Falmouth fair promotes home energy alternatives

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FALMOUTH — Despite some snowfall, vendors set up shop in the elementary school for the town’s second annual Home Energy Fair on Jan. 24.

Kimberly Darling, the town’s energy and sustainability coordinator, said a small turnout was to be expected because of the weather, but the service was still important. Nearly two dozen companies and nonprofits in fields of energy and sustainability exhibited their services during the event hosted by the Recycling and Energy Advisory Committee.

“The benefit is to connect home owners with heating professionals,” Darling said, so they could discuss ways to reduce expenses and their impact on the environment.

Darling added the fair was useful for children as well, because “it gets kids thinking about it.”

Darling said the vendors singed up through the Efficiency Maine website and had to pay a fee to present. The fee was $100 for the Falmouth fair, but was $200 if the vendor wanted to present at two other fairs coming up on Feb. 28 in Gorham and March 14 in South Portland. She said the fee was waived for nonprofits that didn’t have the budget.

Darling said the school was a good venue for the event, because the building is LEED-certified. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a set of rating systems for buildings, intended to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and efficient.

Katrina Venhuizen, an educator at Maine Audubon Society, said Audubon didn’t present at the fair last year, but is planning to attend the other fairs this year.

One of the things Venhuizen was promoting was a recently installed solar array at Audubon’s Gilsland Farms headquarters. She said the panels supply 85 percent of the energy to the farm.

“It’s all about getting people together and letting them know what’s available,” Venhuizen said.

That sentiment was shared by other vendors.

Alex Pine, who works in outreach and technology at Portland-based Maine Standard Biofuels, which turns cooking grease from restaurants into biodiesel, said it was good to get all the vendors in one spot so the public could meet them and bounce ideas off them.

“This is nice because it brings everyone into the same room,” Pine said.

Suzan Elichaa, who owns the solar heat and hot water company Solaris in Portland, said her company does “anything mechanical to help save money.

“We’re here because we want to help educate the public on options on cutting fuel bills,” Elichaa said. She added it was a good thing to have all the vendors together because if one service isn’t right, the customer can talk to someone else.

“We try to do what’s right for the customer and the planet,” Pine said.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Sidebar Elements


Alex Pine of Maine Standard Biofuels shows his company’s finished product, which recycles kitchen grease from restaurants into biodiesel for cars. Pine represented one of more than 20 vendors who came to the Home Energy Fair on Saturday, Jan. 24, at Falmouth Elementary School.

The Maine Audubon Society display at the Falmouth Home Energy Fair showcased installed solar panels that supply 85 percent of the energy to Gilsland Farms.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.