Renewable Energy: Lighten the environmental impact of your life

Renewable Energy: Lighten the environmental impact of your life

By By Robert & Sonia Vogl

Attend the Renewable Energy Fair in August and discover products and services which can lighten the environmental impact of everyday life. For every product or service we buy, there is a green alternative. Our purchases are opportunities to support a more sustainable world.

The average American family spends nearly $18,000 a year on household products and services. Energy Fair programs help you consider which green opportunities will work for your home and family.

Keith and Mary Blackmore consciously consider ways to lighten their environmental impact on the planet and work to preserve it as well. Their discussion session will inspire others to make their home, work and play a little greener than they thought possible.

Learn natural landscaping strategies to save water, time and energy in your own back yard with natural restoration specialist Shannon Neuendorf. Use some of that saved time and energy to restore a prairie, wetland or woodland. Bill Kielman, preserve manager of Nachusa Grassland, will offer guidelines on how to do it.

Have your imagination challenged by hearing a wide range of approaches to home construction.

Forget about the big, bad wolf and his effects on homes of straw. Get tips on building a straw bale house from John Haeme, builder of the first modern straw home in Illinois. Existing farm-grown straw resources in the U.S. are sufficient to build 5 million 2000-square foot homes a year.

If earth-sheltered buildings attract your interest, enjoy an informational slide program and question and answer session with Marty and Ruthanne Davis. Earth-sheltered home construction has been a family business since the late 1970s.

Dave Kozlowski will discuss green building techniques and materials for clean, energy-efficient homes which limit environmental risks to the occupants. Whether remodeling or thinking of building a new home, you will get some interesting ideas from these sessions. Dave’s workshops will be enhanced by demonstrations and hands-on activities.

If you have an interest in daylighting, adding a solar greenhouse to your home for hot air or water, or cleaning the household air. Roald Gunderson will help you think about how to do it in a sustainable manner.

If you’re interested in constructing a sustainable home, Lou Host-Jablonski has examples of low toxic homes and practical, proven ideas on how to build them.

Gain an historical perspective on solar and wind energy practices from the past through workshops by Steve Brooks and John Root.

Several booths will feature green building materials, floor coverings, air cleaners and personal care products which represent efforts to minimize the environmental impacts of our daily life choices. A permaculture exhibit will further illustrate new strategies to minimize the environmental impacts of human existence and activities.

We suggest you plan to attend all of these workshops and visit the green building booths for a sense of the varied approaches to remodeling or new home construction which lighten the environmental impacts of our homes.

Robert & Sonia Vogl are from the Illinois Renewable Energy Association.

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