News and Tribune

January 31, 2014

Inaugural FAN Fair in New Albany focuses on sustainability

Event scheduled for Saturday


NEW ALBANY — Energy independence, designing “green” houses and urban farming — the inaugural Floyd Action Network FAN Fair slated for Saturday has a full lineup for anyone interested in sustainable living.

The organization is bringing several speakers to New Albany for the free event. From raising urban chickens to designing cities to be more walkable,

FAN Fair is about educating the public through a centralized event, organizers of the forum said.

“Every day I hear about more new resources for sustainable living — solar energy, home and wind turbines, permeable paving, etc. — but I’m just too busy to seek them out,” said Carol Tobe, a member of the FAN board of directors.

“However, if information on a variety of these ‘green’ resources is available at an event in my hometown, in one place, on one day, I’ll make the event a priority.”

There’s plenty of examples of sustainable residential and commercial practices in the area. Preservation is also considered a “green” practice by some.

Greg Sekula, southern regional director of Indiana Landmarks and a local preservationist, will be one of the presenters during “The Greenest Home is the House Already Built” forum at FAN Fair.

Many residents as well as businesses are repurposing materials to restore historic buildings in New Albany, he said. For example, developer Steve Resch and the owners of The Exchange pub + kitchen reused materials when restoring Shrader Stables for the restaurant, Sekula said.

“Historic buildings have embodied energy when you consider the demolition of a building versus keeping it,” Sekula said.

“It just pains me to see building materials thrown into landfills when they could be reused and repurposed.”

Energy independence

One of the Fan Fair panels will focus on energy independence, and will be moderated by WFPL reporter Erica Peterson.

Gary Watrous of Watrous Associates Architects in Louisville will also present a workshop on passive solar, which is essentially designing a home to capture the sun’s energy without machinery.

Organizers of FAN Fair hope to impress upon the public ways they can limit their impact on the environment by using other forms of energy.

New Albany also has some background in the alternative energy market.

WindStream Technologies bloomed in the business incubator at Purdue Research Park of Southern Indiana in New Albany.

The company’s trademarked TurboMill is designed as a small-scale wind turbine with practical applications for harnessing wind in urban locations.

While the turbines weren’t touted as a means to end the need for electricity, they can reduce utility costs and are better for the environment.

A deal that would have resulted in WindStream opening a manufacturing facility off Charlestown Road fell through, as the New Albany City Council declined to back a financing package for the company.

WindStream instead opened its manufacturing facility in North Vernon in 2012.

About the event

Fan Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Sternwheeler Ballroom of the Robert E. Lee Center, which is located at 201 E. Elm St. in New Albany.

There will be panel discussions and workshops on energy independence, “green” designs for homes and alternate transportation.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit the website