Evanston’s Green Living Festival promotes use of ecofriendly practices at home

Susan Du

Tap water is good. Halogen light bulbs are bad. Nearly anything remotely biotic can be composted. A house could be designed with basic “sustainable architecture” mantras to maximize its harvest of passive solar energy.

These are only a few of the tenets of living an eco-conscious life that were shared at the 2010 Evanston Green Living Festival. The festival is an annual tradition hosted by the Evanston Environmental Association in conjunction with the City of Evanston.

This year’s event showcased more than 60 exhibitions by local businesses and national franchises at the Evanston Ecology Center. Although the central focus of all exhibitors was to promote the ideal “Live Green, Bring it Home,” each booth at the fair specialized in far-ranging aspects of green living, such as the importance of worms as natural composters, the disadvantages of bottled water and the merits of plastic lunch boxes.

Erlene Howard, the president of Collective Resource, one of the local businesses at the festival, described the mission of her company as “changing the paradigm of garbage.” As a composting service, Collective Resource aims to save landfill space by naturally decomposing biotic materials ranging from table scraps to unlaminated paper plates. The company charges for garbage pickup by the bucket on weekly and biweekly plans, and offers referral and group discounts.

I increase business and increase the number of people who compost,” Howard said.

Sarah Hetzler, a McCormick freshman volunteering in Evanston at the time of the Green Living Festival, pointed out the inefficiencies of NU’s dining hall disposal methods. She envisioned making extensive cuts in the University’s trash output through implementing composting systems.

“I am going to propose the idea to our Sargent (Hall) president and treasurer to see what power they have,” Hetzler said.

Other exhibits at the festival included those of green homes experts such as the local Studio Talo Architecture. Studio Talo custom designs homes and home fixtures around Evanston and the greater Chicago area to be structurally eco-conscious. For example, they promote the addition of overhangs on upper-level floors, which create naturally cooler rooms.

Also at the festival, the national business Renewal by Andersen offered advice on saving energy by testing windows and doors for drafts.

The Green Living Festival also included presentations of green home systems, such as solar energy panels and rain barrels. The child-friendly programs of live animal demos and eco-musicals reached out to the younger demographic so they could learn something about living green as well.

Despite heavy rains and low temperatures, the festival witnessed a steady stream of traffic from loyal local supporters. Explaining the incentive for most businesses to exhibit at the festival, Renewal by Andersen spokesman Jeff Cook said the event was more of a “community outreach” opportunity than an advertisement venture.

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