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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Keep Warm: R.I. Energy Solutions Expo at URI, Nov. 16

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

1,000 'Keep Rhode Island Warm' kits to be distributed free

KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 29, 2008 -- Concerns about the high cost of heating homes this winter amidst the global financial crisis have many Rhode Islanders strategizing about how to reduce their energy consumption. So the timing couldn't be better for the Rhode Island Energy Solutions Expo, which will offer innovative and practical strategies to help individuals and businesses save energy while reducing their environmental impact.

Sponsored by the University of Rhode Island's Energy Center, the expo will be held on Sunday, Nov. 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ryan Center on the Kingston campus. Admission is $5 online and $8 at the door. Children under 12 and URI faculty, staff and students with an ID get free admission.

The energy expo will showcase dozens of local companies exhibiting products and services that provide greater energy efficiency, renewable energy, and alternative fuels for use in homes, businesses and communities. The event will also feature educational workshops and demonstrations, a Kids Energy Carnival, music and food.

One highlight of the expo will be the free distribution of 1,000 "Keep Rhode Island Warm" home energy efficiency kits. Developed through a partnership with the Governor's Office of Energy Resources, URI and Home Depot, the kits include two compact fluorescent light bulbs and supplies to insulate and seal drafty doors, windows and electrical outlets. A $16 value, the kits support the state's effort to raise public awareness of the cost advantages of energy efficiency.

"The quickest and easiest way to save money on energy this winter is to make your home more efficient," said Andrew Dzykewicz, commissioner of the Office of Energy Resources. "The items in the 'Keep Rhode Island Warm' kits can save hundreds of dollars on energy bills each year, with homeowners seeing savings within the first month."

The keynote speaker at the event will be Gary Hirshberg, chairman and CEO of Stonyfield Farms, the world's leading organic yogurt producer, who has won numerous awards for his corporate and environmental leadership. His book, Stirring it Up: How to Make Money and Save the World, describes how he built a $300 million business by incorporating environmental principles and practices.

Hirshberg claims that climate change offers businesses the biggest economic opportunity of the century, noting that the business community has access to the vast amounts of capital that are needed to transform institutions and operations. His presentation, "Green Business: The Next Frontier," will take place at 11:30 a.m. He will also lead a workshop for small businesses at 1:45 p.m., followed by an extended Q&A session.

"Gary Hirshberg's work at Stonyfield Farm exemplifies the kind of win-win economic activity we need to pursue as a state and as a nation," said Marion Gold, co-director of the URI Energy Center. "We are delighted to offer the chance for Rhode Islanders to see how a successful businessman has merged the goals of making money and saving the planet."

Among the other scheduled workshops are: "Solar, Wind, Hydro: Are They Right For Me;" "Saving Money and Protecting the Planet: Energy Efficiency and Conservation in the Home or Business;" "Biodiesel for Home Heating and Transportation;" "Transforming the Built Environment Using Sustainable Practices and Revolutionary Technologies," and "Lower Bills, More Beverages: Energy Saving Tips for College Students."

Exhibitors at the expo will include Alternative Renewable Energy Solutions, Anchor Insulation, Glacial Energy, New England Solar Concepts, Newport Biodiesel, Clean Energy Design, National Grid's Energy Star Appliance and Lighting Program, the R.I. Green Building Council, Venture Home Works, Ecological Spray Foam Insulation, the Ocean State Clean Cities Program, the URI Center for Offshore Renewable Energy, Solar Wrights, and many more.

In addition, energy services company NORESCO is sponsoring a contest for URI students, which asks them to produce a short video demonstrating how to conserve energy. Prizes include a $500 credit card, a $200 gift certificate to the URI Bookstore, and a one-year carbon offset credit.

Event sponsors include the URI Energy Center, the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences, National Grid, C.W. Cummings Plumbing Co., NORESCO, Ocean SAMP, and the URI President's Council on Sustainability.

For more information, please visit www.rienergyexpo.org or contact Marion Gold at the URI Energy Center at 401-874-5705.