Kathryn McKenzie: Get your green on at home and garden expo

October 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

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As one of the country’s leading green architects, Eric Corey Freed has sometimes found it hard to get his message across.

But as a speaker and author, he has been able to reach tens of thousands of people to spread the word about sustainable building design.

He’ll speak at next weekend’s Monterey Eco Home Garden Expo, where his topic will be “Life in Your Post-Carbon Home,” 12:30p.m. Oct. 19.

Freed, founder of the organicARCHITECT firm in San Francisco and author of “Green Building and Remodeling for Dummies,” is trying to change the way we make buildings — and it’s been an uphill battle for the past 20 years, he said.

“We need to get to the point where all buildings are green buildings,” he said in a phone interview.

His talk is just one aspect of the Eco Home Garden Expo, which is specially geared to green living and sustainability in home improvement and garden projects. Displays will show off what’s new in landscaping, kitchen and bath, flooring, fireplaces, solar energy and more, with experts on hand to give advice.

The weekend kicks off with a dinner by Mundaka chef Brandon Miller on Friday, followed by two days of the expo at the Monterey County Fair Event Center. The farm-to-table dinner is $75 per person. Proceeds will be donated to Hope Center.

The expo itself is admission-free and takes place 10a.m.-5p.m. Oct. 19 and 10a.m.-4p.m. Oct. 20.

Other speakers include Brian Yates of A Shade Above; Jill Herbers, author of “Great Adaptations” and “PreFab Modern”; Ann Marie McCauley of Lazy Susan; Rich Tanguay of Heller Estate Organic Vineyards; John Lewis of Lewis Builders; Carol Umbarger of Creekside Farms; Tanja Roos of MEarth; Keith Severson of Graniterock; Orit Yanai, LEED AP of Orit Yani Studios; Jordan Daniels of LP Consulting Engineers; and Rob Nicely of Carmel Building Design. A complete schedule can be found at montereycounty homeshow.com.

Co-organizer Heather Osgood said the idea for the eco expo began when her company was approached by a group of local contractors who wanted such an event to inform homeowners about the green and sustainable building options available to them.

The expo will also show off other aspects of the green lifestyle, showcasing electric vehicles, local wine and food tasting, and a home décor shop offering organic items. The expo is also working with The Offset Project to reduce waste and environmental impact from the event.

And although Freed is just one of many speakers at the event, he is possibly the one who has reached the most people with his message. In addition to the four books he’s authored, he’s also been named one of the top 10 most influential green architects, and his company one of the best green architecture firms in the United States.

But for Freed, all this is nothing new. It’s something he started working toward while still in elementary school. Even then, “I knew I wanted to design the world around me,” he said. “I wanted to be an architect who would make things better.”

Do you have questions or comments about sustainable living in Monterey County? Send them to Kathryn McKenzie at pardonmygarden@att.net. Follow Living Green on Twitter for daily tips, twitter.com/livinggreen2.

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