by Ama Hapke, GreenTown National
During the last weekend in February, GreenTown participated in the Home Show sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Southwest Missouri at the Joplin Convention Center. Will and Raja Perkins, who own Good Will Builders, are GreenTown Joplin committee members who invited us join them at their booth to help facilitate the conversation of sustainable building practices and share our resources with those attending the show.
The show was a three-day event with over 115 exhibitors. There was a wide variety ranging from companies offering their newest energy efficient appliances, to innovative solutions for landscaping and eco-safe deck sealants, to a sense of security through many designs for safe-rooms.
As we walked around the convention center, we did not see as many sustainable products showcased as we had hoped; however, we were quite encouraged to hear how many of the suppliers were getting more involved in these types of products and how great the demand has grown in the area. In terms of builders and architects, sustainability seemed to be at the forefront of every conversation we had. They spoke with community members about ensuring their homes were properly sealed to prevent energy loss and how selecting the right design can help cut costs, as well as reduce waste.
Our host Will really took an initiative to share information with attendants about sustainability and “greening your home.” Will and Raja distributed flyers to those building new homes with questions to think about before and during the building process to ensure their homes are as energy efficient as possible. The booth was filled with samples of different types of building techniques, including examples of: stick build, log home, SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) and HIB (Highly Insulated Building system). It was quite energizing to see how informed the attendees were on the various types of building techniques. As they looked at each type of construction, they would inquire as to the “R rating” of the material or ask the energy benefits of a certain type of construction.
On Saturday, Will made some big changes to our booth, pushing the table back and finding extra chairs to place out front, opening the space to conversations about sustainability. He invited his contractor, Darrell Leggett, and his wife, Oleta, of Alternative Real Estate, to join him in sharing their expertise in sustainable practices. Willy Crane of Crane Home Energy joined in the conversation, sharing practical solutions to reduce energy waste and diving deeper into concepts such as creating an Earth Ship home suitable for the humid climate of the Midwest and getting youth more involved in sustainability.
We also took the opportunity to distribute information about the Introduction to Sustainable Building workshop for builders and contractors. Many of the exhibitors asked for extra flyers to take with them because they knew many people who would be interested in gaining more information on sustainable building practices.
The Monday following the show, we were able to attend the groundbreaking of six new energy efficient homes being built by Convoy of Hope. This was an inspiring event, and the individuals and families receiving these homes were so grateful. Prior to being chosen, many of them felt overwhelmed, having lost everything in the storm and having so little to even begin to build a new life. Even though they still have a while before they can move into their homes, their faces beamed with anticipation and hope.