Category Archives: outreach

Energy Fair 2023

June is the month of the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s (MREA) annual Energy Fair! This year, the event will take place Friday, June 23rd through Sunday, June 25th. The event location is, as always, at the MREA headquarters in rural Custer, Wisconsin.

If you are following this blog, you are probably looking to solve problems around the energy efficiency of your house, have green building or building science questions, or want to make your home more sustainable. I hope the blog will answer some of your questions. But I am sure that a day at the Energy Fair will answer a lot of your questions.

The Fair is a wonderful mix of educational sessions, entertainment, and exhibitors and vendors, many of whom show products that may become handy in making your home more energy efficient.

The educational sessions take place in large tents on the fairgrounds. There are eight to twelve tents (depending on the year) with sessions running parallel to each other all day long. Most sessions are an hour long.

The subjects covered include building electrification, energy efficiency, electrical vehicles and clean transportation, going solar, policy and community organizing, project finance, sustainable farms and food production, etc. You can take a look through the workshop schedule here.

Cathy and I attended the workshop the first time back in 2007. We were there just for the big day, which is always Saturday. It was a very long day, but worth every second. We came back home with so much useful information and so many of our questions answered. And even better, we came home with so many more questions generated. It was the jump off for our deep dive into our deep energy retrofit project.

The next time we attended, we opted to go for the full three days of the Energy Fair to take home as much information as we could, for the pure joy and fun of the event, to meet up with old friends, and to network and make new friends. And we’ve attended all three days just about every year since then, except when they paused the Fair during Covid.

Attending the event is surprisingly inexpensive. A one day pass at the gate cost you $20. A weekend pass at the gate costs a mere $45. I can’t remember a conference or fair I attended that only charged $45 for three days, and offered this amount and quality of workshops, exhibitors and entertainment!

If you would like to dip your feet into the MREA Energy Fair world to see if this is something for you, I would recommend driving up to Custer for Saturday, like we did back in 2007. I would not be surprised if we will see you again the following years on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Because this is an event one starts looking forward to starting in January!

And no, I have not been asked by MREA to write this post or promote the Energy Fair, nor am I paid compensated by MREA. This is a wonderful and fun resource that I believe is worthwhile sharing. I have, however, been honored to present some educational sessions over the past few years – and I’m presenting two sessions this year.

Hope to see you in Custer the weekend of June 23rd!

GreenBuilt Home Tour 2020

July is GreenBuilt Home Tour month in Chicago! This year the whole event shifted to a virtual format so that you can enjoy the tour from your favorite office chair, recliner or couch.

The tour stretches across four Wednesdays in July at 3:30 PM for a web series highlighting green homes throughout Illinois and NW Indiana. Each date during the 2020 GreenBuilt Home Series will focus on one of four themes:

  • July 8th – All-Electric Homes
  • July 15th – Deep Energy Retrofits
  • July 22nd – Passive House Showcase
  • July 29th – Wellness + High Performance Homes

Each web event will allow you to hear from the building team behind the featured green homes and learn about the latest sustainable home technologies in action.

And yes, we will be participating again with our deep energy retrofit on July 15th!

Learn more and register here!

GreenBuilt Home Tour 2019

We have been invited to participate in the GreenBuilt Home Tour this year! You can visit and tour our deep energy retrofit on Saturday, August 3rd., between 10 am and 4pm.

To purchase tickets, go to:

Join us for the 2019 GreenBuilt Home Tour – registration now open! $20 Passport Tickets (admits 2): Unlimited visits to all homes featured on the tour for the entire tour weekend. Passport Tickets Now Available. $5 Single Home Tickets (admits 2): Visit a single home featured on the tour. To avoid passing along increased ticket fees to …

To visit the GreenBuilt Home Tour main page, go to:

Join us for the 2019 GreenBuilt Home Tour! The seventh annual GreenBuilt Home Tour is August 3 and 4, 2019 from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Join the Illinois Green Alliance to tour sustainable, healthy homes in Northern Illinois. Meet the builders, designers, and homeowners behind the green homes, experience the latest …

To visit the project profiles of all participating homes (ours included), go to:

Click on each 2019 Home Profile below to learn about the unique green features in each home and about the builders and suppliers who were part of these energy efficient and healthy projects. New this year, the tour features two tracks of homes. The green homes are Certified Green Homes that are third-party verified to …

The GreenBuilt Home Tour has been in existence since 2013. It has featured newly built, energy efficient homes in the Chicago area in the past. A number of people, including our friend Mark Wille, have tirelessly advocated to not only feature new construction, but also include retrofits. The hard work paid off. This is the first year where retrofit projects, like our deep energy retrofit, will be included.

If you have an existing home and contemplate energy upgrades, use this opportunity to see what improvements other home owners have implements and how they have made their homes healthier and more economic to run, own, and live in.

We look forward to seeing you Saturday, August 3rd.

MREA Energy Fair reminder

A couple of posts ago, I pointed you to the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) in Custer, Wisconsin, who organizes an Energy Fair every mid June (this summer, it’s June 21-23). And this year is a big year because it is the 30th anniversary of the Energy Fair.

And it is not too late to make plans to attend! It will be worth it, even if you only attend one of the three days. Tickets can be purchased at the front gate of the event. An adult weekend pass is advertised for $35, and an adult 1-Day pass for $15.

And again, we will be presenting on our deep energy retrofit this year. I will conduct four workshops that detail our efforts, research, decision-making, and execution of our deep-energy retrofit. Information regarding the workshops is listed below.

Can’t wait to see you at the Energy Fair!

MREA Energy Fair

If you landed on this blog, you are most likely looking for information on sustainability, energy-efficient remodeling, and/or deep-energy retrofits.

For today’s serving of information, I will beat someone else’s drum.

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) in Custer, Wisconsin organizes an Energy Fair every mid June (this summer, it’s June 21-23). And this year is a big year because it is the 30th anniversary of the Energy Fair.

The MREA describes this year’s Energy Fair as follows:

Celebrating 30 years of bringing people together to learn about sustainability and clean energy, connect with others, and take action toward a sustainable future. Featuring 200+ Workshops, 200+ Exhibits, Farm & Garden Tours, Artisan Market, Yoga, Live Music, food and fun all weekend long!

Cathy and I have been attending for a number of years and keep going back because the event is jam-packed with good resources, sessions, and workshops. If you are a professional in the green building industry, this fair is the perfect merging of fun and work. Or, if you are a homeowner, it is the perfect amalgamation of fun and learning.

If you plan on attending, you probably will run into me because I will conduct four workshops that detail our efforts, research, decision-making, and execution of our deep-energy retrofit. Information regarding the workshops is listed below:

We hope to see you at the Energy Fair!