable Medford. The Committee divided these activities into 14 different categories. Some of the examples are recycling, composting, energy efficiency, gardening, utilizing public transit as primary source of transportation, and using renewable energy for electricity. Almost half of the residents mentioned implementing more than one sustainable measure, and nine residents reported more than three measures. Two residents have implemented at least seven different measures! The table below shows a list of the categories of measures, with the percentage of residents implementing each one.

Measures Number of Residents Percentage of Total Respondents*
Recycling 40 49.4%
Composting 17 21.0%
Energy efficiency 14 17.3%
Gardening 13 16.0%
Rain barrel 7 8.6%
Reducing consumption 7 8.6%
Biking 6 7.4%
Public transport 6 7.4%
Solar 5 6.2%
Hybrid car 4 4.9%
Cleaning environment 2 2.5%
Public awareness 2 2.5%
Organic lawn 1 1.2%
Renewable energy consumption 1 1.2%
*Note: The sum of percentage is greater than 100% due to multiple responses from many residents

We can see that almost half of the total respondents mentioned recycling and composting on a regular basis, probably as a result of Medford’s successful recycling program. The City also encourages residents to use rain water in their gardens by distributing rain barrels. Seven residents reported that they use rain barrels. Similarly, at least 17 respondents compost regularly at their homes. Thirteen respondents said that they maintain a garden at their residence. Some grow most of their vegetables in their own garden utilizing organic fertilizer prepared in their own composting bins.

The Committee also found that 17.3% of respondents implemented energy efficient measures at their homes, such as replacing incandescent lamps with LEDs and performing home energy assessment in order to see their energy consumption pattern and find out different ways to save energy. Five residents are installing solar panels at their homes in order to increase their consumption of clean electricity.

We also learned that residents are making changes in their transportation habits in their efforts to create a cleaner environment. 7.4% of residents told us that they use public transit as their primary mode of transportation. This is encouraging considering that no T train stops are located near a major Medford neighborhood. A similar percentage of residents reported using bikes for transportation. With the introduction of bike lanes in Medford, we hope that this number increases in coming years. Four residents shared that they are opting for hybrid cars instead of regular gasoline cars.

The other interesting trend we found through shared stories is that residents are reducing their consumption as a part of going green. In total, 8.6% of respondents shared that they are decreasing consumption by carpooling, using water bottles, etc. It is great to see that Medford residents think of ‘reducing consumption’ as a part of creating a sustainable environment. Increasing public awareness and cleaning the environment are other ways that residents are ‘going green.’

In all these stories, we noted a sense of pride. Residents find fulfillment in taking it on themselves to create a cleaner and greener future. Many residents reported that they are taking various sustainable measures because of their children. This shows that children are aware of the individual’s responsibility in creating a clean environment. Children in Medford are also learning the ways of ‘going green’ in their schools or through social media.

Because this was such an inspiring initiative, the Energy Committee has decided to keep it going under the project name “365 stories” to remember the importance of going green every day of the year. All of these stories are shared in our Committee’s page and can be accessed by clicking here.

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