March 11, 2013


Alternative energy on display

Home Show at TC3 offers ideas on remodeling, powering home

ShowBob Ellis/staff photographer
Amanda Postma, of Halco Renewable Energy in Phelps, chats with Gary Johnson of Danby, during the 25th annual Home and Garden Show Saturday at Tompkins Cortland Community College. Johnson said he was looking for alternative energy sources to run his home.

Staff Reporter

People wandered through booths dedicated to landscaping, home remodeling and energy efficiency on Saturday during the Home and Garden Show at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Groton resident Terri Conway was drawn to Best Bath dealer Doug Withey’s booth for the handicapped accessible shower that was on display.
Conway said her husband has some disabilities so ease of access is essential.
“We have a garden tub we’ve never used so I’m looking for something he can walk into,” said Conway.
Brian Withey said the shower allows for wheelchair access and easy transfer to a bench for bathing.
“It allows people with disabilities to maintain privacy for bathing while they can still do it themselves,” Withey said.
Another Groton resident, Faith Tyler, said it was her first time coming to the home show. She brought her 18-month-old son Sam and his grandparents, saying it was a fun family outing.
“We bought our house about a year and a half ago and there’s a lot we’ve been doing,” said Tyler, who was also entering drawings for chances to win prizes, like a free interior decorator or roof waterproofing.
Her house, built in 1890, needs the foundation redone and she was looking for more ideas about landscaping.
“It’s a corner lot and there’s a ton of room for gardens and we want a fish pond,” said Tyler.
Halco Energy, a Phelps-based company, had people frequenting its booth for ideas about powering their homes with wind or solar energy.
Amanda Postma, a Halco representative, said people often question the viability of solar power in New York.
She said it is an extremely useful energy source because there is more sun than people realize. It is also sometimes more alluring than wind power because of the cost, she said.
“It’s less of an up front investment because there are fewer materials involved and you can lease it, unlike wind, if you don’t want to own it,” she said.
In addition, solar power can work in any setting, urban or rural, whereas a home with a wind turbine would need more space, she said.
But Dryden resident Doug Bianchi was looking at the possibility of installing a wind turbine as a supplemental source of power for his home.
Bianchi said he uses natural gas and hot water for heating and is on the grid for electrical power but wants to know more about what a wind turbine would entail.
“We’ve always got wind blowing in the area and as annoying as it is, I’d like to put it to a positive use,” he said.
Bianchi said he and his wife, Ann, were also looking for remodeling ideas, such as track lighting. They built their house 25 years ago and he said it is time to “spruce things up a little bit.”
The desire to remodel and implement energy efficient products like windows, was a common one, said Jeff Fredrickson, an owner at Dryden-based Crown Construction.
Crown Construction is a “full service remodeling company,” said Fredrickson. He said the company serves a variety of people.
For example, someone frustrated with their home and looking for a bigger kitchen or bathroom as well as someone worried about maintenance issues like a leaky roof or drafty window, he said.
Another common customer is someone tired of something always breaking down. There are also the “dreamers,” he said, people looking to improve their quality of life by adding a new fireplace or hot tub for fun and enjoyment, he said.


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