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Alliance Intends To Mobilize
GRAND RAPIDS — The Alliance for Environmental Sustainability is on a mission to educate the public about green building, energy efficiency, and construction that promotes indoor air quality, and it’s now gearing up to take its show on the road.
To spread its message farther, the
Alliance President Mike Halcomb, owner of Home Inspector General, said the organization has been getting more Internet visitors on its Web site than actual foot traffic through its doors since opening a
“Our interest was in providing a place where builders and consumers could go and look at displays of actual products in use without being pressured to buy a particular product and be able to compare products to find out what works for them and fits into their budgets.
“We realized the space we had was underutilized because there wasn’t that much off-the-road traffic coming in, unless we ran a seminar or held an event. For training purposes, it’s easier for us to take displays to where there is a large group of people than it is to have a large group of people come here.”
“We expect to have working models and some actual solar panels on the trailer. We may even have a green roof on it if things work well. We’d like people to see that a green roof can be installed on almost any type of property.”
The first hurdle is raising the funds to buy the mobile unit. Executive Director Jeannine Reynolds said that, after seeing some specs and cost estimates, the
“Deep green” developer Guy Bazzani of Bazzani Associates Inc. restored the historic
Halcomb said the group founded the nonprofit because it felt there weren’t enough educational resources on green building and energy efficiency available in the community.
Most people, he said, appear to be particularly interested in seminars on green building, which naturally encompasses energy efficiency.
“Everybody’s concerned about high energy bills. I had a lot of calls this winter from people that had energy bills of $500 to $600 to $700 a month on existing homes. I think builders have to give people a reason to buy a new home, and one of the things people are interested in is the energy aspect of it.
“When building a home or remodeling a home, you only get one chance to do it right. The very things that would save you the most amount of money are the things that are getting the least amount of attention.”
It’s easy to upgrade carpeting, countertops or cabinets. But it’s costly and difficult to upgrade the thermal shell of a home once it’s built, he said.
On another front, the
The organization is now conducting initial tests on a Japanese product for hydroponic gardening that’s supposed to increase the yield of fruits, vegetables or whatever else is planted, he said. The
He pointed out that soybean and corn growers are currently competing for available land to increase their yields. He said the most important aspect of corn oil, soy oil and all the vegetable-based oils is that they can be used to produce biodiesel fuel, a cleaner burning fuel made from natural, renewable sources rather than petroleum.
Vegetable oils are also being used in place of petroleum to produce polyol products like plastic insulation, as well as many other kinds of products serving the construction, appliance, molded products, transportation and packaging industries.
“Doing it with soy, corn and vegetable-based oils means it’s sustainable because we can actually grow two acres of soybeans, while we can’t grow two acres of oil. It will make us less dependent on foreign oil.”