Events focus on solutions dealing with climate challenges

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The nonprofit Climate Smart Glacier Country is holding a series of events to explore local solutions to climate challenges.

The next event is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 13 and includes a tour of innovative, climate-smart homes located in Whitefish. The “Green Home Tour” will start at the Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship at Whitefish High School at 10:45 a.m. to carpool. From there, participants will visit three homes that feature innovative, energy efficient and sustainable design. Learn about cutting-edge building materials, how to dramatically reduce energy costs, and opportunities to generate your own power. Lunch is provided by Glacier Smart.

RSVP by Oct. 11 by sending an email to Karin Hilding, Climate Smart Board Member and Project Engineer at the city of Whitefish at Khilding@CityofWhitefish.org or call 406-890-3709.

The first home on the tour is a cross-laminated timber home built and designed by owners Yvonne May and Jake Christiansen on Lamb Lane. They keep their home at 70 degrees and the building is so energy efficient that their entire heating bill for January was $42.

The second home is an energy-efficient green home built by Mark Van Everen and Bridgewater Innovative Builders located at 325 Sawtooth Drive in Whitefish. Van Everen has received several green building certifications and awards including a Gold Certified Green Residence, Energy Value Housing Award finalist, Building America Partner, and Energy Star.

The final home on the tour is a zero-discharge home built by owner Richard Cohen. Featuring solar power, solar thermal water, super-insulated efficiency, composting toilet, and gray water treatment for irrigation of greenhouse beds at 160 Kallner Lane.

The final event shifts the focus to the increasing risk of catastrophic wildfires in Flathead communities. A “Wildfire in the City” forum is scheduled at Whitefish City Hall for Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. and will focus on what homeowners and town leaders can do to establish fire-adapted communities. Wildfire has razed urban neighborhoods in major western cities over the past year, and the Flathead is not immune from this risk, according to Climate Smart. Learn what can be done in an era of megafires and hotter, drier summers.

The forum will feature several panelists discussing the threat of wildfire to the community and how to protect homes and businesses. Brief presentations will be followed by open discussion with the audience. Panelists include: Joe Page, Whitefish Fire Chief; Bambi Goodman, Whitefish Area Fire Safe Council; Ali Ulwelling, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation; Jeff Mow, Superintendent of Glacier National Park; Rick Trembath, Retired Bigfork Fire Chief and fire historian; Ed Lieser, fire behavior specialist; and Richard Hildner, Whitefish Deputy Mayor.

More information on these community conversation events can be found at: https://climatesmartglaciercountry.org/happenings/events-list/

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