Energy Adviser: Green Neighbors event sprouts sessions

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Maybe you're someone who finds YouTube a great source of DIY information for how to fix a screen window, or change a flat tire on your bike. Or maybe you simply enjoy the pride and feeling of accomplishment that comes from doing a job yourself. Either way the Green Neighbors Do-It-Yourself Fair might just be your ticket.

The March 15 Green Neighbors Do-It-Yourself Fair is free and will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Clark College's Gaiser Hall, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way.

The DIY event started in 2007 with just a half-dozen presentations on a Saturday afternoon, said Sally Fisher of Clark County Environmental Services. This year it fills a full Saturday with more than 32 presentations, including replays of several of the more popular ones.

"There's no need to preregister, just show up at Clark College in time for the sessions you're interested in," said Fisher. Last year's event attracted 200 people.

You might want to plan to arrive early to receive a free lunch courtesy of Frito-Lay, Corwin Beverage and Environmental Services. Only the first 100 attendees to the event are eligible. But, even late arrivers can vie for the door prize: a garage space heater donated by Cadet Manufacturing.

Clark County Environmental Services is sponsoring the event with Bad Monkey Bikes, Cadet Manufacturing, County Infrastructure Services, Corwin Beverage, Frito-Lay, Home Depot, Lowe's, Main Street Pet Solutions, Master Composters/Recyclers, Friendly Haven Rise Farm, Waste Connections, Master Food Preservers, Subway, Urban Forestry and the Vancouver Watershed Alliance.

There will be simultaneous 45-minute workshops homeowners, gardeners, and anyone seeking a sustainable lifestyle may find of interest. Because several presenters will present their topics at the same time, you may have to choose carefully which sessions to attend.

The homeowner sessions will include cleaning green, maintaining computers, basic plumbing and wiring, basic furnace and air conditioning maintenance, Sheetrock repair, finish trim and decorative molding, screen door repairs, and handling of hazardous household waste.

Gardeners will find subjects such as composting, early spring gardening, canning/preserving. Green and sustainability topics include rain gardens and barrels, tree planting and care, grasscycling, recycling and even bicycle basics. There will also be an animal focus on raising chickens and bees and backyard wildlife.

Sessions on sustainability practices will cover composting basics, building rain barrels and rain gardens, weed control and how to dispose properly of everything from old partially filled paint cans to electronics.

Participants will also be able participate in a compact fluorescent bulb exchange sponsored by Clark Public Utilities. Each person can drop off burned-out CFL bulbs that are not broken and trade them in for up to six new bulbs. Fluorescent tubes and fixtures cannot be accepted.

Details about the session times and more information are posted on www.ClarkGreenNeighbors.org/diy-fair. If you have other questions, contact Sally Fisher at 360-397-2121, ext. 4939 or sally.fisher@clark.wa.gov.

If you're not a DIY-er, there are other ways to improve your home. Clark Public Utilities' website provides information such as rebates on weatherization, appliances, heat pump water heaters, heat pumps and ductless heat pumps. A list of contractors approved to do work eligible for utility rebates and incentives is also on the site.

If you don't know where to start your energy savings, take advantage of the online calculators on the utility's website. Or contact the energy counselors for a free in-home energy review at 360-992-3355.

Energy adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to ecod@clarkpud.com or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98668.