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The Meridian Energy Speaker and Workshop Series really does have something for everyone. It's going to be part of the Down to Earth Sustainability & Lifestyle Expo being held in the city soon, and what I like about sustainability is not only is it good for the environment, the options are often healthier for our wallets. There are so many interesting speakers, I might have to settle in for the weekend.

Something I know all about are cloth nappies and how much money they save. I never thought I would use them until I did the sums.

I estimated we saved at least $6000 by opting for reusable nappies instead of disposable, and I couldn't get my hands on some fast enough.

That saving goes a long way if you are a young couple saving for that first house deposit, paying off a student loan, or simply a parent wanting to stay at home longer with your new baby.


One of the speakers at the Meridian series is Kate Meads, who will talk about the significant savings parents can make by opting for more sustainable ways to parent. Her workshop will not only focus on the benefits of using cloth nappies, but ways to save money by buying in bulk, baby food tips and purchasing products that are reusable.

"People nowadays are so focused on buying convenience products to save time, they don't realise that they are having to work harder and longer to actually pay for them. I'm going to talk about adopting some old-school ways to show people that if they pay for quality and quantity once, they will save time and cost in the long run," said Meads.

Another speaker at the series is Marcus Baker from Apricus Solar Hot Water. He will cover the different options for home heating as well as the need for good insulation, draft proofing and moisture control. Central heating will be a focus, and using renewable and efficient energy sources, including how solar energy can be integrated into highly-sustainable solutions for the home.

Other speakers will cover topics such as sustainable healthcare for our pets, worm farming, the need to alkalise body pH, how to build natural immunity and how to make organic bread.

"As a company that is committed to sustainability and generating electricity from 100 per cent renewable resources, sponsoring the Speaker Series for the Down to Earth Expo is a natural fit for Meridian Energy," says Sarah Peacock, spokesperson for Meridian Energy.

Be inspired by the speakers and workshops at this month's Sustainability and Lifestyle Expo:

11am - Staying Healthy Naturally
WAVESnz will discuss how you can stay healthy naturally and build natural immunity, including pitfalls to avoid and common misconceptions on health and toxins in the environment.

12pm - The Climate Reality
97% of climate scientists agree that man-made climate change is a reality. It's warming our planet and creating extreme weather. Michelle Elborn, sustainability advisor for the Tauranga City Council wants us to reduce carbon pollution. Come along to hear how.


1pm - Waste Free Parenting
Kate Meads, also known as The Nappy Lady, will provide lots of advice on ways to minimize waste at home, especially with a baby. You will also learn lots about modern cloth nappy options and sustainable household product alternatives.

2pm - Sustainable Homes: Your home - its thermal envelope & solar electricity
Nik Gregg from Sustainability Options will share what he knows about the critical importance of your homes thermal envelope; how it impacts health, energy efficiency and long term running costs. He'll also explain how your homes thermal envelope and the use solar electricity best work hand in hand.

3pm - Global Worming, Not Global Warming
Primary industries in New Zealand create a lot of waste product, Michael Quintern from My Noke will explain how they are using earthworms to turn waste into vermicast; a nutrient-dense, economical fertilizer that farmers love. You'll also get the chance to see 'waste tigers' at work with a hands-on demonstration.

11 am - Learn To Make Organic Bread
Robert Glensor from Pure Bread will show you how to make delicious organic bread from your home kitchen.

12pm - Alkaline Your Life For Better Health
Joseph Blessing, Director of Ionza, will discuss how you can manage your internal body pH to improve your vitality and prevent illness. Learn a few simple ways and techniques to support your body day by day and feel fantastic.

1pm - Sustainable Healthcare For Our Pets
In our modern pet society many of our pets eat processed pet foods which can sometimes be detrimental to their health. Dr. Liza Schneider from Holistic Vets will teach us how to help our pets by going back to nature; natural diets, fresh air and moderate exercise.

2pm - Healthy Eating & Food Waste
Discover how to prepare delicious, easy meals using real ingredients, cutting out unhealthy processed foods, and how to reduce kitchen food waste thanks to well-known local chef, Peter Blakeway.

3pm - Home Heating 101
Marcus Baker from Renewable Energy Limited / Apricus NZ will discuss how to sustainably, healthily and economically heat your home. He'll cover the range of options available for retrofit and new builds, including how to maintain healthy temperatures all year round.