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Port Jefferson Goes Green at Go-Green

A number of exhibitors demonstrated ways to go green and help save the planet at Port Jefferson Village's Go-Green Symposium.

On Saturday, the Port Jefferson Village produced its at the Village Center at Harborfront Park. This one came under the banner of "Youth Leads the Way." It was packed and it was a learning experience par excellence.

Three schools led the way. made a poster showing their project "No Waste Week" featured in an . There was an amazing exhibit of prints by the high school art department around student impressions of the devastation of the Gulf Oil Spill. The Environmental Club was in attendance. The Eighth Grade "Greengagers" reported on their activities.

The Setauket 4-H Club produced shopping bags crocheted from "plarn", yarn woven from discarded shopping bags. Students were also making beads and bowls from store catalogues. Their inspiration came from a project started by women in Kenya. The advisor of this club, Laura Hirsch, has inspired local youth to copy them and their work is beautiful.

Following up on the theme of recycling, Lorraine Kutzing, demonstrated home composting of green waste - kitchen peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds and more waste from the kitchen minus any meat products. They're piled into 'aerated' trashcans from Sears held down with a bungee cord. When turned often, this naturally becomes good soil within a few months. Next to her was Lynn Monaco who has devised a way to grow pin-thin white worms which thrive on wet shredded newspapers, coffee grounds etc and, when added to compost break it down even faster. Check out her fascinating website.

Across the room, Wade Long, the Vice President of Sales for Dr. Earth, commanded a lot of interest for his line of organic garden products.

"The point of using organic fertilizers is that these products are directed not just to the plant but to the soil itself," he said. "Greatly enhancing all the micro-organisms that are the real source of healthy, strong and fast growing plants. Good soil is alive with microbes, the great digesters of the earth, constantly breaking down organic materials into usable forms that plant roots can identify, absorb and ultimately incorporate for new growth. The plants themselves then become more nutritious."

The company-started in California 20 years ago-has now gone national. Dr. Earth products can be found at Agway. You can go visit Dr. Earth's website for more information.

Ryan Welsch who lives in Belle Terre was at the center of a whole row of people showing products available for creating and maintaining green LEED homes. A few years ago he began transforming his home into an all-electric house which is now so efficient that his total electric bill per month, including heating and air-conditioning, is $100 a month.

He started by investing in a geothermal heating and cooling system using underground loops in a heat exchanger system that captures stored solar energy in the ground and delivers it to the geothermal system in the house. The cycle is reversed in the summer to remove heat and humidity from the air, depositing it back into the earth. For a full explanation go to www.greenwayenv.com.

With the geothermal system in place, Welsch then went solar.

Attendees could pick up a LIPA Quick Guide to Solar Energy with a lot of information on whether your house qualifies, how to find a solar PV contractor and what the rebates you can get from the government. In very general terms, an average system may cost $30,160 but the rebates equal $9,100. Estimated saving on the annual bill would be $1,297 with the system paying for itself in 7 ½ years. The savings on the annual bill continue. Check out that website. The guide is available at www.nypa.gov.

Louis B. Mayer, the Executive Distributor for Liquid Siding all weather protective coating also demonstrated the power of his product, a three step paint job that guarantees you will never need to paint your house or building again.

"I love to use this on aluminum siding which is 30 or 40 years old, powdery and mildewed," he said.

Siding is strengthened enough to last a lifetime while the heat and cold conductivity of metal is stopped providing a noticeable saving in energy. It also comes in any color. The Port Jefferson's United Methodist Church which has just restored its brickwork with this product. See the Liquid Siding website.

Just to top the day off, resident Barbara Haegle invented a Green Sale.

"Bring what you no longer need and take anything you want," she said.

A great number of Christmas decorations, glass and chinaware changed hands. A donation jar collected $90!

What will Port Jefferson Village Go-Green produce next year? Stay tuned.

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