Electric Ideas Shared at Green Open House 

With temperatures always in flux outside, some folks headed inside Thursday to talk about new ways to heat and cool their homes. They also got a behind-the-scenes look at a locally manufactured technology.”We love electricity here. Because there’s so many ways to produce it. And so many different ways to use it,” says Duane Hallowell. Hallowell says the open house in Bangor was all about learning new things, whether it was about programmable thermostats or insulation made out of blue jeans.”I believe companies will be grouping together in the coming months and years to help people in what choices are out there,” Hallowell says.He brought local utilities and businesses together Thursday to answer questions for folks about energy-related rebates, tax credits and more.”The craftsmanship that’s going on here in Bangor is wonderful,” says Mark Burnett, a visitor to the open house.Some people are intrigued by Hallowell International’s electric heating and cooling system, which uses outside air.”I’m really impressed with the workmanship, the thought that’s gone into it. Typically heat pumps have never worked well in the bitter cold of Maine,” Burnett says.”Really, what we did was take a conventional system and make it work well in northern climates,” Hallowell says. “I think up here, typically we’re scared of electric power because we think it’s expensive. And it doesn’t need to be. It’s the end device that uses energy and how efficient that is.”While heat pumps are popular down South, Hallowell says the technology is new for folks here. But 300 homes in Maine are now using one of his company’s locally-made products.”We make a good product here,” says Michael Paul, a Hallowell employee who was showing his family around the open house. “I believe in what we do.”Hallowell says he hopes to make the open houses a regular event, held at various energy industry companies in the area, so folks can ask questions without feeling pressured to buy anything.