Contest for Tinkerers and Innovators at Energy Fair

By Tom Haugen, Energy Faire Co-Coordinator

Rising home heating bills, both gas and electric, are taking a bigger bite out of everyone’s budget now, so nearly everyone is looking for ways to save on energy costs these days.

A contest for local inventors, tinkerers and creators of all ages is in the spotlight at this year’s Energy Fair to be held in Pine Mountain Saturday, Aug. 28 (9 a.m. to 3 p.m). “Cutting Down on Energy Costs and Saving on Utility Bills” is the fair’s theme.

“There will be plenty of exhibits, product demonstrations and workshops on how to cut down on energy costs,” fair co-coordinator Paul Edwards said.

Contest entrants are invited to display their talents in alternative energy generation or conservation. There are categories for those over and under age 18. Cash prizes will be awarded in both categories.

If you are a garage or workshop tinkerer who has been working on ideas and designs using ‘green energy’ sources or recycled materials, you are encouraged to compete. Entries can use solar, wind, water or other energy sources, including biomass or waste products. Entries that conserve energy or improve upon current energy-saving devices are also welcomed.

Edwards said that more than a dozen companies are expected to show energy-saving products at the Energy Fair, including window treatments, pellet stoves and a personal windmill. The event is co-sponsored by the nonprofit Let’s Live Local, Southern California Edison and the Pine Mountain Club Property Owners Association.

Edison will set up three exhibits in trailers in the parking lot, including ‘Hazard Hamlet,’ described as “a fun interactive learning environment for both children and adults.”

Contest entrants must construct prototypes themselves using inexpensive, locally available materials or recycled materials. “Simpler is better,” fair organizers said. “This contest is trying to stimulate the development of new options for consumers to cut their energy costs. Ideally, someone may come up with a clever and practical energy solution they can produce and sell from home, thereby creating their own local job.”

Contest details, entry guidelines and rules are available at or call Tom at 661-245-3840.

This is part of the July 16, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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