Monday, November 05, 2007

Expo: It's cool to be green

By Matthew Tetrault
November 05, 2007 6:00 AM

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — The Maine Partners for Cool Communities wants you to know it's easy being green.

MPCC, a coalition of environmental activist groups, is the architect behind the town's first-ever smart energy expo at Marshwood High School on Sunday. The expo is part of the group's initiative to educate communities about renewable energy and global warming.
How you can help

Get a tune-up: A well-tuned car burns less gas, cutting pollution and saving money.

Use fluorescent bulbs: Fluorescent light bulbs use 25 percent less electricity and last 10 times as long.

Button up your home: Start replacing caulking and weather-stripping on doorways and windows. And each time you lower your thermostat a degree, your energy bill is reduced by 3 percent.

The five-hour expo was made up of booths from 35 local businesses specializing in renewable energy and eco-friendly building design. Some of the products included home solar panel installation, geothermic heating systems, and biodiesel home heating oil.

Outside, attendees could take an electric car for a spin around the school. There were also demonstrations with tips to cut energy costs and information about recycling.

About 300 attended the expo, according to MPCC member Melissa Boyd, who said she was pleased with the turnout.

"It shows people are starting to care about these issues. ... There used to be a sort of apathy toward global warming. Now, people are saying. 'I can do something in my town to stop this.' "

Mike and Mindi Messmer of Portsmouth, N.H., attended the expo and said they've had an energy audit done on their home and are considering using solar power to heat their water.

"We're willing to spend some money to save the environment," Mike Messmer said, "especially if it also helps us save money in the long run."

Although she was encouraged by the turnout, Boyd said there is still plenty of work to be done. According to Boyd, Maine is the most fossil fuel-dependent state in the country.

She said MPCC plans more expos like this one, along with other educational programs and campaigns for clean energy legislation. For more information and a list of eco-friendly businesses, visit

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