If you’ve ever wanted to see how New Brunswickers are living and running their businesses in an eco-friendly manner, June 1 is the day.
The Conservation Council of New Brunswick is hosting an EcoBuildings Tour for the second time, after the first edition last year proved to be a success with around 200 people taking part. The tours will take place in various areas of the provinces simultaneously on June 1.
Liane Thibodeau, a board member with the Conservation Council and a co-organizer of the event, said the event has expanded outside the Saint John and St. Andrews-by-the-Sea regions. This year, the tour will also include properties in Moncton, Fredericton, Sussex, Hampton, Gagetown, Harvey and Durham Bridge.
“We’re hoping to provide people with examples of what can be done to reduce your carbon footprint because there are many people here in New Brunswick who are doing a lot of interesting and innovative things,” she said. “We thought it would be better for people to be able to see the actual homes and businesses and see that it can be done and also have the opportunity to ask questions and learn from the people who have made the changes.”
One of the businesses opening itself to the public for the tour is New Brunswick’s first solar farm in Sussex, located on Frank Jopp’s Auenlend dairy farm. This will be the first time Jopp hosts visitors for the EcoTour.
“It’s important for people to know about solar farming and that it can be done. And more people should do it,” said Jopp. “I think [the event is] great. I hope it inspires them with how people are doing it, how many different ways they can do it and maybe they take something home and do it at home too.”
Jopp has 400 solar panels and sells the power generated to NB Power. He then buys it back from the utility.
“We’re producing more power than what we buy from NB Power over the year, it’s just we’re operating our milking robots 24 hours a day, and we need power at night too. So, NB Power is actually storing the energy for me during the day and I get it back at night,” he said.
He now wants to build a 3 MW farm and find investors for his project. He plans to sell the power generated and then the income will be shared by investors. He’s only in the early stages of planning now and is looking for people to help him spread the idea via social media and other promotional channels.
Thibodeau says she hopes seeing these eco-friendly buildings in person will inspire more innovations and actions in the environmental conservation sector.
“People think it’s really difficult to reduce your carbon footprint, that you have to give a lot up in order to do that, and that’s not the case. If they take the opportunity to meet people, they’ll see that each and every one of us can make a difference,” she said.
Registrants for the self-guided tour will get brochures with the locations of each eco-friendly building, but there are also meeting points in Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John for carpooling.
There are 19 properties included this year. Here’s a peek at some of the properties that are included in the tour: