EARTH FRIENDLY FOUNDATIONS: Using a variety of new technology and state of the art building practicies, green builders around WNC and bringing sustainable construction concepts to the forefront of design. Photo courtesy Alembic Studios.

Green building thriving in WNC despite legislativ­e threats

Amid a hostile legislative climate in Raleigh, innovative, sustainable design and construction are flourishing in Western North Carolina. The WNC Green Building Council was founded in 2001. Since then — and despite an unstable housing market — local interest has grown steadily, says Maggie Leslie.

A thinking man’s approach to green building: Robin Woodward

A few months ago, a conversation with longtime downtown Asheville advocate Karen Tessier led to talk about one of her marketing client — Robin Woodward of Blue Ridge Energy Systems. A profile on Woodward languished in the Xpress inbox, until we stirred the pot for ideas about sustainability — what it means and where we’re going. Asheville has been at the heart of green-building initiatives in the past few decades. Here’s a close look at one of its self-starters.

Up from the ashes: Once slated for destruction, the Reid Center is now the site of an ambitious renovation project overseen by the Asheville Housing Authority and involving an array of nonprofits. photos by Max Cooper

Reid Center rising: Innovative training/h­iring model uses local labor

The current $4.3 million Reid Center renovation is the fruit of an ambitious alliance of local nonprofits and agencies. Once earmarked for demolition, the historic structure has played a major role in Asheville’s historically African-American Southside neighborhood since the 1920s, serving as a school for decades before becoming a community center. But bricks, mortar and […]

Gone solar: ASU decathletes install their solar homestead on the National Mall-attachment0

Gone solar: ASU decathlete­s install their solar homestead on the National Mall

Xpress hit the road last week to bring you an opening-day look at Appalachian State University’s entry in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon — the biannual competition that pits collegiate teams against each other as they develop new innovations in solar building technology and install their creations in a “solar village” exhibit on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The students, including Asheville High grad Janelle Wienke, survived two elimination rounds and, along with the remaining 18 competitors, have their eyes on the grand prize of $100,000 (and a selection of job prospects) when the competition wraps up Oct. 2.

Green giant: The new Buncombe County courts building being constructed along College St. in downtown Asheville will be the government’s first LEED certified structure. At over 100,000 square feet, it will also be one of the biggest buildings in the entire county. Photo courtesy of Buncombe County

Going green

Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Sept. 13, 2011 meeting CTS building condemned, demolition planned Grants sought for Mountain Mobility Buncombe County is working to cut energy costs, lower carbon emissions and preserve farmland, various staffers told the Board of Commissioners Sept. 13 in a series of reports on current environmental initiatives. Assistant County Manager Jon […]

Solar homestead: A compact design mimics old-time mountain homesteads, where outbuildings can be customized to serve as a garden shed, picnic shelter, or outdoor kitchen, while allowing homeowners to add square footage and solar collection to suit their needs. For more, see Courtesy of ASU Solar Homestead Project.

Green Scene: The past is prologue

Who says there’s nothing new under the sun? Inspired by the days when isolated homesteads dotted Western North Carolina, a team of Appalachian State University students has designed a self-sufficient, “zero-energy” homestead that embraces the future. And this month, their creation goes head-to-head with 18 other entries in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. […]

WNC at the crossroads

For 10 years, I organized the annual Southern Energy & Environment Expo, educating thousands about sustainability while generating an economic impact estimated at more than $5 million. Recently, however, I decided to pull the plug on the event. The decision wasn’t easy, but I did it because I’m convinced that, like the nation as a […]

A decade of green: The Western North Carolina Green Building Council turns 10

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” anthropologist Margaret Mead said. The Western North Carolina Green Building Council — its founders and its members — demonstrates the truth in those words. The council started as a conversation between two people, a decade ago. It then grew into a group of several people, but the goal remained the same: how to increase green building in the region. This Thursday, April 28, the council celebrates with its annual party (see below).