LYNDON – Sorry Kermit, but it's easy to be green.
Forty-five exhibitors proved that fact at the NEK Energy Expo held at Lyndon State College Saturday. The Northeastern Vermont Development Association sponsored the fourth annual event. Exhibits included hybrid and electric cars, biomass burn trailers, a solar contractor and everything else that’s environmentally friendly.
Renewable energy and energy conservation is very important. As Lorna Higgs, project manager for NVDA pointed out, fuel oil prices continue to rise and most energy experts believe that will continue.
“It’s time to start using renewable fuels,” said Higgs. “Our dependence on fossil fuels isn’t really sustainable.”
The expo was more for people interested in talking to energy experts instead of being entertained, like they might be at a home show.
Local banks are interested in helping individuals who want to go green. Mary Cote, business-banking officer for Passumpsic Savings Bank, attended the expo to support businesses that offer energy efficient products. The bank offers special loans to consumers who want to make their home more energy efficient.
Nate Hamblett, owner of the Farm Yard Store in Derby, was displaying wood pellet boilers and freestanding wood pellet stoves. Pellet stoves are easier to use and require less maintenance than wood burning stoves.
“They’re mechanical so they tend to themselves versus wood,” he said. “The big thing is get off your oil dependency.”
Pellet systems tie into the traditional heating system already in place.
“You have a choice of oil or pellets,” said Hamblett. If something happens to one, the other will work. “We don’t eliminate systems, we tie them into systems.”
Wood pellets are locally available.
Consumers should look for a four-year payback, Hamblett said.
Mark Collete, from Collete's Plumbing and Heating, displayed various products including wood pellet stoves. The systems provide central heating, are about 75 to 95 percent efficient, and can even heat domestic hot water.
Northwoods Stewardship Center used a bicycle to show the energy difference between incandescent bulbs, compact florescent bulbs and LED bulbs.
The expo included numerous educational seminars including one on farm energy and a second on wind power by First Wind. Catherine Morriell said interest in wind power is increasing all over the country.
“We’re constantly developing,” she said. “We have several projects in construction now and even more in development.”
First Wind runs the wind farm on Sheffield Mountain. As of Saturday, the system is running 99.7 percent. Morriell said the company is doing better than projected. The company is selling the power to Washington Electric Co-Op, Vermont Electric Co-Op and Burlington Electric.
“We’re making enough power to run about 16,000 homes,” Morriell said.