Organizers hope for improved turnout at Falmouth energy fair

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FALMOUTH — Residents this weekend will have the opportunity to learn about potential ways to cut their energy bills.

The third annual Falmouth Home Energy Fair will be held Saturday, Jan. 23, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Falmouth Elementary School cafeteria, 74 Woodville Road.

The free event will have presentations from companies and organizations on technologies including solar energy, boilers, biofuels, rebate programs, insulation and more.

The event is organized by the town’s Recycling and Energy Advisory Committee. Kimberly Darling, the town’s energy and sustainability coordinator, said all the vendors are registered with Efficiency Maine.

Jeff Edelstein, executive director of the Greater Portland Sustainability Council, which is helping put on the event, said the goal is to promote education for energy alternatives.

“What we’re really trying to do is provide a one-stop-shop for homeowners,” Edelstein said. “This is the most effective way they can learn about the technologies out there.”

Edelstein said the hope is each attendee will be able to leave the event with a better understanding of “which approach might be most useful for their particular home and circumstance.”

He added there are a several home-energy options and approaches available, and the fair will give homeowners and renters the ability to “customize what works best for their own needs.”

“We hope people come away understanding not only the benefits of clean energy for the environment, but also to understand a lot of these environmental technologies are good for Maine,” he said.

Edelstein said the plan is to have about two dozen vendors, including ReVision Energy, Goggin Energy, Maine Standard Biofuels, Evergreen Home Performance and others. He said some vendors will be offering “really attractive and valuable door prizes,” such as product discounts.

Darling said she will also be giving out reusable shopping bags. Last week, the Town Council unanimously approved a 5-cent fee on single-use plastic and paper bags at stores over 10,000 square feet. The ordinance takes effect April 1, and will affect shoppers at the town’s six largest retailers: Shaw’s, Hannaford, Wal-Mart, Goodwill, Rite Aid and Staples.

Edelstein said one benefit of switching to cleaner energy options is that the technologies help battle climate change. He said in Maine, climate change is affecting the fishing industry negatively, and converting to cleaner energy sources will “give us the chance to protect all that we know and love.”

Edelstein said the first fair year drew around 200 people, while last year only 100 people came because of poor weather. Edelstein said he hopes “several hundred” will attend this year.

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

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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.