CLEVELAND — The Great Big Home and Garden Show wrapped up its run at the I-X Center over the weekend. We saw lots of great finds to spruce up your house or backyard, but we were there to scout out some eco-friendly finds, and didn't have to look far to find them.
First up? Castle Energy. It's in the "sun and wind" business, helping homeowners harness natural resources to power their homes.
Right now, Ohio gets only about 3% of its energy from renewable resources, which is low compared with other states. Owner Dave Walters thinks it's because too many people have the wrong idea about Ohio weather.
"They feel like the weather here is not good enough for solar or we don't have a good wind resource," Walters explained, "and really, that couldn't be any further from the truth."
In fact, when you average it out, we get about 4 1/2 peak sun hours a day, not as much as places like Phoenix or other southern cities, but enough to make solar energy a viable option.
"Our solar customers are getting a return on investment of six, seven, or 7 1/2 years," Walters said, "and that's on equipment that will last 30 years."
Our next stop was JDM Custom Builders. The company makes a number of items, including a custom modular home. Part of their mission is to build quality structures while staying environmentally conscious with all scrap materials: Wood, sawdust, and vinyl are recycled through a local business partnership.
And it doesn't end there.
"We're all about 'Love your backyard,' so whatever you need to do to improve your backyard and spice it up," Andrew Miller of JDM stated.
Miller pointed us to patio furniture, which JDM has been making for a while. It's all made from 100% recycled milk jugs, and it takes about 400 jugs to create one of their Adirondack chairs. That's a lot of plastic kept out of landfills.
"It's weatherproof," Miller added. "You can leave it out year-round, so that's a great benefit."
Our last stop — is it too soon to talk about holiday decorations?
LightsUp, a Strongsville-based company, specializes in permanent accent lighting. It is installed in such a way that lines shine brightly at night, but the bulbs are barely visible in trim work during the day. Plus, no more dangerous ladder climbing to install the lights yourself.
Check out some of the environmental perks:
"A typical strand of minis from the store are going to last you from two to five years," project manager Josh Osterholt explained, "whereas ours are going to last you 15 to 20 years depending on if you are just using them year-round, which cuts down on all the wasted plastic, copper, and glass from seasonal."
In addition, the light-emitting diodes use far less energy than incandescent lighting. It's a bright idea to consider for next holiday season!