Madison, NJ – Zero energy houses, native plants, organic lawn care and composting are all on the agenda for Madison’s first Eco House and Garden Tour. Organized by the Madison Environmental Commission (MEC), which will be held on Saturday, September 21 from 1 to 5 pm.
“The Eco House and Garden Tour is a great community event and an excellent way for all of us in Madison to discover new ways to green our lifestyles,” says Councilmember Maureen Byrne, the Borough Council Liaison to the Environmental Commission.
Madison architect Chris Kellogg, who designed three of the four energy efficient houses on the tour notes that, “Madison is on the cutting edge of super energy efficient residential design.” He points out that the houses on the tour feature geothermal heating and cooling, ultra-insulated walls and windows, induction stoves and airtight, energy-saving construction.
For people with conventional houses, the tour offers accessible ideas for saving energy: solar systems and energy retrofits. Frank Curran, of the Madison-based firm Green House Solar, will collaborate with homeowners to answer questions about tricky rooflines, shady locations and the newest developments in solar/battery storage systems. Ciel Power, which offers discounted $49 energy audits in Madison, will share tips on saving energy.
“Insulating and sealing the leaks are critical in creating a greener home,” explains Scott Fischer, Ciel Power founder. “It’s important to think holistically about how you’re using energy.”
Gardens on the tour will showcase both pollinator-friendly native plants and organic vegetables, the latter at the home of a landscape architect who is also a beekeeper. He shares two hives with his neighbor across the fence.
“Gardens have a huge role to play in any eco house,” says Joan Maccari, an MEC member and the tour’s organizer. “Native plants support pollinating bees and butterflies, as well as birds, and so does eco-friendly lawn care.”
Organic lawn care “is a different way of thinking about your lawn,” explains master gardener and MEC member Brian Monaghan. His home, which will be on the tour, is kept green and lush with corn gluten to kick back weeds and compost instead of synthetic fertilizer. “Aside from mowing, there’s very little maintenance with an organic lawn,” Monaghan says. “It saves money and gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you’re not using chemicals with warning labels. We have well water in Madison, so what you put on your lawn does go into the aquifer.”
Tickets for the Eco House & Garden are required. They can be reserved online at Eventbrite. On September 18, those who have registered will be sent the starting address of the tour. Admission is free but a donation of any amount is suggested to help the Environmental Commission with outreach and education.
The Madison Environmental Commission will also be selling discounted composter and rain barrels on the tour. Earth Machine computers are $60 and recycled plastic rain barrels are $70.
Details are available by emailing MEC@rosenet.org.