Saturday, April 18, 2009

Greenful Things

Saturday being kind of a ho-hum, potentially rainy day...

...we set out for Greenfield for a look at their Better Living Show and Green Fair. Although we rarely go to the better living shows, the 'Green Fair' portion of it had me intrigued. The exhibition is being held at the Franklin County Fairgrounds this weekend, and they ask for a two dollar donation to get in; fair enough.

Maybe because of the huge area set up for the event making things seem roomier, or maybe it's the comatose housing and renovation market, or maybe it was just the blah weather on Saturday, but the turnout appeared to be moderate and we had no problem finding parking or waiting to get in.

There's several long tents set up alongside more permanent fairground buildings. Outside the first tent, a Hip-Hop performer called Tim Blessed was setting up for a show.

Though his set was mainly focused on cleverly written social and sustainability issues, he started off the set with a more traditional hip-hop ditty. To wit:

Greenfield appeared to be not quite ready...Blessed has talent, and the show was worthy of a bigger audience.

We entered the first building, where a panel of representatives from local green technology companies and organizations were discussing career choices in renewable energy and recycling technologies for home and business.

They mentioned that what's needed at the moment, more than just laborers in the growing field of 'green' building and recycling, are management and supervisor-level people who really take renewable and sustainable technology to heart and can lead through example.

It was number two of five such panels that will be speaking throughout Saturday and Sunday. The participants were pretty passionate about what they do and what they believe is the wave of the future. It was very interesting, and (being in the heating and air conditioning field myself), it was really the main reason I wanted to come to the event.

But, since we were here, we had to check out the rest of the show. Into the first big tent, there was more renewable and recyclable wares and crafts to see.

One vendor, Olsen Design, has the good idea of turning non-recyclable materials into cool looking bibs, quilts, and other items like jewelry.

There were local organically grown food stuffs to be seen, tasted, promoted and purchased.

Being Portuguese, I had to test out some of these samples of a non-animal version of chourico sausages. Spicy, and actually pretty good tasting.

I grew up witnessing first hand the making of real chourico sausages; I mean first hand. But that's a blog post for another day...

Trusty Hemp apparently will continue it's role as a renewable but under-utilized resource; at least until the drug wars are over.

Other renewable energy vendors included the sun-utilizing variety, with a vendor of all things photovoltaic...

...and another vendor selling solar heated hot water systems; Sun Energy from Cheshire Mass.

The owner Jim Sherratt took some time with me to explain the system and where the technology is at. He networks with local home builders to get the word out about the new technology option. The solar energy collecting panels that are placed on the roof are similar looking to the familiar electricity producing photovoltaic panels, but instead contain tubing for liquid to circulate and heat up water, which is then stored in tanks in the house. The technology still has some bugs to be worked out, like the need to dump unused hot water to avoid overheating, and but it's well on it's way to being widely used.

Probably the number one hindrance to the popularity of solar technolgy, the price, is still up there, though state and federal tax credits do cover about a third of the cost. So for the time being, to install such a system still requires a bit of a sacrifice to your wallet to help save your conscience, and the planet. But it's getting easier, and the word is getting out...

Farther down the tent and building row was the more traditional Better-Living Show, with Home products and efficiency upgrades to windows, insulation materials and state of the art oil and gas fired boilers and furnaces. Other products include luxury oriented items like home spas and hot tubs.

We traveled back up the row of tents and buildings for one more look on the way out, and Dr. Worm gave us one final lesson in perhaps the oldest form of recycling; composting.

It was interesting to see that the green movement has made such inroads to home renovation and building exhibitions. Green technologies seem to have taken up more than half of the exhibits at this show.


Mary E.Carey said...

Is it true that witnessing sausage making- like lawmaking -- is not for the faint-hearted?

Tony said...

You'll need a stout heart, a firm grip and an indifferent nose. (I can't speak for the legislators!)