Thursday, November 13, 2008

Eating Eco-Crow

Recently I filmed an episode of Hidden Potential in Dayton, Ohio. I was asked by a local organization to share on my was wonderful - and I ate some crow...and this was a specifically eco-friendly-themed show....
Maybe it was east-coast snobbery, but I was surprised when the television show I design for, Hidden Potential, on HGTV, matched me with two Midwestern-located, environmentally-conscious families this summer. Not in Chicago, but in Dayton, OH and Racine, WI. Of particular interest were the Dayton folks - a kind, lively couple who were very serious, even die-hard, in there environmental commitment.

To prepare for their designs, I reached out to contacts on the west coast – a photovoltaic panel distributor in the Bay Area and the Green Depot, an east-coast Home Depot alternative, to price no-VOC, non-toxic finishing products. Then I remembered my cardinal rule for “green” anything-- local. All the eco-friendly stuff in California and New York creates a Big Foot-sized carbon footprint once it’s transported by air to Ohio.

So I googled the words “green + energy + Ohio”. Let’s see what resources are local. I thought. Perhaps there is a university there driving some environmental awareness. Clearly still thinking all the green was happening on the coasts, I was pleasantly surprised to find a progressive and comprehensive resource in Green Energy Ohio, a green energy information portal for the many progressive green energy-focused businesses, in Ohio. In a New York-minute, I found options for any Ohioan considering a passive solar home or replacing their roof with high efficiency photo-voltaic panels. I also learned about government incentives and tools to compute the long-term financial ramifications of a green energy project.

During the filming of the show in Dayton, the couple wanted to know how they’d find a solar panel installer in Ohio, to implement the plans for the 2 kilowatt PV panel system I had proposed to them. I nearly jumped out of my seat, “You have so many options! You wouldn’t believe it!” It was humbling and heartwarming to discover something I had assumed wasn’t there in Green Energy Ohio, but also that the green movement is becoming ubiquitous – away from the likes of Soho and San Francisco – helped along by organizations like Green Energy Ohio.

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