COLUMBUS, Ohio — When we think of green homes, we often think: expensive and futuristic.
However, over time, they may not cost more, and they certainly aren’t limited to the future.
A daylong May 16 workshop will help homeowners and builders understand ways they can minimize energy costs and improve their indoor air quality.
Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its partners will host the second Green Home Workshop at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, in Columbus.
“We want people to live healthier in their homes,” said Qian Chen, an associate professor of construction systems management for the college. Chen is among the speakers at the workshop, which is for homeowners, builders, building professionals, students and faculty.
“Many have heard of green and energy efficiency measures for homes, but don’t know how they can be implemented in their lives,” Chen said. “We want to make them familiar with the technology so when they make decisions they will be informed.”
Participants in the workshop can tour the enCORE house, an 800-square-foot solar house on campus that was built and designed by Ohio State students and includes systems to harvest renewable energy and to collect rainwater and reuse household wastewater that’s not flushed.
Featured speakers will highlight best practices for insulating and sealing homes as well as the most sustainable ways to heat and cool a home. A representative from Owens Corning will discuss insulating buildings, and a Lutron Electronics representative will demonstrate energy efficient and smart control of the lighting.
In 2014, residential homes in the U.S. consumed 22 percent of the total energy and contributed to 25 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
About half the energy consumed in a home is for heating and cooling, said Lingying Zhao, the faculty director of enCORE house and a professor of food, agricultural and biological engineering.
“You’re spending a lot on energy, and when you’re using electricity-generating coal-fired power plants, it is not renewable and has significant environmental impacts,” she said.
Bill Resch, an environmental programs consultant for the New Albany-Plain Local School District, will attend the workshop along with some of his high school students. Ohio State assists the school district in offering experiential learning for high school students on green design and technologies.
“Green energy is available and economical — contrary to what people believe,” Resch said. “The fact is it’s extremely expensive to continue to rely on fossil fuel energy.”
The Green Home Workshop, which is sponsored by Ohio State’s Office of Outreach and Engagement and Office of Energy and Environment, is from 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
An Environmental Professionals Network breakfast program will be held beginning at 7:15 a.m. in the same location, also on the topic of home energy efficiency. The deadline to register for the workshop is May 12. The event is $10 for students, $18 for non-students and $75 for exhibitors.
Please register for the workshop by visiting: greenhome.osu.edu/workshops.
For more information about green homes and Ohio State’s “Green Home Technology Center,” visit greenhome.osu.edu.