Boston 500: Challenge to Save Energy

Tomorrow, June 1, is a big day in Boston. In the midst of a heat advisory with temperatures expected in the 90s, a broad coalition of 40 community organizations and businesses are joining Mayor Menino in the Boston 500: Challenge to Save Energy, a citywide day of action to save energy, save money, and save the planet. Volunteers and organizers at more than 25 events in 12 Boston neighborhoods will aim to sign up 500 Boston residents for no-cost Renew Boston home energy assessments and weatherization.

The first Boston 500 event kicked off at 8am this morning at the administrative offices of the Boston Public Schools. The staff charged with supporting our youngest Bostonians were introduced to energy conservation strategies and became the first Renew Boston sign ups of the Challenge.

Sean Attri engages a Boston Public School staff  member about Renew Boston in the first Boston 500 event.

Sean Attri talks to a Boston Public School staffer at the first Boston 500 event.

At 9am tomorrow the Challenge begins with farmers, growers, and neighborhood organizations in Adams Park, who will celebrate the grand opening of the summer’s first Roslindale Farmers Market. GreeningRozzie will be giving out free trees with energy assessment signups and Boston Building Resources will display energy saving and green products for the home.

At 10:30 Boston’s Chief of Energy and Environment, Brian Swett will kick off a press conference outside the Jamaica Plain home of Laura Sylvan. Swett will announce exciting new energy efficiency incentives for Boston duplexes and triple deckers.¬†Sylvan, the owner of a triple-decker, is hosting an “Energy Open House” from 10-12pm to invite neighbors to kick the tires on her new ¬†Total Climate Control heating and cooling system and insulation installed by Renew Boston provider Next Step Living. Her’s is one of four “Energy Open House” events hosted by past Renew Boston customers on the day.

Volunteers and Renew Boston partners will fan out to a 5K “Let’s Get Movin” walk/run in East Boston, a Family Fun Day in Southie, a Family Rowing Day in Brighton, a haircuts and energy savings event at Biz Barbershop in Mattapan, and scores of diverse activities from Hyde Park to Chinatown.

Throughout the day volunteers at each event will tally up their Renew Boston sign ups, hold up a Boston 500 checkered flag with their number on it, and snap a photo. A speedometer will be updated hour by hour on as the coalition drives toward 500.

Next Step Living estimates that, with a typical rate of conversion from sign up to energy assessment and weatherization, reaching 500 Renew Boston sign ups could eliminate the carbon pollution equivalent to taking 46 cars off the road for a full year and save residents over $50,000 on annual energy bill in addition to reducing noxious emissions that cause respiratory diseases and creating new green jobs.

This weekend hundreds of Boston families will take simple but powerful steps toward improving the health, economy, and environment of their household and this city. The goal of the Boston 500 is to catalyze the transformation of Renew Boston from an impactful city-led program into a grassroots movement for change. The children heading to school in today’s heatwave are counting on it.

View today’s Boston 500 press advisory.

See photos and updates on our Facebook page and via the #Boston500 tag on Twitter. Watch the speedometer rise toward 500 at

About Josh

Josh Lynch works to bring people together for clean energy and green jobs. As Co-Founder of Energy Action Coalition, he was instrumental in building a diverse youth-led alliance that has become a force in U.S. politics. Serving as Campaign Manager for Green For All in 2008, he coordinated Green Jobs Now, the first national day of action for green collar jobs. In 2009 he led the Green Recovery For All Initiative, empowering low-income people and people of color to leverage stimulus dollars for green collar jobs and training. Josh graduated from the College of Wooster with a major in Philosophy. He now lives and works in Boston.

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