Around 150 people continued a crash course on “going green” Saturday when they attended the second day of the third annual Energy, Efficiency and the Environment Conference at Crowder College in Neosho, Mo.
Around 150 people continued a crash course on “going green” Saturday when they attended the second day of the third annual Energy, Efficiency and the Environment Conference at Crowder College.
Saturday’s activities began with an hour-long talk from Bob Dixson, mayor of Greensburg, Kan., the town that decided to rebuild as a totally “green” community after being destroyed by a tornado last year.
Afterward, attendees attended workshops of their choice, each having related in some way to “The Costs and Benefits of Going Green,” the theme of this year’s conference.
One of the sessions, “Holistically Green Homes: 18 points for Energy Efficient Living,” was hosted by Orlo Stitt, owner of Rogers, Ark.-based Stitt Construction and a pioneer in “green” building.
Stitt began in the business more than 30 years ago.
“It was a geek thing when we started, but now it’s kind of cool,” he said.
Though still a niche market, both totally “green” and energy-efficient homes are nevertheless in demand, Stitt said.
He said elements of alternative and renewable energy, as well as plain home energy efficiency, has to be dovetailed with one another if they are to truly be successful. It can’t just be any one thing someone does to really save on energy costs, he said.
“I’m seeing a lot of local groups who are focusing on initiatives to build better homes, to build better businesses, to bring green jobs to the area,” he said. “I think the political atmosphere is getting good for that. It’s going to be growing.”
Attendees also had the opportunity to stop by 14 different vendors and peruse energy-saving products.
Debbie Kenny, owner of Totally You Global Technology, of Joplin, mostly sells “green” air and water purifiers.
The FreshAir purifier, for instance, is a small box that can be set anywhere in the house and cover the entire home. It uses about as much energy as a 70-watt light bulb.
“How many people could afford to put a purifier in every room of their house and pay the electric for all of those fans and motors?” Kenny asked. “That’s a whole lot of energy wasted.”
C.J. Brummett, who works for Wal-Mart, said he started saving upwards of $100 a month on his utility bill after he and his wife, Jennifer, began taking some energy-saving measures around their home.
This included installing a more energy-efficient heat and air system, putting plastic over the windows in the wintertime, insulating cracks and crevices and buying power strips for all plug-ins (even when switched off, lamps and appliances still run at about 70 percent if just plugged into the wall, Brummett said).
He now goes around, under the Wal-Mart name, displaying common energy-saving products that most anyone can afford. Lining his information booth at Saturday’s conference were low-energy compact fluorescent light bulbs, spray foam insulation, low-volume showerheads and electric timers, among other items.
“These are things that really work and that I really believe in — that’s why I’m here,” Brummett said.
Kenneth Christen and Matthew Plummer are both enrolled in Crowder’s alternative energy program.
They attended this year’s conference to catch up on the latest in their chosen future career fields, which they see as the wave of the future and the common-sense thing to be involved in.
“If we can get the power we need without buying fuel every day or every other day, why not?” Plummer said with a shrug.
“And we’ve got to try and save our environment,” Christen added.
“That’s a bonus,” Plummer agreed.
Neosho Daily News