Small and Sustainable with Susan Conger

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Small is sustainable, at least for Susan Conger who went solar in 2012.

“Trying to live a life that is consistent with my values is really important to me.”

Conger's PV solar system is the smallest system ever installed by Northeast Solar, but she is so conscious of her consumption that she still breaks even on her energy bill most months.

“I try to consume as little energy as I can. I’ve had solar hot water since 2003. I try to use my car as little as I can. I drive less than 6000 miles per year. It’s hard, but I try,” said Conger who had just rode her bicycle to meet me at her Montague home.

You won’t find a television or electronic devices plugged into the walls in Conger's home, and that’s intentional.

“I don’t have a clothes dryer deliberately, I mow my lawn with Susan power. I can’t stand to use oil to have a lawn,” she said laughing.

Conger, who offers fiddle and violin lessons at home, is as passionate about music as she is the environment. She plays music in theaters and small concerts in the valley and commutes by bike to her part-time job at the Franklin County Solid Waste District where she helps with the states only agricultural waste recycling program.

Conger accepts a certain amount of responsibility for her environmental footprint saying, “There are way larger problems to solve in the world than I can solve. But a thing that I have control over is how I live my life.”

She’s worked really hard to reduce her oil consumption too. She’s undergone a number of MassSave energy audits over the years to fine tune her home that was built before energy efficient home construction was where it is today.

“I mention oil because it’s a finite resource, it’s tied in with climate change, it’s messy to get out, it’s even messier when it spills, it’s just bad stuff,” She said.

Conger’s tiny PV electric system, combined with her commitment to reduced consumption is having a huge impact, and she’s not done yet. 

“I want to make an effort to not use more than my fair share, I’m not there yet. I can always get better.”

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