No more excuses for not building green

It’s often said that growth is inevitable in Western North Carolina. No, we’re not referring to kudzu, but “growth” as in the new construction of homes and commercial buildings. However, rampant development heaps a load of environmental pressures upon this lovely mountain region. To name a few: Projects wedged up against the boundaries of national forests can degrade those richly bio-diverse lands, steep-slope construction tends to dump sediment into mountain streams, and spikes in energy consumption drive up the peak loads for coal-burning power plants. And then there’s the traffic.

The trick, it seems, is to figure out how to grow while still maintaining the integrity of the natural environment that draws people here. And that is, of course, an age-old story.

Here’s what’s new: This week, the 2008 Western North Carolina Green Building Directory hits the stands. For the past four months, Mountain Xpress has been working in partnership with the Western North Carolina Green Building Council to produce the guide, which is packed full of energy-efficient design ideas, tips on finding recycled and salvaged building materials, a tutorial on rainwater harvesting and more. The directory profiles a few shining examples of green design, such as the new solar/geothermal-powered facilities complex at UNCA. It’s also what you might think of as a kind of green Yellow Pages, listing local green builders, renewable-energy companies, green-products suppliers and more.

Founded in 2000, the WNC Green Building Council is dedicated to educating the public about environmentally responsible building practices. The free directory can be found at more than 100 locations in Buncombe and surrounding counties.

To view the 2008 WNC Green Building Directory online, visit


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