Sustainable Wellesley members gathered in front of the Wellesley Community Center holding signs, and wearing safety vests and tape measures of the sort used by utility crews to draw attention to National Grid’s lack of action on gas leaks. The community center is located near a major leak that has been known to the gas company since 2015.

Last week, Sustainable Wellesley called on National Grid to fix the dozens of persistent gas leaks in Wellesley. The leaks emit vast amounts of methane, which is a dangerous and highly potent greenhouse gas that is contributing to global warming.

Sustainable Wellesley President Quentin Prideaux said, “We first started looking at gas leaks in Wellesley in 2015 when there were 197 leaks reported by National Grid — now there are 261. The leaks are actually getting worse and we need National Grid to step up to protect our climate, our safety, and our health.”

The Sustainable Wellesley action was part of a larger effort across the Boston metropolitan area led by Mothers Out Front, the Gas Leaks Allies, and other environmental groups frustrated by the lack of progress on gas leaks. In Boston, more than 100 protesters gathered on Cambridge Street near a 13-year old leak. Activists are particularly concerned that National Grid has backed away from its previous commitment to identify and repair the largest volume leaks, sometimes called “super-emitters.” These large volume leaks make up only about 7 percent of the more than 16,000 leaks in the state but they emit roughly 50 percent of the methane. The other large gas companies — Eversource and Columbia Gas — have already begun using the accepted method for identifying and repairing these leaks, while National Grid has said it will not do so until next year.

Phyllis Theermann

This year’s STEM EXPO Sustainability Challenge was to promoting a local resource, policy or behavior change that makes Wellesley greener. These came in in a variety of formats such as advertisements, essays, videos, artwork and more. Students from elementary through high school thought hard and convinced their audiences that everything from food waste and removing chemicals from their lawns, to composting and hydroponics were ideal ways to help our environment!

Congratulations to the 2019 Sustainability Challenge winners!

Elementary School Winners:

-Elan Usmani: “Making Wellesley Lawns Greener” video

-Nalini Fiorillo: “How Green Is Your Community?” infographic on school commuting

-Abby Brown and Kayla Bohlin: “Plastic in the Oceans” website and video

Middle School Winner:

-Kellen Sharpe: “Composting” video

High School Winner:

-Owen Mix: “Hydroponic Greenhouse” PowerPoint presentation

Many thanks to all our participants in the 2019 STEM Expo Sustainability Challenge:

Nalini Fiorillo, Chase Gemski, TJ Reohr, Elan Usmani, Emelle Bedair and Layla Bedair, Will Hubbard and Henry Haddon, Nina Wied and Ellery Gerhart, Thomas Zhou, Jacob Gottschaulk and Cooper Gooch, Abby Brown, Kayla Bohlin, Emily Burnham and Audrey Song, Solène Zelenko, Claire Roney, Kathryn Bonnette, Caroline Stewart, Lila Welburn, Aiyden Pires, Hope Schofield, Chace Beauvais, Emma Brostrom, Lilah Wallace, Sean Sullivan, Kenny Song, Olivia Kashian, Costi Papavassiliou, Charlote Haig, Alexander Bertucci, Christian Pooley, Christine McMahon, Nick Lafave, Carter Rich, Ieva MacInnes, Liam Berger, Ryan O’Shea, Daniel Goldberg, Sabrina Gabriel, Leila Eccher, Cameron Poirier, Jayden Song, Graci Doherty, Ben Ackerman, Estelle Maroon, Jacob Recht, Max Wied, Allie Chung, Jake Broggi, Mike Lafave, Blyn Kull-Must, Hally Brown, Lizzy Hudson, Nina Waller, Riley Marth, Lauren Young, Zachary Nolan, Evelyn Harrison, Kaitlyn Willett and Hannah Cronin, Leah Wechsler, Eliza Towle, Kellen Sharpe, Blake and Robert Foster, Alivia Jiang, Owen Mix and Ian Lei.

Phyllis Theermann

You are invited to hear ideas from experts and share your thoughts with the School Building Committee during the Green Charrette on Monday, October 15 from 5:30 to 9pm to the Hunnewell Elementary School Gym at 28 Cameron Street. Plus, a light dinner is included.

The School Building Committee (SBC) is charged with conducting a feasibility study of options to substantially renovate or rebuild the Hunnewell School to meet modern standards for education.

Following an overview of sustainable design, including Green Building Certifications and Net Zero Building, breakout sessions will focus on:

• Sustainable Sites and Transportation;
• Water Efficiency;
• Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy;
• Sustainable Materials;
• Indoor Environmental Quality; and
• Integrated Design and Innovation.

Learn how the design team is looking at creating a healthy, low carbon, energy efficient, and perhaps a Net Zero Building and then let them know your thoughts on what the sustainable design goals and objectives for the project should be.

Bring Family, Friends & Neighbors Too!

Not a Hunnewell School parent? It DOESN’T matter! This isn’t just about Hunnewell, but about how we look at energy efficiency, health, and clean energy in Wellesley going forward.

The Wellesley Permanent Building Committee is hosting this Eco Charrette (public meeting) to give us ALL an OPPORTUNITY to weigh in on the sustainability features for the NEW Hunnewell School.

You can arrive anytime  between 5.30-9pm.

If you can’t make it please write to them and share your opinions. You can also watch the event later on demand at: wellesleymedia.org/SBC.