Weekly Blog

Week 1: Impressions on the First Week, March 15, 2013

Hi there, Auburn Energy Reduction Team here.

Week one of seven is drawing to a close.

This week, our team prepared survey questions, created a website, drafted a brochure, and met with Joanna Paquin, Auburn’s Assistant Town Engineer. The Town of Auburn is already well on its way to reducing energy expenditures. A recycling program is already in place, and there are plans to implement sidewalks along Routes 12 and 20 to encourage walking. There is also a committee dedicated to implementing a town wind turbine.

One of our team’s main focuses will be improving the walkability of Auburn. We will recommend wasy to make sites like Drury Square more accessible and appealing to pedestrians. Drury Square includes the elementary, middle, and high schools, the Auburn Mall, and other local businesses. Town officials hope that improving walkability of this area will generate greater profits for local business owners by encourage greater pedestrian traffic and will reduce the town’s overall energy use by reducing driving and gas consumption.

Walking around the square, our team noticed:

  • there were no pedestrian crossings;
  • the sidewalks were crumbling and uneven;
  • some businesses failed to provide recycling services for customers; and,
  • The town has a great deal of potential.

We will move forward from here by drafting an energy reduction plan and creating pubic outreach materials that can be used after we are gone.


More updates to come.


Week 2 Update

Hi Everyone!

So week two is coming to a close and we are still working hard! This week we shifted our focus of project a little bit. We thought that first we would be surveying the Auburn residents, but after speaking with our sponsor he thought it would be more beneficial for us to first draft a rough outline or “blueprint” of the Energy Reduction Plan. We are now in the midst of drafting that, something that we thought we would accomplish in later weeks of our project. We hope to have the blueprint finished by next week. Our sponsor, Adam Burney, had a meeting this week with local business owners, and in this meeting he spoke of our project and asked if any were interested in meeting with us to talk about the plan. The business owners were more than willing to give us their contact information and in the coming weeks we hope to speak with them and ask their opinions about energy reduction measures for their businesses.

Also this week we met with the WPI Green Team! Leadership in the club has just recently switched so they are figuring out what they need to do as a club but they seemed enthusiastic about our project and they said that they would willing to help us with our efforts in helping Auburn High School achieve the green flag award. We are still waiting to hear back from the Auburn Environmental Club advisor but hopefully we can meet with her soon so we can start organizing with Auburn High School.

Lastly we spoke with Chris Hugo who is in charge of Auburn’s public access channel. Another goal for next week is to film our commercial for Auburn public access tv. This commercial will show viewers energy reduction measures they can make in their homes and businesses and provide them with information on incentive/rebate programs available to Massachusetts residents, such as Mass Save. The goal of our commercial will be to educate Auburn residents on how they can save money.

Well that’s all for now, check back next week for our commercial!

-Leo, David, Agatha, and Edward


Week 3 Update

Hi guys,

Week three is just wrapping up and we are still at it.  We started off this week by meeting with Karen Ares at Auburn High School.  We shared our ideas on what she and the high school can do to achieve the Green Flag Award.  We talked to Karen about creating an environmental awareness science fair in honor of Earth Day.  Students will display their projects in the cafeteria of Auburn High School during lunch hours.  We hope to set up tables for our team as well as the E-waste team, Habitat for Humanity, and the Think Outside the Bottle team.  We hope to spread awareness this way and potentially get more students involved with the Green Team at Auburn High School, because right now their participant numbers are very low.

We have also started to contact the business owners around Auburn and have set up meeting times with a few of them for next week.  Our team hopes to get some useful information from them as well as give them some useful information on how they can save money and reduce their energy use.  We will use the feedback from the business owners to help amend our Energy Reduction Plan (ERP) draft.

We have worked to revise and fine tune our survey questions and will be using them all next week and possibly the week after to gather as much data as we possibly can.

That’s it for this week, everyone keep up the hard work and we’ll see you all Wednesday.

-David, Agatha, Edward and Leo

Week 4 Update

Hey everyone!

So this was a really productive and exciting week for us in Auburn. This week we started speaking to local Auburn Business owners about their energy reduction efforts. We have spoken to 5 businesses thus far and have additional interviews lined up for the following week. Also, we created a flyer for area businesses to show them the breadth of energy reduction measures available and the benefits of the Mass Save program.

Another exciting event from the week was our meeting with Auburn’s Wind Energy Committee. We gave a presentation to the committee, describing our efforts and our hope that the committee will take over our Energy Reduction Plan efforts once our time in Auburn is up. They were very receptive and supportive of our ideas.

We have also been in contact with Auburn High School teacher, Karen Ares, to finalize details for the Earth Day event scheduled for April 23rd. There will be a lot of AHS students and student groups presenting at the event. The photography class, art class, and environmental science classes will all be involved in educating the AHS community about environmental issues on the 23rd. The WCPC IQP “Think Outside the Bottle” Team will also be at the AHS Earth Day event to educate students about public drinking water and hold a tap water challenge. We are trying to get a hold of Acton-Boxborough High School’s green team, recipients of a Green Flag award, to see if they would like to come to the event as well.

In the coming week our main priority is getting our energy usage survey out to the Worcester middles and elementary schools. We are currently waiting for approval from the Auburn Superintendent. We are all excited and nervous as things start to come to a close.

Check back next week to see if we ever got our surveys into the schools!

-Leo, Agatha, Ed, and Dave

Week 5 Update

Hello Readers,

This week Team Auburn has been working hard organizing ourselves and preparing for the two solid weeks of writing that awaits us. We decided to section our project into two distinct goals. Goal one: draft an energy reduction plan for the Town of Auburn and Goal Two: Set up Auburn High School for Green Flag Award success.

Goal ONE Update: 

Last Friday, the superintendent of Auburn schools granted us permission to distribute our surveys to parents via backpack mail.

We started off our week by printing off 1800 copies of our survey on flamboyant pink and yellow paper and distributing them to Auburn middle and elementary schools. We retrieved surveys on Thursday and Friday and are currently in the process of numbering and coding each form.

This weekend team members will each code and catalog survey results in excel in addition to writing assigned sections of the final paper.

Goal TWO Update:

            On Thursday, our team met again with Karen Ares to discuss the April 23rd Earth Day event. The event will feature a water bottle display created by AHS students, posters from current science students, a tap water challenge, and E-Waste and energy reduction information.

We’re all very excited about the event and will keep working with Karen to make this event a success and continue on the road towards the Green Flag Award.

Check back for final updates in two weeks!

-Agatha, Leo, Dave, Edward