July 2023 Newsletter

July 3, 2023

July 2023 Newsletter

Empowering Sustainable Communities

Special Thank You

SEEDS Raises over $1,000 with NEPA Gives

SEEDS would like to thank everyone who donated and or shared information about NEPA Gives this year.  We were able to raise a total of $1,145, and we were one of 227 organizations that were able to raise funds through this annual event.  Held annually in June, NEPA Gives is a “one day online giving extravaganza,” where local Northeastern Pennsylvania nonprofit organizations are collected on the NEPA Gives website and people can give to their favorite organizations.  To view the results of the day, and to read more about NEPA Gives and its impact on our community, go here.

We are incredibly grateful to receive monetary donations from the NEPA community to support our sustainability education and development initiatives in the local area.  These are difficult times, and we understand how inflation continues to put stress on families, as well as other stressors that are affecting everyone. Monetary gifts are deeply appreciated, but we at SEEDS also want to communicate that they are not the only gifts of value.  Your time as a volunteer is a special and significant contribution to our organization which brings enormous value far exceeding that which can be enumerated.   To learn more go here, and please consider reaching out to us at info@seedsgroup.net to tell us about your interests, areas of knowledge, and or availability and we can match you with a volunteering opportunity that comes with community, connection, and contribution to spreading sustainability.

Thank you for all that you already to do promote energy consciousness and sustainable living in our communities.


What to Expect during a SEEDS Energy Efficiency Assessment
by Beth Billyard, Milford, PA

Have you ever wondered about the energy efficiency of your home? Would you like to be more efficient, but not sure where to begin? Or perhaps you are considering solar power but want to maximize your home’s efficiency before investing in solar panels. A SEEDS energy efficiency assessment is a great way to get started.

My husband and I have been working towards a more sustainable lifestyle over the past few years but had no idea whether we were focused on things that could truly make a difference. So, when we discovered SEEDS, one of the first things we did was to schedule an energy efficiency assessment. It is free of charge for SEEDS members, and it was easy to fill in the online form and get our assessment scheduled.

On the day of the assessment, two SEEDS volunteers came to our house. They first examined the exterior of the house to look for any issues that might impact efficiency. My husband and I walked around with the SEEDS volunteers as they examined things like vegetation, water management, and exterior doors. Our home has a crawl space instead of a basement. The SEEDS volunteers examined our crawl space to determine how well-insulated it is, and to look for potential issues. In our case, they noted unsealed vents and a problem with moisture getting into the crawl space.

To examine the interior, they began with the attic and worked their way down. In the attic, they are primarily looking for insulation issues, as that can lead to significant loss of heat in the winter. The SEEDS volunteers identified exposed floor joists where there was no insulation (yikes!) and suggested blown-in cellulose to cover the exposed areas. They also noted that the pull-down attic door needed weather-stripping to prevent warm air from escaping into the attic.
One of the most interesting tools they had was an infra-red app that allowed them to “see” if cold air was leaking in around corners or windows. Another tool that they brought with them was a portable wattage meter that allows you to see how much electricity is being used by any appliance or lamp, etc., that is plugged into an outlet.

Walking through the house with the SEEDS volunteers, we learned so much about what we were currently doing well, and where we could improve. They noted a few cracks in our walls, which had been there since we first moved in several years ago. We had been told by various people that the cracks were due to “settling” of the house, but we were never completely satisfied with that explanation. The SEEDS team suggested that we follow-up by looking in the crawl space for possible causes. We did… and the short story is that it led us to finding, and repairing a cracked floor joist in the crawl space that was most likely caused by moisture!

To finish up the assessment, we sat together in the living room while the SEEDS volunteers verbally reviewed their findings and recommendations. They patiently answered our questions, while assuring us that we didn’t need to remember everything because we would also receive a written report. We were impressed by their knowledge and how they genuinely wanted to help us become more efficient. As they were leaving, we felt both confident and excited about taking the next steps towards better energy efficiency and living a more sustainable lifestyle.

Click here to learn more and schedule your SEEDS energy efficiency assessment.

Science Project

Join the Community Science Project: Firefly Watch 

Firefly Watch Community Science Project continues its collaboration between Mass Audubon, researchers from Tufts University, and anyone else who sees fireflies in their backyard and elects to participate by reporting their sightings.  “Are firefly populations growing or shrinking, and what could lead to changes in their populations?,” explains the Mass Audubon webpage on the project, “With your help, we hope to learn about the geographic distribution of fireflies and what environmental factors impact their abundance.”

Participants are asked to select a location and dedicate 10 minutes to observing firefly activity in that same location once a week for the summer, and report observations on their website using an observation form available to download.  To read more about what is involved, go here.

