The seven original chandeliers in the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts glowed warmly last night as guests gathered to discuss sustainability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy under twenty foot high vaulted ceilings and hand painted brick walls that make up the nearly 120 year former public library.
The home energy audit provider for the Borough of Madison's Home Energy Assessment program, Ciel Power LLC, co-sponsored the event along with Green House Solar, a Madison based solar provider.
Guests of the event entitled; Fall In Love with Sustainability, Cocktails, Community and Conversation enjoyed a selection of artisanal cheeses produced in small batches from Valley Shepherd Creamery, and wines from Montinore Estate, a Demeter Certified Biodynamic and Stellar Certified Organic vineyard located in Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Homeowners, neighbors, friends and representatives of local environmental groups including Madison, Chatham, Summit and Morristown were in attendance along with members of the media and elected officials who caught up with one another around one of the museum's three cozy fireplaces.
Agenda & Presenters
The evening honored sustainability programs happening in Madison and surrounding communities. Featured speakers included Tobiah 'Toby' Horton, an Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture with Rutgers Cooperative Extension and Rutgers University.
In addition to his role as a teacher, researcher, and landscape designer, Toby discussed his role in the design and construction of rain gardens located at the Summit Municipal Building and the Summit Free Public Library.
Guests of the event gathered around a unique exhibit of plans and designs for the Summit Rain Gardens, the focus of a recent walking tour hosted by Summit Mayor Nora Radest.
Madison resident and customer of Green House Solar, Guillaume Schmittheisler, shared the inspiration for his sustainable pursuits along with an update on the Madison Environmental Commission's three new work streams;
- Lowering the volume of trash produced by Madison residents
- Increasing the uptake of solar energy for residential and public spaces in town
- Planting native plants and pollinator gardens in public and private spaces.
As guests wandered through the spacious and vibrant venue, they took in antique and unusual lighting devices such as tin-punched lanterns, whale oil lamps, and early carbon filament light bulbs on display as part of the museum's newest exhibit; SPARK! The Explosive and Dirty History of Light.
The exhibit follows the evolution of artificial light from a dangerous, dirty and sometimes explosive past to the safe and instantaneous forms of lighting we know today.
“It's amazing to get an opportunity to do something so ambitious in a space like this.” says Scott Fischer, Managing Member of Ciel Power LLC. “It's entirely coincidental, but very fitting,” says Scott, “the parallels between light's journey from a dirty and dangerous endeavor to the instant, safe, reliable, and comparably efficient system of lighting we know today directly parallels our transition to responsible energy consumption and cleaner, safer and efficient sources of energy.”
“It provokes wonder and awe,” says Scott. “It's a profound transition that overcame competing technologies, special interests, and deep rooted skepticism, much like the challenges we face today in our transition to alternative energy.”
Attendees received information during the event about New Jersey Clean Energy's Home Performance with Energy Star program. Administered by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, the Home Performance with Energy Star program provides up to $4,000 worth of cash-back incentives and up to $15,000 worth of low-interest financing to install energy efficiency improvements to New Jersey homes.
Those in attendance also received information about installing solar panels from Frank Curran, President of Green House Solar.
Frank's remarks included information about Solar Renewable Energy Credits or SREC's, federal tax credits, environmental benefits, and local code requirements for the installation of residential solar systems.