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Welcome to iBrattleboro!

Welcome to iBrattleboro!
It's a local news source by and for the people of Brattleboro, Vermont, published continually. You can get involved in this experiment in citizen journalism by submitting meeting results, news, events, stories, reviews, how-to's, recipes, places to go, things to do, or anything else important to Brattleboro. Or, just drop by to see what others have contributed.

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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Home & Garden

Home and garden section

Free Public Talk and Tour of a Straw Bale Timber Frame Home Under Construction

Dear Neighbors,

My partner Chad Mathrani and I would like to invite you to tour the Straw Bale Timber Frame home we are building in West Brattleboro. This will happen during the straw bale installation and plastering phases in July. Throughout the tour we will share samples of natural non-toxic material options, field questions, and discuss natural building.

Space is limited, so we ask that you reserve a spot. To do so, or to be put on a list to receive information about other talks and tours, please send an email to info@vermontnaturalhomes.com


Frost, Elm, Elliot Neighbors - DIG IN

On Thursday, May 8th, 6:30 - 7:30 pm, the F.E.E.T. Neighbors will be hosting a meeting at the Elliot Street Cafe to discuss ways to beautify the neighborhood with Gardens. If you live or work in or near this area, please join us. We would love any support in gardening throughout the neighborhood and everyone is welcome. If you have seeds, or gardening advice to share, please come! And if you have no experience gardening, you are also welcome.


Brattleboro Wins Energy Challenge Award

The Town of Brattleboro will receive a $10,000 grant from Efficiency Vermont in recognition of its efforts in the Vermont Home Energy Challenge, a statewide initiative to increase energy efficiency in homes and apartments. Brattleboro achieved the highest percentage of completed home efficiency projects in the Windham region while exceeding a minimum of 10 projects. Brattleboro homeowners and landlords completed 41 efficiency projects during the Challenge, which ran from January 1, 2013 to February 15, 2014.

The grant can be used for a municipal or school energy efficiency project which achieves either thermal or electrical energy savings in buildings, street lighting, or water/wastewater treatment facilities.


Zero Energy Homes Presentation

Interested in home energy efficiency? A net Zero Energy Home is one that generates as much renewable energy as it uses. Existing homes can become Zero Energy Homes with recent innovations in heating systems and cost-competitive renewable energy options. Efficiency Vermont’s Li Ling Young will talk about this year’s pilot program to support Zero Energy Homes. For many homes, investing in radical efficiency and a renewable energy system is the most economical way to operate the home. If you have been waiting for a chance to do something about your home energy use, the time is now. Take advantage of Efficiency Vermont’s expertise to make your home what all homes should be: gracious guests on planet Earth.


Garden Inspirations Workshop to Benefit the Latchis Theater

Escape to Vermont for a green day in January!
Join garden enthusiasts from around the region at
the historic Latchis Theater in Brattleboro for a “Garden Inspirations
Workshop” on January 25, 2014. Julie Moir Messervy, Helen O’Donnell, Gordon Hayward and Dan Snow will offer lively presentations with images on the big screen. For more information, please go the the Latchis website.


Heat Pump Workshop Offered

Are you paying too much to heat your home, business, or rental property, or looking to cut your use of fossil fuels? A new generation of super-efficient electric heat pumps, suitable for northern climates, may be the answer for you. These devices provide heat and domestic hot water using 25-50% less energy than conventional systems. They are environmentally-friendly as well – 87% free of carbon emissions in Green Mountain Power territory. Heat pumps can also be combined with solar electric panels to provide 100% renewable energy.


The NeighborWorks HEAT Squad Comes to Windham and Windsor Counties

The NeighborWorks HEAT Squad (heatsquad.org) is Vermont’s one-stop-shop for helping homeowners complete home energy efficiency improvements to their homes. The Squad helps customers of all income levels every step of the way to a comfortable and affordable home – from education and engagement, to scheduling an energy audit, to managing and even financing energy efficiency improvements (single family residences and apartments up to four units).


Weatherization Skillshop in Brattleboro Sept. 21

Learn to Weatherize. Are you a do-it-yourselfer? Would you like to reduce your energy costs by making significant energy improvements? And be eligible for up to $2,600 from Efficiency Vermont?

Each Skillshop will cover:

Air-Sealing. This is the key to increasing comfort and reducing fuel use—though potentially dangerous if not accompanied by proper ventilation. We'll show you how to manage air flow in a building and how to tighten things up safely.

Insulation. There are ways to waste money on the wrong insulation and application. We will show you how to choose and install insulation correctly for your building, whether it is an historic Victorian house or a modern mobile home.


Solar Solutions for Apartment Dwellers

Hello Everyone!

I have recently been putting in quite a bit of thought to solar power. I'd love to get solar power but I live in an apartment and my options are limited. I have a roof top patio which gets strong sun until the early afternoon and I would like to put a small panel out there. I'm not expecting this little foray to, by any means, provide all the power for my apartment but it would be nice to get some from it. What I am looking for is if anyone has ideas or knows of easy solutions for apartment dwellers to hook up solar power. Basically I'm completely ignorant to how these systems work entirely. Any guidance is a huge help.

Thank you



PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) Public Information Session Sept. 4

How can homeowners afford to insulate their homes or install solar electric systems in today’s economy? Many people want to “do the right thing,” but lack the money to finance energy-efficiency projects or install renewable energy systems in their homes. This hurdle has prevented many people from taking advantage of new technologies that would reduce their energy costs substantially and save them money in the long run.