This project is a great example of community collaboration contributing to important biological and nature conservation work, and an excellent opportunity to learn about how data is collected to answer big questions in science.  The success of the project depends on the involvement of as many firefly watchers as possible, so become a participant and share the project with others.  And SEEDS invites you to post pictures of your firefly watching and tag us on social media. Happy observing!

Local News

Hawley’s Ritz Theater is Now Powered by the Sun

As of June 8th, PPL signed off on operation of a solar system located at the Ritz Theatre on Keystone Street in Hawley. A total of 82 solar panels with over 40 kilowatts capacity have been installed on the roof of the building.  The project is a partnership between the Ritz Company Players and the Clean Energy Co-op. The Co-op owns and operates the solar array and the Company Players purchase the power that is produced.  It is predicted that the solar panels will generate 2.5 times the theater’s annual electricity needs.

Sarah Clauss, President of the Ritz Company Players, stated “We are so happy to have worked with the Co-op on this project. Through their efforts we have clean energy to power our Art Deco historic building as well as generate additional power for the local grid.”

Christine Weigand, President of the Clean Energy Co-op, extended their thanks to everyone who made this project possible including installer Blair Buselli and the staff at Buselli Solutions.  To learn more about the Clean Energy Co-op and how you can be involved in bringing more renewable energy to the community, please visit www.CleanEnergy.Coop.

The Ritz Company’s Summer 2023 season includes performances of the musical Something Rotten in July; the comedy Clue at the end of July and beginning of August; and the comedy A Bedfull of Foreigners at the end of August and beginning of September.  The Ritz Bitz Players, a company of children performers, present the musical Beauty and the Beast in August.  For more details, including dates and times of the performances, please see the Ritz website.

Legislation Update

Solar for Schools Act Passes House In PA 

In a bipartisan victory for solar power, the Pennsylvania state House passed the Solar for Schools Act on June 28, 2023.  This bill allows for the creation of a grant program in Pennsylvania to support the installation of solar panels at schools in the Commonwealth at little or no cost to the schools, thus allowing schools to eliminate energy costs of their operations, one of the heaviest financial burdens schools carry.  By leveraging funds from the Inflation Reduction Act and supplemented using state sources, the program “would issue grants to schools for solar energy projects, including costs related to equipment, installation and maintenance of solar energy systems,” as explained by a press released from State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler who introduced the bill in March 2023.  Read the full press release here.

While the bill passed the House with a remarkable 134-69 bipartisan victory–including support from local Northeast PA Representatives Fritz and Adams–the bill will next have to pass the State Senate.  However, the current uncertain status of the State’s budget will hold up future progress of the program.

To read more about the bill and its passage check out this Pennsylvania Capital Star story, or read about it in PA Environment Digest.  To contact your State Senator to let them know how you feel about funding the program, find them here and give their office a call; let them know you are calling about the Solar for Schools bill that just passed the state’s House, and that you support funding the program – because it supports our schools, our environment, and jobs in our beautiful state.


New York City to Move Forward with Congestion Pricing
after Federal Approval in Win for Climate Change 

The Federal Highway Administration has granted approval for New York State’s congestion pricing program, known as Manhattan Central Business District Tolling, after a comprehensive environmental review issued a “Finding of No Significant Impact;” read the announcement from New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s office here.  The program aims to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and provide financial support to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

The congestion pricing program would charge drivers a fee to enter certain parts of Manhattan.  If successfully implemented, it would be the first state-level congestion pricing program in the United States, but proceeded by many similar programs in metropolitan areas abroad including London and Milan, and could serve as a model for other cities in the US looking to address traffic congestion, air quality, and climate change.  The plan is expected to generate $1 billion annually for public transportation and help New York achieve its climate goals. The proposal faced delays under the Trump administration but has now received support from the Biden administration. However, it still faces challenges, including determining the toll rates and opposition from neighboring states like New Jersey. Transportation advocates view congestion pricing as a crucial measure for the region’s health and well-being and are hopeful for its successful implementation.

To read more about this achievement in future oriented, climate centered city planning, see this thorough explanation from InsideClimateNews.org.  To read more about specifics of the proposed logistics of the plan, see this New York Times article.


Do you have any #SEEDSGoodNews stories to share with the SEEDS community? Send them to us at  newsletter@seedsgroup.net or tag us on social media!  They can be local stories from your community, or stories from around the world–anything to celebrate and spread the word about the progress of energy efficiency, renewable energy or sustainable living wherever you hear about it!

If you are not a member of SEEDS, please consider joining us today!
You can use this link to share our membership page with others:
You will continue to receive our newsletters, invitations to our educational forums and other events. Members are eligible for free solar evaluations, have voting rights at our annual meeting, and help shape our programs and initiatives.  For more information visit our website at www.seedsgroup.net.