August 6, 2004 | By: Aimee Heald-Nielson

Kentuckians are becoming more concerned about the environment, rising energy costs and learning how to conserve resources. The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture is working hard to help people become more aware of things they can do, specifically with a large, interactive exhibit at the 2004 Kentucky State Fair dedicated to “Healthy Homes.”

“When you conserve energy, you are taking a direct role in environmental control,” said Jerry Hash, UK Extension housing associate. “You’re limiting environmental pollution by reducing the amount the power plant has to produce.”

The Healthy Homes exhibit will concentrate on several areas including indoor air quality, moisture control in the home, radon awareness, lead paint in older homes, HVAC systems and windows.

“We’re joining with Energy Star to encourage an approach of moisture control, which in turn restricts, controls and eliminates mold in the home,” Hash said. 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star is a dynamic government/industry partnership that offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions, making it easy to save money while protecting the environment for future generations.

“We’ll also be demonstrating why and how to reduce radon levels with radon mitigation systems,” Hash said. “We’re trying to encourage builders to incorporate this at the construction level because it’s just so much more economical – around $300 as compared to $1,500 to $2,500 to install in a pre-existing home. We think this offers builders a great marketing feature as well.”

The Healthy Homes exhibit will feature a 12-foot by 12-foot cross section of a home under construction, touting energy efficiency methods. Hash said the cross section will show at least 70 features of energy efficiency including insulation, moisture and water control and ventilation.

HVAC systems also will be on display to show the top of the line efficiency options for homeowners and builders.

Since glass area is the second-largest source of energy loss in a home, the Healthy Homes exhibit will show consumers how to deal with existing windows and what features to look for in replacement windows.

“We’re just taking a very detailed approach to highlighting many features in the home where the owners can take direct control on their energy efficiency,” Hash said. “We want them to see that there are some very simple things they can do to save money and energy.”

Other important areas of interest will be coordinated by UK Family and Consumer Sciences specialists and agents in the Cooperative Extension Service. Connie Wheeler, Extension associate for family and consumer sciences coordinator, said FCS also will be offering visitors helpful information on asthma and allergy triggers, disaster and emergency preparation, mold and moisture and Get Moving Kentucky.

“Healthy homes need healthy people,” Wheeler said. “We want people to learn the benefits of even moderate exercise and how to make physical activity a part of your daily routine.”

Wheeler said they will have cards to hand out to State Fair visitors containing important information on more than 50 topics. They also will be passing out pledge cards for people to pledge not to smoke inside their home, since indoor smoke greatly reduces indoor air quality and can pose health hazards for those living inside.

The Healthy Homes exhibit will be in the South Wing of the Kentucky State Fair and Exposition Center on Main Street. The exhibit will be a centerpiece, island-type display with 360-degree exposure and will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily during the fair. The 100th Kentucky State Fair runs from Aug. 19 to Aug. 29.


Writer: Aimee D. Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Source: Jerry Hash 859-257-3000, ext. 330