Solar Powering your Community: Fall Workshop Opportunity

Is your community considering solar power as an option for a local power source? Do you have questions about the Vermont’s Sustainably Priced Energy Development program (SPEED)?  Wondering what group net-metering is? Then, are you available Friday, September 6th from 8:30am to 12:30pm?

This fall the four southern Vermont regional planning commissions (Windham, Rutland, Bennington and Southern Windsor) are pairing with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to bring a SunShot Solar Workshop to Vermont.  The workshop is designed to provide actionable information on overcoming local-level barriers to solar, addressing soft costs, and implementing a successful local solar program in your community.  Southern Vermont town officials, businesses and local leaders interested in learning more about solar development in the region are invited to attend this free workshop with national and local experts.


Growing Tomatoes

I have been growing tomatoes every year with more and more fruit each time although much if it comes very late in the season. This year my plants are kind of spindly looking.  I use a special fertilizer ever year made with epsom salts, powdered milk, baking soda, and compost I plan in the hole with my tomatoes. 

How is everyone else doing this year with their gardening, and do you have any tips for the tomatoes?


Gordon Haywood at Putney Library on Thursday, June, 6th at 7pm

Gordon Haywood, local legend, author and flower garden expert will present a special program at the Putney Public Library on Thursday, June 6th at 7pm. He will present slides and a talk that feature his amazing landscaping creation at the Berg's garden in Walpole, N.H.

The Berg's garden will be part of the upcoming Garden Tour on June 15th and 16th to benefit the Putney Central and Putney Public Libraries.

For more information on both these events contact the Putney Public Library at 387-4407


Earn Time Credits for Helping Your Neighbors Save Energy

A unique collaboration has recently been formed between the Brattleboro Energy Committee and Brattleboro Time Trade (BTT). Volunteers who register with BTT can now earn credit for assisting the energy committee with the Vermont Home Energy Challenge.

"We are very happy to provide a grant to the Vermont Home Energy Challenge," said BTT coordinator Abby Mnookin. "We can think of no better use of our resources than to support a project where people are helping their neighbors to make their homes more energy efficient, save money and help stop climate change." BTT volunteers working on the Challenge are eligible to receive up to 15 hours in Time Trade credit.


A New Era Begins - Recycling Week Is Every Week

Just a reminder that today marks the beginning of a new era in Brattleboro trash and recycling history. As of today, recycling is being picked up every week.

No more does anyone have to wonder if this week is the right week to put out the recycling. Every week is the right week.


Volunteers Create New Gardens at Brattleboro Exit 1

In an effort organized by the Exit 1 Gateway Project and Green Up Vermont, a visiting Americorps team and local volunteers expanded the Exit 1 gardens on May 4, Green Up Day, and May 9, 2013. They Greened Up the Exit 1 end of Canal Street.

They turned over fresh ground to prepare more garden space. They planted a bank of daylilies, as well as brightly colored pansies and other annuals that are blooming now.


Home Energy Challenge Tour Features Local Brattleboro Homes

Homeowners and landlords interested in saving money on their heating bills are invited to a group tour of four Brattleboro homes on Saturday, May 11, from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Diverse in size, style and age, the homes have all been retrofitted to save energy. The contractors and homeowners will be on hand to talk about the energy-saving features of each home.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for folks to see a wide variety of energy-efficient homes in their community, and to learn from contractors and homeowners about how to cut energy bills”, said Paul Cameron, Director of Brattleboro Climate Protection, one of the organizers of the tour. “The typical Vermonter can reduce their energy bills by 20-30% through a home efficiency project, an average annual savings of $1,000.”


Earth, Roots, Petals, & Paths Garden Tour, June 15 & 16

Earth, Roots, Petals, & Paths, a tour of perennial and vegetable gardens in Putney, Vermont and “The Garden on Rice Mountain” in Walpole, New Hampshire. This first annual garden tour will be held the weekend of June 15th & June 16th. The tour will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday.

Earth, Roots, Petals & Paths includes private perennial and vegetable gardens in Putney, The Putney School gardens & farm, the Putney Central School garden & orchard and the renowned four-acre garden created by Theodora and Peter Berg on Rice Mountain in Walpole, NH with the assistance of Gordon Hayward, garden designer, and Dan Snow, dry stone craftsman.


What Shrub Would Fit Here?

Does anybody have a shrub recommendation for us?

Here's what we need:

a shrub/bush that will be about 6'-8' and dense (a good natural screen) and tough and/or resilient to having snow sliding off a roof onto it.

We've considered and rejected privet, beauty bush and forsythia.

Any ideas?



Aquaponics Introduction and Workshop

Around the world, humans are rediscovering aquaponics, an ancient way of cultivating fruits, vegetables, and fish together in closed systems that recycle water and nutrients. One of these humans, Mark Crowther, lives in West Brattleboro, and has constructed “barrelponic” systems in which he has been growing cold weather crops year-round in his home, with the help of a school of minnows.

Mark Crowther would like to share what he has learned with you. During this introductory presentation, Mark will talk about the history of aquaponics, the environmental benefits, and the basics of creating a system that works. Aquaponics may be a way to greatly increase the amount of food that can be produced locally, especially during cold months.


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