Jamison Ervin of Duxbury, Vermont put together a great presentation with photographs, sketches, and easy-to-understand financials (including return on investment) for how her family took advantage of a septic system problem to make radical changes in their impact on the environment through a family garden, solar electricity, and solar hot water. It’s fun, easy to follow, and very informative. Check it out here: http://www.vecan.net/index.php/one-vermonters-leap-to-energy-independence/
By the way, if you’re thinking “solar … in Vermont?”, I don’t blame you: after all, we’re ranked 47th among U.S. states in annual days of sunshine at 49% (compared to first-place Arizona, which gets nearly twice as much sunshine at 85%). Yet solar is becoming increasingly popular in Vermont, and as Ervin demonstrates, it’s quite cost-effective. Germany, possibly the most energy-progressive country in the world, already supplies more than a quarter of its energy needs through wind and solar, much of it in the form of small home solar installations–though these have been made more affordable by government policies on buying renewable energy from small producers. Vermont, with 23% renewables, doesn’t lag far behind.