‘Going Green on the Green” is more than just a slogan for the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual Mid-Summer Marketing Showcase, which will take place on Tuesday, July 14, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on the green on Palmer Square. A rain date is scheduled for Thursday, July 16. The event is free to the public.E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-924-1776, ext. 105.
Event chair Kimberley Slater says committee members have worked hard to make sure that everything about the event, now in its third year, is green. The flyers and signs advertising the event are all made of recycled paper, and any materials that are left over will again be recycled at the end of the evening. Recycling bins will be available throughout the square so that people can easily dispose of cans or bottles in an environmentally friendly way.
The music for the event, which will be supplied by Sound Choice Disc Jockeys, will be powered by solar batteries, rather than a traditional generator, and the long summer evenings mean that a minimum of electricity will be needed throughout the evening.
Mid-Summer Marketing Showcase is a “business to consumer event,” Slater says. “Any company that promotes and sells green or reusable products or uses green methods in their business practices should not miss the opportunity to showcase their products.” The event is open to all members of the chamber, no matter what type of products and services they provide, and a wide variety of businesses will be on hand. Last year’s showcase attracted approximately 60 different vendors and about 700 attendees.
A few of the vendors who will be in attendance include Mastroianni Landscaping, Studio Green Design and Mythic Paint, and Princeton Air, which will be offering green assessments to help homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
Go green at home. Saums Interiors will be offering a display and information on green products for the home, says Slater, who along with her role as chairman of the showcase is also an interior designer and project manager at the Hopewell interior decorating and paint shop. “We’ll be having lots of information and samples of green countertops, flooring, fabrics, and wall coverings,” she says. “There have been a lot of advances in green products in the last few years, and today you can find everything from traditional styles and neutral colors to fun and funky.”
Countertop choices for kitchens and bathrooms include IceStone, which is a solid surface countertop with a high recycled content and low VOC. The countertop, which has a look similar to terrazzo flooring, is made with recycled glass and comes in a wide variety of colors. Another choice for the kitchen is recycled aluminum countertops and tiles, which are non-toxic, stain-proof and durable.
The most unusual choice of all might be paper countertops. The paper is heavily coated to make it durable and waterproof, says Slater. “I was really amazed when I first learned about this one.”
If you are thinking about remodeling your home with eco-friendly materials, you should be aware that while some green products, such as bamboo flooring, are often just as friendly on the pocketbook as on the environment, others products cost more than traditional alternatives. Most of the green countertops, for example, are in the same price range as granite countertops, rather than lower cost materials such as formica.
Green flooring options such as bamboo and cork are probably more familiar to many people than many of the countertop options, such as recycled paper products. But don’t think that going green on your floors means that you have to give up carpeting. Manufacturers have recognized consumers’ desire for eco-friendly products and are introducing carpeting made with at least 25 percent or more recycled content, as well as carpeting that can be recycled at the end of its life.
Fabrics and wall coverings are another area of home furnishings that have become increasingly eco-friendly in recent years. Many fabrics for upholstery or draperies are now being made with 50 percent of their fibers from sustainable, organic, or recycled materials, Slater says. And while many people might immediately think of traditional fabrics such as cotton, a newer alternative is fabric made from bamboo fibers.
“The dyes have also come a long way in the last few years,” Slater adds. As little as a year ago she felt that many of the green dyes had less vibrant colors than other dyes, but that’s no longer true. “In the past year the look and feel, the color, and patterns have grown by leaps and bounds.”
Green in the bank. Home furnishings, paint, and xeriscaping (landscaping for low maintenance and low water usage) are all becoming familiar ideas for many consumers. But banking can be green too. The Bank of Princeton, in fact, will have a booth where it will promote online banking, which reduces the use of paper.
Green hospitals. Another sponsor of the event, Capital Health, will offer free blood pressure screenings, says Donald MacNeill, media relations coordinator. The healthcare center also wants to let the community know that it is also being environmentally conscious both in its new construction and in remodeling Fuld Hospital in Trenton.
One of the most innovative features of the remodeling at Fuld is the new HVAC and sprinkler system. The new system will reclaim heat rather than sending it up the heat stacks, which saves on energy use. It will improve boiler room efficiency from 80 percent to almost 100 percent, and will pay for itself in less than three years, MacNeill notes.
The new hospital, being built on Scotch Road in Hopewell, could become the first LEED-certified hospital in New Jersey. There is a special LEED rating system for healthcare facilities that addresses issues such as increased sensitivity to chemicals and pollutants, traveling distances from parking facilities, and access to natural spaces, MacNeill explains.
Some of the environmentally friendly features of the new hospital will include alternative transportation such as shuttles between the various Capital Health hospitals, preferred parking for high-occupancy or hybrid vehicles, and bicycle storage. Also, site development around existing wetlands and other protected areas is planned to restore and sustain current wildlife habitat and exterior and interior lights will be set to dim or extinguish when not in use.