Noted American writer, philosopher, and naturalist, Henry David Thoreau is going off the grid once again, 168 years after his famous experiment in living deliberately in a simple cabin at Walden Pond.
The Thoreau Farm Trust, a nonprofit organization, is launching a fundraising effort to install a solar photovoltaic system at Thoreau’s birthplace in Concord, Massachusetts. In support of this project, a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo has been launched and an anonymous donor has pledged to match all donations up to $12,000.
Thoreau Farm recently led a successful capital campaign to acquire and preserve Thoreau’s birthplace, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house, which had become dilapidated after many years of neglect, underwent a $900,000 restoration and opened to the public for the first time in its history in 2010. Thoreau Farm now welcomes visitors from around the world who are inspired by Thoreau for tours, events, and educational programs for adults and children.
Thoreau Farm undertook the restoration with Thoreau’s status as the “father” of the environmental movement in mind and in the spirit of living deliberately, as Thoreau himself urged. Thoreau Farm integrated many green materials and technologies into the project, while carefully maintaining the historic integrity of the building.
“It has always been our dream to have solar energy at Thoreau’s birthplace,” said Nancy Grohol, executive director of Thoreau Farm.
Acquiring solar energy is an important part of Thoreau’s Farm mission. It is in line with Thoreau’s own environmental values, which continue to influence the environmental movement today. The site’s biggest source of electric use is its low temperature heat pump, which heats and cools the house without the use of fossil funds except for the electricity used to run the unit. Solar energy would offset this use and get the house “off the grid” entirely.
In addition, all the green features of the building are used for educational purposes. Visitors to the house learn how they can be more environmentally conscious just by making small changes in their own lives.
Solar energy is also budget friendly.
“Generating our own electricity will also result in significant annual savings, money we can redirect to our educational mission,” said Grohol.
“The match will help us get to our goal twice as fast, with each donor’s gift immediately doubling in value,” says Grohol. “Thoreau has inspired people around the world with his timeless wisdom and ideas. We hope people will help us honor his legacy by supporting this important project at his birthplace.”
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