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Mobile EcoHouse Teaches Inwood Kids How to Go Green

By Nigel Chiwaya | March 26, 2013 7:47am

INWOOD — Eco-conscious kids can learn about energy-efficient lightbulbs, low-flow shower heads and smart power strips for the next two weeks in Inwood Hill Park.

The park is hosting the Community Environmental Center's EcoHouse, a mobile museum that teaches visitors ways to save energy in their homes.

At first glance, the EcoHouse looks like an ordinary compact home, complete with a kitchen and boiler. A closer look, however, shows that everything inside the house — from the lightbulbs to the windows — is built to be energy-efficient.

The goal is to create a teaching environment that children can relate to, said Community Environmental Center spokeswoman Alexis Greene.

"Home is a place that young people know best, so if you can tell them about saving energy in the home and show them, then you can really help them develop habits," she said.

"There's an exhibit where kids can walk into a shower and see how much water a low-flow shower head saves," Greene added. "Even though they don't pay bills, it's a way to raise their consciousness."

The EcoHouse, which is located across the street from Inwood Hill Park's nature center near West 218th Street and Indian Road, is a program of the Community Environmental Center, a nonprofit that specializes in making homes energy-efficient in New York City.

Greene said the group was invited to Inwood Hill Park by the city Parks Department to make up for the currently closed Nature Center, which decreased its hours after budget cuts last year and has been shuttered since sustaining heavy damage during Hurricane Sandy.

The timing of the EcoHouse's visit — it will be at Inwood Hill Park until April 6 — coincides with the park's annual Kid's Week, in which kids are taught about nature by the Urban Park Rangers.

The EcoHouse is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.