DUNEDIN — Living green isn't simply a slogan or a lifestyle. This weekend, it's an event.
The 2010 Tampa Bay Living Green Expo at the Dunedin Community Center, a free family event, is the place to be for anyone who wants to learn about the latest green technology, tools, and tips.
"The University of South Florida is proud to participate in this event, because we are committed to finding the most productive ways to clean up our environment and exploring new sources of renewable energy," said E. Christian Wells, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology and director of the Office of Sustainability at USF.
"The expo gives us an opportunity to share our discoveries with the public and discuss ways we can work together for a cleaner, greener Tampa Bay."
The expo will feature 60 exhibitors of green products and services — 30 inside the center and 30 outside.
Samples of some of the outdoor demonstrations are live sawmilling by Viable Lumber; a 24-foot electric boat by the Green Marina Eco Center; a solar training trailer by Solar Sources; a hybrid garbage truck by Waste Pro; and one of Progress Energy's plug-in electric hybrid vehicles.
"We're excited about being in Dunedin," said Mo Eppley, vice president of Tampa Bay Living Green Inc. and expo marketing chair. "It's another green city and we're excited about having the expo at the Dunedin Community Center."
The Community Center is a certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building built in 2006 by Creative Contractors Inc., Eppley said. The 45,000-square-foot center has won several awards for its green construction.
Expo-goers will be able to learn everything from ways to install energy-efficient windows and build a new green home to decreasing energy bills or switching to solar power.
"Businesses have all been vetted by a committee to make sure their products are genuinely green," said James Stevenson, Pinellas County Extension grant-worker, energy conservation.
The county will be handing out free compact fluorescent light bulbs, he said. The giveaway is to promote the county's new Energy Efficiency Project.
Participants attending a one-hour class will receive a free energy efficiency kit valued at $200.
"The expo is a great opportunity for residents and businesses to learn how to save money and save the environment," said Valerie Lane, sustainability coordinator for the city of Dunedin and expo committee chair. "I'm particularly excited about the breadth of info session topics, there's just so much to discover."
Informational sessions run 45 minutes and topics range from "No-Cost and Low-Cost Ways to Lower Your Power Bill" to "Free Energy From the Sun."
Children won't be bored either. They can have fun at Kid's Korner, fashioning hats from recycled newspaper, creating water cycle bracelets and learning about native Florida plants.
This year marks the first time organizers are having a second Living Green Expo. The first took place June 5-6 at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg.
Eppley said the expo is transitioning from a countywide to a regional event, reflected in a name change from Pinellas to Tampa Bay Living Green Expo.
For the last five years, about 4,000 people have attended the two-day expo, first at the Coliseum and in more recent years at Clearwater's Harborview Center.
Organizers hope this weekend's north county version in Dunedin will attract more residents from Pasco and Hillsborough counties. The plan is to have expos in the spring and fall each year.
"The upcoming expo is an ideal opportunity for bay area residents to learn how to 'go green' by learning what the latest products and services are in the new green economy," said USF's Wells. "It's also an opportunity to network with friends and neighbors to find out what others are doing to live more sustainably."