Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Home From the Log & Timber Home Show

This morning we returned from a three day Log and Timber Frame Home Show in Harrisburg, PA, where we exhibited with our display booth, samples, and literature. At first, Jeremy and I contemplated a seven hour drive for a timber home show -- would it be worthwhile? We discovered it was a memorable experience for many reasons.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo center is one of the largest facilities I’ve ever visited as an exhibitor of a timber home show, measuring over 172,000 square feet, and that was only one of eight halls in the complex! There were several other shows scheduled for the same weekend, including a horsemanship show and a craft show, which generated thousands of visitors to the area.

Interestingly, as I walked around outside for a few minutes during lunchtime, I discovered a wind turbine used to help generate electricity for the complex. Curious, I decided to investigate the system and found a helpful employee of the complex who provided some fascinating information.

The turbine was installed in December 2006. The tower stands approx. 35 feet tall, is 2 feet in diameter at its base, and extends 12 feet below finished grade. The diameter of the rotor is 12 feet, and spins clockwise looking into the wind. The unit weighs approximately 170 lbs. The unit will start producing power in an 8 mph breeze, producing 1,800 watts in 20 mph wind. A building’s electrical system uses the wind energy first, drawing additional energy from the utility when needed.

All of the power produced by the turbine is used in the Complex as a supplemental renewable energy source.

We met many wonderful people and neighboring exhibitors, who stopped by our booth asking questions about timber frame design and green building. With the already astronomical energy prices still rising, people are more eager than ever to learn about their renewable energy options for an energy efficient home.

One of the highlights of our trip was the time we spent with some Amish timber framers who are genuinely passionate about their work. Their custom handcrafted timber frames feature beautifully detailed mortise and tenon joinery, and we were able to watch one of their assemblies using manpower as opposed to heavy machinery for the construction of the timber frame.

The attendance for all three of the days was steady and we had many inquires about our timber frame design and project management services. Jeremy gave a seminar to an attentive audience on Saturday, and we appreciate the positive feedback about the presentation and our display. We look forward to returning soon to meet with some of our newest clients, and we truly appreciate the interest in our company and architectural services.

Kimberly Bonin, Executive Project Manager
Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC

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