The Green Column #42

New Green Products Exhibit and Learning Center

January 28, 2011—The Nebraska Center for Sustainable Construction has created the Eco Products and Services Center (EPSC) to serve Lincoln, Omaha and the surrounding communities in Southeast Nebraska.

A division of the Nebraska Center for Sustainable Construction (NCSC) (joining two other existing divisions: EcoStores Nebraska and DeConstruction Nebraska) the EPSC is a “doing business as [dba]” division of the non-profit Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communitities, with offices in Lincoln and Omaha.

EPSC will provide a one-stop information center for green products and services. The center’s main focus is products/services needed for the building/construction industry for commercial and residential retrofit and energy efficiency upgrades. Principal emphasis of the exhibit center, and the net benefit to the region, will be waste reduction through the use of salvaged and recycled content in new materials, and a broad mix of green product representatives from the area will increase conveniences for consumers.

Lincoln and Southeast Nebraska are on the verge of a building boom requiring green products and services to meet new energy efficiency and green building standards proposed by city, state and federal governments and supported by the local public utility companies.

The center will be added, with renovations, to the existing EcoStores Nebraska building/warehouses located at 530 West P Street. EcoStores Nebraska combined with EPSC will form a complete and comprehensive community center of green design and construction information unique to Lincoln and the Flatwater Metro region.

The estimated opening date is February 2011 when the facilities/exhibit space, website and marketing materials will be complete. EPSC is expected to have maximum occupancy of vendors and suppliers in Phase I of the renovated facilities by mid-year 2011.

EPSC’s purpose is to provide a one-stop information solution for green products/services. The goal is to relieve consumers of the time burden involved in the research of green products and services. EPSC will employ knowledgeable staff able to provide consumers with product and construction expertise, education, clarification and assistance. Research reveals that consumers in the green product market need their own green ‘concierge’ to personally help them navigate the research, selection and purchase of green products.

EPSC will serve consumers interested in:

  1. Making energy efficiency upgrades to older homes
  2. Building new homes with green products
  3. Increasing energy efficiency in commercial buildings
  4. Exploring alternative energy systems
  5. Learning opportunities and knowledge of green technologies and performance characteristics
  6. Green products and services outside of the building and energy industries.

W. Craig Steward, manager of EPSC, says, “The greatest asset of the new center will be customer service, not only to consumers, but also to the regional vendors and suppliers.” The businesses that make or supply green products and services will have the advantage of having a focused and knowledgeable market of consumers who already frequent the existing EcoStores Nebraska for second-use building materials and green systems information.

National economic trend-watching sites predict a rise in not only eco-friendly, but also eco-superior products. It refers to green products that have superior functionality, design and savings. The site notes mainstream consumers are beginning to question the value and efficiency of going green and are looking for products that go well beyond simply the promise of environmental benefits. Healthy living and working environments, low-cost maintenance, and long product performances are becoming higher priority considerations for the choices made by many consumers in this new economy.

The EPSC will provide the following services for Lincoln and the Flatwater Metro region:

  • Rotating exhibits of green products and services that are available in Lincoln and/or the Flatwater metro region. The exhibit center will be open to the public six days each week. The items on exhibit will be screened for authentic green qualities. The approved products and services will be either locally owned and produced, or locally marketed, but produced elsewhere.
  • The EPSC will staff the exhibit with knowledgeable on-site persons to advise exhibit visitors regarding the qualities and performance characteristics of products and services exhibited.
  • The EPSC will organize and maintain a web-based data and information site for all the exhibited products and services, as well as a database of relevant “best practices” for the uses and installations of recycled and green content materials, and retrofit projects for energy efficiencies.
  • The EPSC will host weekly workshops on capacity building for green jobs, with a special focus on retrofit skills and crafts necessary to accomplish weatherization and energy efficiencies for local homeowners; workshops will also be available for property owners, contractors and sub-contractors with interests in energy efficiencies and construction requirements.
  • The EPSC will create and maintain a list of recommended designers, contractors and craft persons who will offer green services to the public.
  • The planned workshops and seminars will be delivered as part of weekly soecial and educational networking events, Think Green, Its Thursday (TGIT). They will be offered weekly, on Thursdays at 5:00 to 6:00 pm. Announcements of the schedule of offerings will be available soon.

For further information on the EPSC, visit the website, www.ecoproductsandservicescenter.org or contact Christine Hunt, marketing manager, at 402-477-3606, or email christine.hunt@ecostoresne.org.

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