Spring is a time of gratitude for the changing seasons and for the new sprouting plants. It is also a time to give thanks to our April Climate Hero of the Month, Stuart Cummings! Stuart is a retired commercial pilot, Eagle Scout, and former Naval Aviator. He is a member of Drive Electric Colorado, as well as the Native Plant Trust and Colorado Native Plant Society. His primary interests include beneficial electrification, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, auto mechanics, forestry management, and native plant botany.

As a long-time environmentalist, Stu has always felt connected to nature. Growing up on a farm his mom supported his love for the wild, whether he was interacting with snakes, rodents, or bugs. 

When he was older he joined the Naval Academy and studied engineering. Stu recalls “When I was in flight training (1980), something like a switch went off inside me.  I practically stopped eating red meat (we were eating something like 8K calories a day on the Academy varsity water polo team; plenty of meat!), and sold my classic ’73 340Cuda (I was really into fast cars; wrenched on them too) for an economy car. And I’ve never looked back.”

Stuart joined 350 Colorado in February of 2020 and has lent his expertise to the 350 CO Renewable Energy Committee through hosting a recent Fossil Free Home Tour where he shared his expertise in building electrification with our community. During the tour, Stuart shared pro tips about the decarbonization process, including the ongoing process to decarbonize the home, and make it as energy efficient as possible. His electrified home features pass-through ventilators, a reverse-engineered (wood stove) chimney pop-top, PV inverter/charge controller waste heat capture and so much more. Participants were also inspired by having a look at his Certified Gold Native Plant Garden. 

“Stu went above and beyond in hosting a Fossil Free & Beneficial Electrification Home Tour for our 350 Colorado community,” says Deb McNamara, 350’s Development and Communications Director. “He is a wealth of information and is keen to support others who are on the journey to decarbonize their homes. We appreciate how Stu has made himself available to our community for those who have questions or who want to see firsthand what an electrified home looks like.” Stuart has also compiled his tips and insights on home electrification here. 

“One of my favorite “part time jobs,” like volunteering for 350 Colorado, Drive Electric Colorado, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, etc, is helping individuals decarbonize.  It’s direct action, and it’s fun. I’ll give you the knowledge necessary for asking the right questions and getting the best service and products from your (HVAC, electrical, …) contractors,” shared Stuart. 

In addition to supporting 350 Colorado, Stuart has also been involved in forestry management with the Nature Conservancy, and is a member of the Native Plant Trust and Colorado Native Plant Society, where he has been fine-tuning his expertise in local prairie botany. 

With showers of gratitude, we thank Stu for everything he does to support the environment and the climate movement!

Want to be our next Climate Hero of the month? Join us as a volunteer by emailing volunteer@350colorado.org.