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June 27 2011 10:07

Get Ready for the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair

Contact: Pamela McCurdy, 651-757-2559

St. Paul -- Almost 2 million people have attended the largest environmental event of its kind in the country, and it is right here in Minnesota. The Eco Experience, a 25,000-square-foot interactive exhibit, returns for its sixth year at the Minnesota State Fair.

With hands-on activities and free educational presentations, visitors can learn about water and air pollution, recycling, using less energy, climate change, green jobs, renewable energy, energy-efficient vehicles and transportation, and more. A healthy local foods area will feature samples, demonstrations, and free activities for the whole family.

Each day of the fair will see a different theme at the Eco Experience.
Aug. 25: Save green. Smart eco choices are good for your wallet, too.
Aug. 26: Breathe right. Your choices help make the air cleaner for everyone.
Aug. 27: Protect Minnesota’s water. In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, we can all take pride in having healthy lakes, rivers and groundwater.
Aug. 28: Save energy. Reducing energy use makes a big impact.
Aug. 29: Go green for kids. Create good habits for a better future.
Aug. 30: Kick gas. Do it for your budget, your health, and the environment.
Aug. 31: Watch your waste. Reduce, reuse and recycle. What’s the next step?
Sept. 1: Green jobs. A green economy means jobs for more Minnesotans.
Sept. 2: Grow green. Trees and other plants are an attractive addition to your home and benefit the environment.
Sept. 3: Water conservation. Using less water saves energy and preserves resources for future generations.
Sept. 4: Green your kitchen. Learn about Minnesota-grown foods, tools and trends for a green kitchen.
Sept. 5: Gadgets for going green. Try new tools and fresh ideas to reduce energy use and waste.

Immerse yourself in Green Crossing. Both familiar and futuristic, Green Crossing is a mini version of a walkable neighborhood with renewable energy, options for remodeling, new construction ideas, and transportation choices to reduce your energy footprint. The new and remodeled homes are safer, healthier, more energy efficient and durable.

Common Cottage will show you how to improve the house you have. The house showcases renewable and recyclable materials, how to improve the energy efficiency of your home with an energy audit, composting and recycling systems, indoor air quality, eco-friendly kitchen surfaces and appliances as well as a patio and backyard chickens!

Tech Tower, an example of a remodel or addition to your home, features green gadgets. Some of the ideas it demonstrates are creating multipurpose spaces, designing for passive cooling, using energy-efficient materials and renewable energy, replacing inefficient heating systems, and showcasing beautiful eco finishes.

Passive House is a cutting-edge home that is designed as a complete system. This house uses only the most efficient appliances, fixtures and mechanical systems. Combined with super-insulated windows and walls, this reduces total energy costs by 90 percent. Heating comes only from the sun, the occupants, and household activities. Renewable energy systems, such as solar thermal, are used to heat water. Recycled materials and indoor air quality are also featured in Passive House.

Community Corner includes neighborhood features to support sustainable living, such as a bus stop, bike rack, solar-powered charging station for electric vehicles, and a community garden for producing food and enjoying the outdoors. The solar carport in Community Corner is made of beautiful, double glass panels made in Mountain Iron, Minn.

Discover electric vehicles. Check out the electric vehicles (EVs) at the Eco Experience. Full EVs do not have an internal combustion engine and emit no tailpipe exhaust. Increasing the portion of EVs on our roads will positively impact air quality ― a benefit to our health and the environment. As EVs become more common, charging stations are starting to appear at workplaces, park-and-ride facilities, retail centers, along the light rail line, and other places. The Twin Cities are part of a cutting-edge project called the Energy Innovation Corridor, a sustainable energy and transportation showcase that includes charging stations like the one in the Community Corner. (For more information, go to http://www.energyinnovationcorridor.com.)   You can also discover how to charge your electric vehicle with solar or wind power. By doing so, little or no air pollution is created.

See renewable energy demonstrations. You’ll see great examples of renewable energy in the Green Crossing area, and outside the building you’ll find over a dozen renewable energy displays, including grid-connected solar and wind electricity, solar hot water, and solar hot air. Talk with professionals about which renewable energy systems make sense for your home.

Take advantage of QR codes at the Eco Experience. Many of the partners in the Eco Experience will be displaying QR codes. Scan them with your smart phone and you will be connected to more information about their products.

For more information about the Eco Experience, go to http://www.ecoexperience.org.