Live Green, Connecticut.
It's not just a request, it's a command. We all know that the Earth is the only planet we can live on until Mars is colonized (no time soon), and we need to take better care of it. It's not just to make things prettier along the highways, it's our responsibility to use all our resources wisely and by so doing not degrade our environment, but rather improve it for our and future generations.
I know that sounds preachy and there's a lot of controversy on global warming and other environmental topics. There's no room to argue these points here. One thing I do know is that if we use or reuse our resources wisely we'll save our hard-earned dollars and that's a big plus, especially in this economy.
This weekend in Norwalk you can get some inspiration and new ideas on how to do this at Live Green Connecticut.
It's the third year this ecology-focused event has been held at Taylor Farm Park and I know you'll enjoy the more than 150 exhibits, the 11 musical performances on the event stage, the Cool Kids' Zone with pony rides, petting zoo, curious creatures, face painting and so much more.
For details on the event, which now includes the new Tesla Model S all-electric 5 or 7 passenger sedan, go to www.LiveGreenCT.com.
If you're looking for a job you still have no excuse. The Green Jobs Panel may help you to land one is Saturday, September 15th at 3 p.m. Admission is free for the whole family and parking is $5 per car.
You'll probably walk away with goody bags and free samples worth much more than your parking fee. Live green, Connecticut!
New York rooftops eyed
for harvesting sunlight
Flyovers of New York City suggest that as much as 40 percent of NYC's energy needs could be accommodated by installing solar panels on all its suitable rooftops. So say researchers from the City University of New York working with the Department of Energy. They've calculated the solar energy potential for the city's rooftops at a whopping 5,800 megawatts if all those roofs were equipped with solar cells.
How many are suitable? About two-thirds of the city's 1 million structures were found to be suitable for solar outfitting. New York State is pushing hard on this and is making $107 million in grants available statewide to help boost solar installations. Live green, New York.
Green Building Council applauds state legislatures
The U.S. Green Building Council has recognized 30 "wins" for the environment in various state legislatures around the country over the first six months of 2012. The USGBC said more than 400 green bills had been introduced in legislatures in the first half of the year.
Guess what? We're one of them. The Connecticut General Assembly is near agreement on the creation of the nation's first state-managed green bank that will provide low-interest rates on loans to make green power and efficiency improvements.
Also on the list is Montana's governor who vetoed a bill that would have rolled back the state's green building code. Florida made the list by passing two bills to acknowledge builders who have made strides in the affordable production of green homes.
As an example of affordable green construction, Dwell Development owner Anthony Maschmedt says he is building substantially green homes that yield a big payback in operating cost.
These projects receive no outside funding yet still offer significant energy savings at affordable prices -- only 2 to 5 percent above the cost of conventional construction.
Maschmedt says that he only needs to do a handful of "green" things.
When the house is nearly completed, he sprays the entire surface with a rubber and asphalt substance that seals even the smallest crevices. He also makes sure that every nail and screw is sealed with caulk.
The most expensive system in the house, he says, is a ventilation system that actually heats cooler air from the outside as it enters the house during the heating season.
Homeowners need to be watchful of indoor air quality
The Earth Advantage Institute has released a list of air quality concerns it believes homeowners should be aware of - not on the outside of their homes, but inside.
EAI points out that many people have a hard time breathing in fumes from new carpeting and newly installed or refinished hardwood floors. Both can give off toxic vapor irritants. Carpeting that is well cleaned, it says, tends to be a better choice.
It also reports that granite tops imported from Africa and South America are being found to have higher levels of cancer-causing radon than other sources.
This continues to be an industry concern that keeps popping up in news articles. It's not hard to test your home for radon using a store-purchased kit which then gets sent to a lab for analysis. Better safe than sorry.
"Only when I saw the Earth from space, in all its ineffable beauty and fragility, did I realize that humankind's most urgent task is to cherish and preserve it for future generations."
-- Barack Obama
"I think it's important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and global warming that you're seeing."
-- Mitt Romney, June 3, 2012, Manchester, N.H.
Ken Edwards is the principal Broker for Edwards & Associates and has lived in town since 1974. All opinions expressed in this column are entirely his own and not those of this publisher. Comments, questions and suggestions may be sent to K_W_Edwards@Yahoo.com or call or text him at (203) 918-4444. Questions of general interest will be addressed in this column while others will receive individual responses.