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Project Category: Municipal
Project Title: Town Energy Fair
Contact: Katherine Freygang
Town: Cornwall CT
Group: Cornwall Energy Task Force (www.CornwallCTenergy.org)
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 860 672 6010

Project Description: A Town Energy Fair- This fair included as many eco- and energy- friendly solution venues as wanted to present. The goal was to advance the recognition that Energy Conservation, Climate Change and Sustainability are not new concepts but represent a cultural shift towards acknowledging resources and behaviors as having limits that affect all aspects of our infrastructure, administrative systems, and ultimately our health.

Project Volunteers: initially, a small environmental group undertook this project and joined forces with another volunteer organization, the Cornwall Association, which annual presents an event around a local issue. Other key players were the school principal and facilities manager, and the town selectman.

Project Planning: This Project took 2-3 months including concept development, capturing publicity deadlines (often one month in advance) and registering visiting presenters. Posters and a program were published. The key features were:

  • Addresses by a key politicians, advocacy group and CEFIA representative. This required a gym stage, chairs, scheduling.
  • A Film Festival showing the 3 best films on climate change and sustainability. This required a dark classroom, chairs, screen and projector, scheduling.
  • Vendor Displays consisted of about a dozen tables for key vendors for lighting, environmental advocacy, utilities, other energy efficient products and services. This required the back of the gym and a listing on the program.
  • A Local Food Booth with delicacies and drinks provided by local purveyors, specifically muffins with local fruit, cider, milk, maple sugar products and sandwiches with local meat and vegetables.
  • An Education Lab with games explaining climate change, carbon footprints, etc. on monitors for kids to try. The computer lab required a technician to set up the computers.
  • House Tour- Three homes were open to the public with scheduled presentations by the owners staggered throughout the day (~11, 1 and 3). The owners also promised to be home for a large part of the day so that they could both meet stragglers and also get to the fair (10-4). Times were listed.
  • A Car Show in the parking lot exhibited fuel-efficient models by Ford, Toyota and Honda, as well as 2 cars redesigned by a neighbor and a high school class to run on cafeteria vegetable oil. If we had had more time we would have run a car race to use the least gas over a course. This required registering the participants only, and keeping a portion of the lot clear for displays.

 Project Resources: We only used about $250 for paper supplies both picnic (cups, plates, napkins) and publicity (posters, programs). Everything else was supplied by volunteers or electronically.

Project Results: This was a kick-off event. People learned what a carbon footprint was and how to start abating theirs with lighting. They understood the Energy Option Campaign and how it benefitted the school, informed political agendas, and more.

We are proud of the civic pride we’ve developed towards sustainable living. Overall this event set the tone for our development as a green town. People recognized resources they could take home and understood the focus at the school to learn about solar and alternative energy. The school has become the model and testing ground for all our projects. The kids take home what they learn. Rebates and awards are reinvested in the kids in the forms of outside speakers and class trips to places like Talcott Mt. Environmental Center. We also have events at town hall and the library but a family event, fun for all, sticks in everyone’s memory.

Project Results (specific): About half the town showed up. Eventually 30% signed up for the Clean Energy Options Campaign saving 5% the first year and commissioning an audit for greater savings. We also popularized solar having roughly 20 installations in town. Priuses and Jettas are multiplying.

Lessons Learned:

  • Tap into town cultural events, listen carefully to individual challenges and recommend clean energy technology solutions.
  • Use publicity to celebrate accomplishments and create a community memory bank that will develop a sense of achievement.
  • An enthusiastic reporter is your best friend.

Other Towns: Kent held a fair like a day of classes with different speakers or panels in each room. Their vendor floor in the gym was full. Politicians spoke informally and food was available but not themed. See www.kentedrive.org/.

‎Enfield does one annually focused on households, at the local Middle School, with presentations in the auditorium and a full space of vendors. They identify vendors well in advance by cruising home shows and reading up on trends, and combine perennially interesting topics with new stuff so it stays fresh.

Resources

 

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Calendar Highlights

FALL GATHERING

HIGHLIGHTS OF CT’s FALL GATHERING of clean energy task forces can be found here in our Knowledge Center’s Program Archives pages. Diane Duva (the Director of Energy Demand at DEEP’s Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy is pictured here) facilitating the shaping of our state’s energy future.

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Clean Energy Communities Listening Session Letter of Thanks and Follow-up

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