Home Show returns with 'green' theme

Posted: Monday, February 23, 2009

This year's Home Show may not be bigger, but this year it's certainly "greener."

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Charles L. Westmoreland / For The Juneau Empire
Charles L. Westmoreland / For The Juneau Empire

In its thirtieth year, the show will reflect the green building aspects of the industry and consumers can expect to see businesses put an emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable resources, according to Jeff Boman, vice president of the Southeast Alaska Building Industry Association (SEABIA) and owner of Corban Construction Company.

But visitors to the show won't just see solar panels and hot water heaters. Boman says they'll also see technologies that cater to Alaska's cold climate. It's a type of construction that Alaska contactors know well.

"Alaska is on the cutting edge of construction because we live in such a challenging environment," he said. "We are really ahead of the Lower 48 when it comes to construction."

Alan Wilson, Home Show committee chairman and president of Alaska Renovators, agrees.

"There's a nationwide movement going toward green," he said. "Juneau has been ahead of that curve to some degree, so we decided to capitalize on the media."

Overall, this year's show boasts more than 60 exhibitors from all over Alaska, as well as seminars on spring garden planning, weathering your home, affordable housing, tips for seniors and a wine tasting event for those over 21.

"We've worked hard to get more builders this year," said Valerie Williams, executive officer of SEABIA. "People can expect to see a lot of different areas (of expertise) and different general contractors."

Additionally, Juneau-raised Thad Mills of TLC's "Trading Spaces," a home remodeling show, will be presenting both Saturday and Sunday at the show.

"He'll touch a lot on what we can do with recycling and how to help the environment," Williams said. "It's pretty amazing that he's coming. He's been really generous with his time. Typically it's a huge expense to bring in someone like that."

Williams said this year the show isn't sold out like it was last year, but that isn't a concern to her.

"This isn't the first time the show isn't sold out," she said. "It's been like this in past years."

Despite the extra room this year, there will be about 10 new exhibitors, Williams said. And while it may be nice to have a larger show, Williams said they can't go much bigger without changing venue.

"If we do, we'll have to move over to the Juneau Arts and Humanities center," she said.

Both Williams and Wilson agree that the home show is an important event for SEABIA, as it raises money for the nonprofit organization.

Wilson said it's also a great opportunity to educate, network and showcase new ideas, such as "going green."

"I don't know if people know what being green is all about," he said. "It's not about being a 'tree hugger.' Everyone can be green. It's an opportunity to educate everyone about these (technologies). Saving energy is just one piece of being green."

This year the committee decided to change the layout of the show to emphasize those businesses and products that are truly "green." A center section was carved out and highlighted with green decor to let visitors know where to turn with their energy efficiency questions.

Besides the show, SEABIA has also organized the second annual wine tasting event to be held Feb. 27 at Centennial Hall.

"It's a very relaxed opportunity for the community to come out and talk in a low-key environment," Williams said.

Last year it was well received, according to Wilson, and he's looking forward to it again.

"It's a good chance to visit with people and quiz (businesses) about their product," he said. "There's not the pressure to buy at the homeshow and that's especially true Friday night."

Said Williams: "It gives you more time to spend with the individuals and businesses involved. It's crucial to know someone when you hire them."

The home show is open to the public. Tickets cost $5 at the door and children under 12 are free. The show runs Saturday, Feb. 28, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, March 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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