Home Energy Expo expands show

By Tom Phelan - ReminderNews
Enfield - posted Wed., Feb. 1, 2012
The Nissan Leaf was one of two all-electric cars at the entrance to the show at EHS. Photos by Tom Phelan.
The Nissan Leaf was one of two all-electric cars at the entrance to the show at EHS. Photos by Tom Phelan.

The third annual Home Energy Expo - sponsored by the Enfield Clean Energy Committee on Sunday, Jan. 29 - easily topped previous editions in terms of both attendance and show floor options.

This year's show included 35 vendors, about twice the number of participants in the two previous years. Home Depot was among the first-time exhibitors, along with BiO Pellet, SunPower and the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt electric cars.

This was the third Home Energy Show, but the first at Enfield High School, according to Jeff Myjak, chairman of the Enfield Clean Energy Committee and four-year committee member. The change of venue was made to enable the inclusion of electric automobiles. About halfway through the five-hour show, Myjak said there was significant interest in LED bulbs and the BiO Brick alternative to wood and wood pellets.

Myjak estimated between 300 and 400 people would see the show floor before the doors closed. Education of the consumer is ECE's goal. “There's a lot of things out there that people don’t understand,” said Myjak. He listed LED (light emitting diode) technology, compact florescent lighting (CFL) as well as the options within the Connecticut Clean Energy Program as examples.

“By supporting clean energy options, you don’t necessarily have to put solar panels on your house,” Myjak said. In the two years that ECE has been actively promoting the clean energy option, the group has convinced more than 200 residential customers to sign up for the program. “By signing up for the clean energy option program, you're saying I want at least half of the energy coming into my house to be renewable energy - solar, wind or hydro,” Myjak said. The success ECE has had to date qualifies the town for a 2-kilowatt solar system installation on one of the municipal buildings next year, with the funding to come from the state's Clean Energy Fund.

At the Eco Attic Guard booth, owner Bill Brown told consumers about the reflective insulation technology his company installs in homes and commercial buildings. The thin foil material creates a breathable barrier that reflects the sources of heat in winter and summer. Brown said the products were appropriate for installation over existing insulation in rafters and walls, in basement ceilings, crawl spaces and garage ceilings under living spaces.

In the hall space immediately outside the exhibit space, Glenn Martin (GM Industries, Inc.) attracted a great deal of attention to the free-standing solar panel array from SunPower, which his company has installed at a few homes in Connecticut. Martin said the array could supply all the electricity a home needs, with the excess power generated being off-loaded to the power company's grid. The unit stands atop a tower that adjusts the panel array's direction and angle toward the sun during daylight hours. The free-standing aspect and dynamic movement facing the sun makes it applicable to almost any house and landscaping configuration.

The Town of Enfield has been working to apply clean energy resources in its own buildings. Myjak pointed out that four of the town's firehouses are operating 9-kilowatt solar systems, getting all the electricity the systems produce, at a savings of about $200 per month per firehouse. Each solar installation has 44 panels.

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