Green Scene

The local Sierra Club chapter has another big idea for 2012: bolstering Progress Energy’s coal-ash ponds in Skyland to avoid a disaster like the massive spill at Kingston, Tenn., back in 2008. The local utility’s two coal-ash ponds are unlined and contained by earthen dams; activists worry that toxic contaminants are leaching into local ground […]

photo by Bill Rhodes

Green Scene

Buying only new tires puts more scrap tires into the waste stream; reuse is the highest form of recycling. Lots of folks can’t easily afford a set of new tires, and as long as they’re inspected for safety and tread depth, they’re often a good choice for the budget-minded. I don’t think it’s wise to […]

Green Scene

If we want to have an immediate, affordable, doable effect on the environment, Asheville needs lots more trees planted to combat the hot summers we've been experiencing, while helping clean the air. The DOT has removed hundreds of trees along the highways, and we need to take a proactive role in adding more trees back […]

Green Scene

As a native of Asheville, I want to help most of my friends and neighbors save money and finally move toward getting off the grid. Thank God, it's now not that hard to move toward a solar generator. I was miserable for seven days during the blizzard of 2009. I bought a gas generator afterward, […]

Green Scene

Light pollution is something many of us don’t think much about, but for stargazers, migrating birds and folks passionate about energy conservation, dark skies are a resource worth protecting. Buncombe County will be approving new outdoor-lighting standards in 2012, particularly commercial and industrial lighting, and some local activists see it as an opportunity to strengthen […]

Green Scene

Amid growing concerns about how stormwater runoff is affecting waterways near large developments and agricultural fields, ECO is launching Rapid Response Teams that will activate during storm events to assess turbidity and sediment flow, so we can better understand how runoff affects stream health. These tests will help establish a base line on how effective […]

Green Scene: At your service

As consumers, we’ve all heard the phrase “The customer is always right.” But what happens when the state agency charged with protecting human health and the environment starts calling the companies it’s supposed to regulate “customers”? A recent meeting in Asheville hosted by officials from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources provided a […]

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 www.thesolarhomestead.com. 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. […]