Event in Columbia aims to teach residents about sustainability

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COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia made a commitment to reduce energy intensity by 20 percent by 2020. An event Saturday aims at educating city residents to be more energy efficient and how they can save money by doing so.

Mark Haim, Director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, one of the organizers of the 12th annual sustainable living fair, said Columbia residents play a role in the city's effort to reduce its carbon footprint.

"Our collective situation is the sum of all its parts," he said. "If you look at what Columbia Water and Light is putting into the atmosphere, it's because people in the community are using electricity and businesses are, residences are, institutions are. It all adds up."

Haim also said adopting energy efficient habits will pay for itself in the long run.

"Getting energy efficient is going to save you a bundle, because basically, you'll be able to heat and cool your house, run your appliances, do what you do, using less energy and having lower utility bills for decades to come," Haim said.

He said with winter around the corner, there are things people can do to keep their homes warm and save money.

"There's the ability to plug leaks, insulate, to weather strip, to improve your windows and doors and there are incentives to do this. There are tax incentives," he said.

The "Sustainable Living Fair " will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in front of city hall. Haim said the event is crucial in order to educate people on what they can do to be energy efficient and do their part to help the city reduce its impact on the environment.

"So if we're looking at Columbia reducing it's footprint, it takes all of us doing things and it's great that the city is taking this on, but we need more people who live here to recognize that they have a vested interest."