Sunday, April 19, 2009

Go Green and Live Well Expo

Yesterday, we attended the first annual Go Green and Live Well Expo at the Tacoma Dome. Our first weekend in Tacoma last year, we attended the biannual Tacoma Livable Communities Fair, a huge event that included not only environmental groups and services, but a number of nonprofits and other groups concerned about making Tacoma a better place to live for everyone. It was a great event, and we made our first friends there (a family with two preschool age daughters), and I made a connection that led to the job I have now. We learned about the event when we stopped at a grocery store to get food and saw a big poster advertising it.

Whatever the Livable Communities Fair organizers did to publicize and grow the event, however, the Go Green expo folks didn't do. There were maybe thirty vendors there, and what appeared to be the same number of visitors walking around, which was disappointing to many of the vendors.

It was well-worth it for my family to attend, however. For example, I met a chiropractor who gave me some great ideas to help with my back and knee issues; a guy who runs an earthworm farm who invited me to come out and see it, so he can help me restart my worm composting bin; and a woman who, like me with my skin and hair care issues, started making her own products to help her daughter's sensitive skin, and has since turned her line of products into her own home-based business.

There were also some representatives there from Tacoma Public Utilities, who were impressed with what we've done so far to reduce our energy and water usage (I brought our bill with us), and gave us some suggestions for other improvements, especially as we begin yard care this spring. My in-laws used to hire someone to do it, but we're going to have to do it ourselves, so we have a lot to learn. (On that note, we were able to obtain an energy-saving, rechargeable battery-operated lawn mower and several yard tools last fall via Freecycle. And yes, the lawn mower, which retails for about $500, was free. The old owner said it didn't work, but thought it might just need a new battery. It cost us about $80 to go to a Black and Decker shop, get them to look it over, clean the mower and replace the battery for us. Now it works jut fine).

Also good were the contacts we made that are possible referral sources for Green Irene. Green Irene sells mostly small ticket items for energy improvements, such as CFL's, energy-saving shower heads and the like. They recommend that their consultants make local contacts who offer the big-ticket items, such as solar panels, to whom you can refer your customers as needed. Along those lines, we met a young guy with a solar installation company called Revosol. We also met a family whose business, West Seattle Natural Energy, installs not only solar panels but also wind energy towers. They're the only wind energy company west of the Rockies. We also met a few folks from different types of home-based businesses that sell items not yet offered by Green Irene, which I will inform the Green Irene corporate office about in case they want to partner. One of these is EcoQuest.

(If you're wondering whether I recorded all this info so I wouldn't forget any of it, you're right!)

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