How to Host a “Green” BBQ this Labor Day

Labor Day is this coming this Monday! Many of us honor the American labor movement and the end of the summer by getting together for a delicious BBQ, why not make it green?! A lot of people and a lot of food does not necessarily mean a lot of waste. There are many opportunities to make your get-together a green event. You can do so by minimizing your environmental impact through waste reduction and efficient energy use. Not only could you help our environment, but also save money and enjoy yummy food! So as you fire up the grill, here are some green tips on how to host a Labor Day BBQ that will reduce food waste, lower emissions, feed your friends, and save money!


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Reused Materials at Iconica Social Club

By Chiara Favaloro, Marketing Fellow 

There is an exciting new addition to downtown Northampton coming soon…Iconica Social Club! This multi-purpose space will serve as a juice and coffee bar, art gallery, event space, and a cozy upstairs study area. Owners Em and Fitzpatrick Withenbury have been working on the renovation of this unique space for over two years and found lots of building supplies from EcoBuilding Bargains! Fitzpatrick and Em say they had a “determination to reuse” and loved finding used items and fixing them up for their space. They noted that old things have much more character and are typically built better. Their renovations look amazing, and this unique space is sure to be a hit!

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Take The Quiz to Find Out How Much You Know About Climate Change

By Aliza Heeren, Marketing and High Performance Building Fellow

We are always striving to support innovations to reduce our impact on climate change, but how much do we really know about the most effective way to do that? Is it by switching to an entirely renewable energy system? Reducing our meat consumption? Driving electric vehicles? Each of our every day decisions make a certain amount of impact, but a new book, “Drawdown” by Paul Hawken, shows how certain choices we make may have a much larger impact than others. And some of these top solutions may come as a surprise.

Take this New York Times quiz to see how much you really know about the best way to reduce our carbon footprint.

Or check out this chart from “Drawdown” outlining the top 15 climate solutions and their potential impact. For the full list of the top 100, visit


Speaker Forum Recap

By Lexie Vining, Outreach and Education Fellow

This past Saturday, CET held its’ first annual speaker forum entitled, “What Can YOU Do About Climate Change?”, which focused on experts from our community that are addressing locally-relevant environmental issues. Speakers discussed innovative and tangible solutions to various challenges associated with climate change through psychological, political and community-based strategies.

To begin the day, there was a tour of the Hitchcock Center, which is considered a living building. Choosing this site as the location for our speaker forum was a natural decision based on the high environmental standard that the building is held to.

Attendees tour the Hitchcock Center for the Enviornment’s new living building.

According to the International Living Future Institute, Living Buildings are:

  • Regenerative buildings that connect occupants to light, air, food, nature, and community
  • Self sufficient and remain within the resource limits of their site
  • Create a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them

After the tour, we had the honor of hearing from our three speakers, Ezra Markowitz, Nancy Nylen and Solomon Goldstein-Rose. Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Ezra Markowitz, talked about behavior change and encouraged the crowd to consider the barriers that they face regarding daily decisions and relate that to environmental decision making. Associate Director at the Center for EcoTechnology, Nancy Nylen shared words on the importance of renewable energy technologies from years ago to current day. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, Massachusetts State Representative for Third Hampshire District spoke about the actions that we, as community members can take in order to help influence policy at a regional and statewide level.

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Father’s Day Sustainable Gifts

By Chiara Favaloro, Marketing Fellow

1. Every Day Sustainable Items– Make it easy for your Dad to go green by giving a gift that encourages him to be environmentally friendly every day! Reusable water bottles and mugs, decorative tote bags, reusable containers, fun dish towels, or a solar powered charger are all great options.

2. Eatable Gift– Make your Dad a gift basket with all of his favorite local and organic foods. Or bake him his favorite sweet treats!

3. Tickets to an Event– It’s the perfect season to enjoy a baseball game or outdoor music! Take your Dad to a fun event that you can both share together, rather than purchasing an item he doesn’t need.

4. A Solar Composter– Now that it’s the prime season for fresh produce, make sure your Dad has a sustainable way to dispose of all the peels and pits. EcoBuilding Bargains has Jack’s Solar Composters, which are easy to use in any yard!

5. Buy Vintage Items– Your Dad will love to have a “blast-from-the-past” item from a vintage shop, used book store, or antique store.

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