DEP exhibit enlightens at farm show

HARISBURG -If you are thinking about renovating your home or building a new one, you will find some good ideas at a new exhibit at the 97th Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.

The state Department of Environmental Protection’s “DEP at Home” exhibit is an interactive, educational exhibit fashioned into a home structure that features practices and products promoting energy efficiency and sustainable building materials as well as environmentally friendly and Pennsylvania-produced products for the home.

“We are trying to show the impacts you can have on the environment by the decisions you make every day in your home,” said Kerry Campbell from DEP’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Energy Assistance. “If you have a more fuel efficient home, you will use less electricity and other fuels and have less impact on the environment.”

“The exhibit is to show in interactive ways what residents can do to reduce energy and water use and how it impacts the environment,” said Ann Roda of the agency’s Office of Field Operations. “It shows people some easy things they can do at their home.”

The three-room exhibit has a bathroom/laundry area, kitchen and living room that showcase decor, appliances and building materials that help improve energy efficiency, water conservation, radon awareness, air quality and other staples of environmental awareness. There is also an outdoor space that includes a dog house with green roofing and a bicycle.

For example, the bathroom features a dual flush toilet which reduces water consumption, low-flow showerheads and a faucet aerator and sink reduces water consumption. The kitchen has cork flooring, LED lighting over the cabinets, natural gas appliances and Ice Stone counter tops which are made with recycled glass and portland cement produced in Pennsylvania. The living room features a programmable thermostat, reclaimed wood and bamboo flooring and carpet squares which prevent excessive carpet replacement.

The display showcases water and energy efficient concepts that can be useful for the homeowner.

“These are things that are good for the environment and the bottom line – you can save on water and energy costs,” Roda said.

“There are ideas the homeowner can take home, for someone who may build a home there are green ideas here to implement in construction of your home or renovation of your home,” Campbell said.

DEP will showcase the new exhibit, which was created through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program, at home shows, schools and other educational events to continue to promote the benefits of energy efficiency and sustainable building practices.

The exhibit goes hand-in-hand with a series of quarterly webinars, also called DEP at Home, produced by DEP to educate families about energy-efficient and environmentally friendly practices they can implement in their homes.

The next webinar, Radon Awareness, will be from 7 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 16.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show runs through Saturday. Hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Admission is free, and parking is $10. The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is easily accessed from nearby Interstate 81.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.