Energy efficiency in Illinois to be focus of Energy Fair presentation

Deputy director of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to speak

The last few years of supply manipulations, facilities shutdowns, storms, collapses of the electrical grid and wars have left consumers anxious about our energy future. The latest monthly report from the U.S. Department of Energy indicates oil prices will remain around $40 per barrel through 2005. High demand, coupled with low world oil surplus capacity, leaves consumers vulnerable to world market disruptions. Peak oil and natural gas advocates suggest high energy prices are here to stay.

We need not remain hapless victims of uncertainties regarding energy supplies and prices. We can take calm, reasonable action now before another energy event occurs. We can also celebrate a little-noticed victory for energy efficiency in Illinois. The state recently passed an energy efficiency code covering all commercial, industrial and multi-unit residential buildings. This will help save electricity, limit increases in natural gas prices and clean the environment.

The code effort was spearheaded by the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) with support from the interested public. Barry Matchett will describe the ELPC’s efforts to increase the use of renewables and efficiency and bring more energy sector jobs to Illinois at this year’s Illinois Renewable Energy Fair, Aug. 7-8 at the Ogle County Fairgrounds in Oregon.

“Keeping Energy Dollars Local” will describe the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s efforts to support renewable energy while protecting the environment, stimulating the economy and providing jobs in Illinois. Hans Detweiler, deputy director of DCEO, will make the presentation.

Numerous other presentations inform participants of energy efficiency options. Marty and Ruthanne Davis of Armington will address Earth Sheltered Homes. Their newest home near Creston can be toured on Saturday evening by a limited number of participants. Another limited evening tour will feature Kathy and Kent Lawrence’s newly constructed green home near the fairgrounds. Their home uses passive solar heating and electricity from wind and solar sources.

Jon Haeme will give a slide presentation covering straw bale building with time for an open discussion. Madison architect Lou Host-Jablonski designed an urban natural house featuring straw-clay walls, passive cooling, passive solar air-core earthen floors, earthen plaster and recycled materials. Michigan architect Christina Snyder will discuss how the principles of a Zero (Fossil Fuel) Energy House can be applied to new construction and remodeling now.

Christine Hulet, a Blanchardville, Wis., engineer, will present Energy Efficiency for New and Existing Homes. She will include a reference list for do-it-yourselfers. John Root, Energy Services adviser for Muscatine, Iowa, will make a presentation directed at saving energy in businesses and a second targeted at homes and churches.

James Cavallo will present “Home Energy Ratings on Older Houses and Apartment Buildings,” discussing cost effective ways to save energy. Dan Alway will discuss saving energy dollars with “Energy Efficient Appliances for Convention and Off-Grid Homes.”

Additional efficiency ideas and alternatives to fossil fuels will be on display. Corn, wood pellet and wood stoves and furnaces will be there along with personnel who install and service them.

Efficiency options abound to make us all more energy independent.

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