Sam is a life-long environmentalist, who along with his wife, pioneered methods of soil and groundwater bioremediation. He has retrofitted his house in numerous ways. He had solar panels and heat pumps installed, insulated in his home, and purchased an electric vehicle. For him, electrification was not just a matter of efficiency, but also health. He sought to minimize indoor air pollution by moving away from natural gas and coal. Perhaps the largest restriction for him was technology like heat pumps not being developed sooner. He believes that it is important to be critical minded when it comes to evaluating newer technologies like heat pumps, and continues to evaluate them for performance and repair needs. If you are curious to know more about his choices, he even has a sign in front of his home to let you know to ask him yourself!

Why do you support Green Newton?
Both me and my wife were environmentalists before Green Newton was even created, and I was happy to see a local organization. There weren’t many other environmental groups around when I joined Green Newton 25 – 30 years ago.

How have you retrofitted your home?
I grew up during the great depression era, and have always had an energy efficiency mentality. My home on Halcyon Road was built in 1928. Margaret and I purchased our house in 1972, and first we added insulation into the walls and later into the attic. I fixed it up and have added improvements over the years. I have had solar panels for 15 years, and heat pumps for about 10 years. I also own a Tesla.

Why did you commit to these changes?
With most of the retrofits I wanted to cut down on my carbon emissions. Another one of my concerns was indoor pollution. I didn’t want to use natural gas or coal inside of my home.

Have your neighbors done any retrofitting?
Many houses on my block face south. Five homes have solar panels installed.

Ryan Schwartz is a Northeastern University sophomore and a Green Newton intern.

Headline photo by Ryan Schwartz.