Going green with the Chamber

Thursday, April 21st, 2011
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BY RON ELAND

North Hawaii News

Have you ever looked around your house and thought of ways to make it a little more “green?”

If so, the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce may have just what you’re looking for.

On Sunday, May 1 the Chamber — along with West Hawaii Mediation Center — will be hosting their first-ever Grand Green Home Tour. It will feature a total of 12 homes from Kona, Waimea and North Kohala, all of which have gone green in one way or another.

“There’s so many ways to embrace this (green movement). You just have to put your thinking cap on and come up with unique ways,” said Chamber President/CEO Vivian Landrum. “It’s one thing to read about it (going green) or have someone talk to you. This way people can see how the homes work.”

Landrum said it was one of their Kuleana Board members — Holly Algood — who approached the Chamber about hosting an event like this. Algood had seen something very similar in British Columbia.

“She went to one and said it was the coolest thing,” Landrum said.

The Chamber’s website states that the tour “will provide locals and visitors alike an opportunity to tour homes that feature numerous sustainable features, providing an education on building, landscaping and decorating ideas that are earth friendly. Local businesses that are featured at the homes will be on hand to answer questions and attendees will see first-hand their product in operation. Four homes will be offered for visitation in each of three regions in West Hawaii – Kohala, Waimea and Kona.”

Four homes will be featured in each of the three areas and will be available for viewing from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Kona, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Waimea and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Kohala. The ticket price is $20 and provides entrance to four individual homes per person.

The homeowners will be on hand to lead the tours. In addition, some of the businesses represented through their work will also be there to answer questions.

As for how they came up with their tour homes, Landrum said some were known to board members while others approached the Chamber.

“We put feelers out there,” she said. “There were a lot of homes submitted but not all made the cut. We’re pleasantly surprised with the response and hope to make this an annual event.”

There’s a description (minus the address) of each of the homes listed on the Chamber’s website. For example, here is the information provided for Algood’s Hawi home: Sophisticated small home with large bamboo barn/workshop on 34 acres featuring off-grid integrated solar and wind electricity, solar water heating, Tridipanel & clay plaster walls and ceilings, floating bed, Sunfrost refrigerator, insect-deterrent kitchen storage, energy star appliances, Pella low-e windows, 10-foot high Fleetwood sliding doors, Bonded Logic “blue jean ” insulation, soy foam insulation, rainwater catchment, recycled furniture, aquaponics with recycled tilapia tanks, organic vegetables grown in raised water beds from reused cement forms, locally made doors and furniture, recycle station, compost and worm bins and local green artwork.

“There will be homes in every price range which means that people should be able to find features for every budget,” Landrum said. “The purpose of the tour is to get people aquatinted with sustainability and going green. Once we start incorporating these ideas, it will be a move in the right direction for all of us.”

For Algood — who is also a Mediation Center board member — living a green lifestyle was part of her move to the state three years ago.

“One of the reasons I moved to Hawaii was because it was a perfect place to create your own energy which is why we live off the grid,” she said.

Algood said she worked as a utility company consultant which got her interested in the green lifestyle. It also led her to ask herself, “What was my footprint on the Earth?”

“The more Earth-friendly we are, the longer it will survive and sustain us,” she said. “Plus, in the long range it’s much cheaper to live a green lifestyle. So, you’re kinder to both the Earth and your pocket book.”

For more information on the tour and to purchase tickets, visit www.kona-kohala.com or call 329-1758.

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