Phyllis Theermann

Special thanks to guest editor Matthew Hornung, WHS Green Team Member, grade 9

It caught my attention.

Russell Hornung helps his family observe their home’s energy use.

Russell Hornung helps his family observe their home’s energy use.

At one of Quentin Prideaux’s recent Climate Reality Project seminars co-hosted by Sustainable Wellesley, I picked up a “Residential Sustainability Checklist.”  As I scanned down the items on the checklist, I realized that my family had already completed most of them, so I went home and finished it off to turn back in.

As I later learned, the checklist I completed for my family is part of a series of checklists Sustainable Wellesley created that share actionable items residence can do, going up in level from Sapling, to Tree, and so on.  With each new level, the requirements become more stringent and have a stronger positive impact on the environment.  For example, to qualify for the Sapling level (the first), one must only observe their home’s energy use, but for the Redwood level (the third), one must sign up for Power to Choose 25% green electricity.

When I approached them, my family was happy to try and finish the set of checklists.  The first one was a breeze; most of the items we’d naturally been doing for a while, like consolidating car trips and using full loads in the dishwasher.  The second level, Tree, has also come pretty easily; now we’re only waiting to schedule a home energy audit with the Municipal Light Plant.  We plan to have all three existing levels finished by the end of the academic year.check mark

“The checklists are really good, because they make you think about different ways to conserve energy,” says Jere Hornung. “It made our family think about and start using ways of saving energy that we might never have thought of.”

For the Wellesley residents not old enough to own a home, there is also a checklist option to help the town become greener.

This option, called the Kids’ Sustainability Checklist, involves ways kids can “green” their lifestyle.  These include habitually recycling, turning off lights in vacant rooms and eating healthier.  Kai Wilson, a sixth grader at Wellesley Middle School, was the first to complete it.

“Our family had already done some of the residential checklists,” said Wilson, “and then we found out about this one, which I thought was great, since it gave me an opportunity to save just that much more energy.”

Wilson says that although his habits and lifestyle already qualified for most of the requirements on the checklist, one of the initiatives he hadn’t heard about until he started working on the checklist was that of trying to remove “vampires,” or electrical power users that consume energy even when turned to the “off” setting.  He says that now that he’s completed the checklist, one of his personal goals in “greening” his lifestyle is taking shorter showers.

Wilson recommends the Kids’ Sustainability Checklist to others, saying that the document does a great job achieving its goal of achieving non-controversial awareness about helping to save energy and money in a green way.  He looks forward to future opportunities to help the town become a greener community.


Phyllis Theermann

Jessica, center in black jacket, receiving an answer to her thoughtful question at a Harvard event

Jessica Langerman, one of Sustainable Wellesley’s leaders, is pursuing a full-time position with Citizens Climate Lobby. Thank you Jessica for all you have done to engage the residents, businesses, and the Town of Wellesley in the actions required for sustainability.

This leaves a place for YOU

Although we will miss her energy, ideas, cheerfulness, and constructive can-do-spirit, we are delighted that she is going into such a significant role. If Sustainable Wellesley had any part in her transition, and we can keep producing such committed climate folks, we would be thrilled.

With other former Sustainable Wellesley leaders such as Molly Fairchild, Katy Gibson and Mary Gard in a variety of key places within our community, our network and influence is only growing.

Jessica, we wish you continued success.

Thus, Sustainable Wellesley seeks a leadership team member. 

We all have many different backgrounds, timetables and shoelaces (just checking to see if you are still reading), but feel moved to engage OUR community = the residents, businesses, and the Town of Wellesley in the actions required for sustainability.

We host events, write stories for local media and our website, research and promote causes beyond our borders, share knowledge about everything from light bulbs, to fracking, greening parties and much more.

We have a one hour weekly conference call, but tend to share ideas and manage initiatives via email from near and far.

Want to do more?

Please contact us at

We promise insightful, meaningful and fun interactions.



Phyllis Theermann

This weekend Robert accomplished one of his green projects.

He changed out ten 50W halogen flood bulbs in his basement for ten 8W LEDs.

Here are the results:

Before:    500W

After:       80W

Bulbs Cost: $300

Yearly cost savings:  $50  (Assumes 11/c per kWh)

Payback period: 6 years (assuming 3 hours usage per day)

Lifetime savings:      $800 (over 22 years)

Unlike CFLs, the new LEDs have a warm look, no mercury, are dimmable and go on instantly. 

Light Facts

Light Facts

Go grab some new lights for your home. With the new standard light fact labels right on the box, accomplishing one of your green projects will be easier.

Tell us about your latest green project here.