By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Green Week organizers in Oxford and at the University of Mississippi will host a plethora of events April 15-22 aimed at showing how people can eat, work, play, travel and live using less energy and materials.
One highlight will be tours of sustainably built structures on April 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting at Insight Park.
Steel cargo containers are the nucleus of Amy and Clark Barton’s guest house. Builder Bill Lilly used the foundation from a burned cabin, laying two 8-by-20-foot and one 8-by-40 container in a U shape and closing in the front with studs, insulation and corrugated roofing.
Reuse of the containers saved 95 percent of the energy required to recycle them, and solar-electric panel and geothermal heating and cooling cut energy use.
“This house is about 1,000 square feet, and the cost for solar, geothermal and everything else was about $138,000,” he said.
Rainbow Cleaners’ ultramodern facade matches a host of energy- and material-saving features in its plant, including soy-based foam insulation, a heat-reflecting roof, water retention and air-conditioning aimed to cool people rather than space.
The overhang on front shelters both workers and drive-up customers.
“From September to March the sun will hit the glass on the front, and the rest of the year it will be in shade,” said architect Corey Alger.
“We’ve reduced our energy use significantly from our old location,” said owner Herron Roland.
The university’s Medicinal Plant Garden is also on the tour. Administrator Aruna Weerasooriya said university researchers study medicinal plants grown on site for purposes as varied as malaria cures and Asian folk remedies.
The new buildings and grounds provide space to propagate, securely store and study hundreds of plant species. Among their features are trellises that provide both growing space and shade, permeable parking to reduce runoff and a 20,000-gallon tank that captures rooftop rainwater for chlorine-free irrigation of sensitive plants.
“Our building is not the traditional brick and columns, but because our research is unique, a unique facility just fit what we were looking for,” said Senior Horticulturist Derek Oglesby.
While Green Week’s ever-expanding offerings address a host of interests, Katrina Hourin, Oxford’s assistant city planner, said she hopes seeing the green structures will inspire potential builders.
“We are especially excited about the tour,” she said.
For more information on Green Week in Oxford/Ole Miss, visit greenweek.blog.olemiss.edu.