Backhome Chapters Across America: Who they are, what activities and projects they’ve already accomplished, and how you can become involved by getting together with like-minded folks in your community.
Batteries for green power systems: Safety precautions, sizing, maintenance and types of batteries for solar, wind and micro-hydro systems.
Citizen Action for Clean Air: Canary Coalition founder Avram Friedman will explain how each of us can help bring clean air back to the communities of the Appalachian region.
Challenging corporations, reclaiming democracy: Creative approaches to challenging corporate control. A brief history of corporate power, regulatory protection, critical judicial rulings, and current approaches for raising democratic activism beyond the regulatory arena.
Controlling mold in your home: Cindy Meehan-Patton of Shelter Ecology addresses the serious issues surrounding mold and practical solutions to this common problem. Learn from an expert how to deal with mold and the health benefits of doing so.
Cordwood construction: Rob Roy, known worldwide for his cordwood projects, explains the methods and materials used in cordwood masonry construction — an alternative building technique that delivers low-cost, energy-efficient, attractive structures.
Earth-sheltered housing: Rob Roy, author of Underground Houses, discusses the practical issues of thermal mass, construction, insulation and much more. Earth-sheltered housing offers energy efficiency at its peak.
Ecovillages — What are we learning? Patricia Allison of Earthaven Ecovillage discusses human-scaled, full-featured communities and how their members’ activities can be harmlessly integrated into the natural world, supporting everyone’s healthy development and successfully continuing into the future.
Edible & medicinal herbs: Red Moon Herbs Director Corinna Wood has taught herbal medicine for 10 years. She discusses the use of wild plants for food and medicine. Learn to identify and harvest common local wild plants.
Energy & democracy: Government policy, corporate power and their impact on communities. Rolling Thunder/Asheville presents an exploration of issues with a panel discussion followed by a Q&A session.
Energy-efficient mortgages: Isaac Savage of Home Energy Partners discusses the best-kept secret in the mortgage industry. EEMs allow the borrower to get extra money for making energy-efficient improvements such as solar hot water, insulation, sealing air leaks and ducts, storm windows and more.
Energy policies in the Southeast: The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy hosts a workshop on clean-air issues and current policies and laws. Learn how to help the National Power Plant Cleanup Campaign and efforts to support strong policies and proposals, plus the current state of the Clean Air Act and the internal dynamics of governments dealing with the region’s pervasive air-quality problems.
EnergyXchange: Gas from garbage: Learn how landfill gases are being converted to energy in Spruce Pine to power greenhouses and craft studios.
Forestry and natural building: Teaches how we can model beneficial forest-regenerating logging practices in Eastern forests and use lumber, “wood waste” and other forest products to create beautiful, ecologically sustainable, natural-built homes.
Fuel-cell technology: Ghasem Shahbazi of the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association explores this fascinating new technology, which produces nearly pollution-free energy from hydrogen.
Got Water? Permaculture teacher, designer and consultant Keith Johnson will discuss runoff management, earthworks, soil storage, ponds and tanks, plant storage and water catchment for drought-proofing.
Green power policies: Richard Harkrader (N.C. Sustainable Energy Association) examines government policies affecting the implementation and cost-effectiveness of renewable energy. Topics include net metering, public-benefits funds, green pricing and renewable-energy incentives.
Green power or zero waste: An open discussion of environmental contradictions in North Carolina’s recently established Green Power Program. Paying a premium for alternatives to nuclear and coal-fired power sounds like a good idea, but how green will the power really be?
Green tags — hidden revenue: Hoyt Hudson of Mainstay Energy discusses how small-scale, renewable-energy projects often ignore or discard an asset of significant value — their green tags — giving or trading away title to them. What are green tags? What are they worth? How can renewable sites benefit from green tags?
High-performance buildings: Isaac Savage of Home Energy Partners discusses construction details for new homes and retrofit for existing homes to increase energy efficiency, improve comfort, reduce mold, improve IAQ and increase durability. Learn about high-performance building programs that qualify for special financing options.
Hitchiker’s guide to clean air: Amber Munger, a consultant to the group Environmental Defense, offers steps for taking action and tips on acting locally. Despite the Clean Smokestacks Act’s efforts to clean up pollution from energy sectors, there remain many challenges before our air is healthy to breathe.
Hydraulic ram pumps: These time-tested mechanisms can pump water uphill without any electricity, using only the energy of the water itself. Reliable and inexpensive, ram pumps have long been a component of both homesteads and farms. Learn how they work and sources for building your own.
Micro-hydropower systems: An introduction to site analysis, systems and environmental considerations with the goal of producing the most electrical energy for the lowest investment.
Mortgage-free housing: Rob Roy, the author of Mortgage Free, examines the real-world possibilities of owning your own home without an unbearable debt to a bank.
Natural buildings: Mollie Curry, who has taught natural-building workshops for the last seven years, offers a slide presentation showing the beauty, sustainability and energy-efficiency of natural building methods.
Nuclear issues — government and corporate influence: How government and corporate policies affect decisions concerning nuclear wastes, transportation of radioactive materials, human safety and other key issues. Presented by WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom.
Passive solar & green design: Explores basic issues in designing and building a green, passive-solar home, including the benefits, decision points, basic terminology and resources for “going green.”
Permaculture — an introduction: Patricia Allison gives an overview of permaculture ethics and principles, applying permaculture design to the landscape in terms of buildings, energy, water and waste.
Practical photovoltaics: Bryan Walsh, a certified photovoltaic contractor with Solar Connextion SPELLING???, covers installations and solar electrical equipment in a Q&A session, offering a chance to bring your PV questions to a solar professional.
Protecting forest ecosystems: Scott Gollwitzer of Appalachian Voices presents an introduction to the many issues and challenges facing the southern and central Appalachians and what individuals can do to help.
Rammed-earth construction: Terry Green of Green Earth Builders offers a look at an affordable and increasingly popular way to build green that provides excellent thermal mass and long-term stability.
Regrooving the dream: Cecil Bothwell, a 20-year off-the-grid veteran and the author of Duck Soup: Essays on the Submerging Culture, twists together threads from human and nonhuman history, alternative energy, organic and local food sources, the geometry of knots, and bike maintenance. (Bothwell is also managing editor of Mountain Xpress.)
Residential photovoltaics: Dave Hollister of Sundance Power Systems gives an introduction aimed at homeowners considering buying and installing a photovoltaic system. Presented by the North Carolina Solar Center.
Residential wind systems: Dave Hollister of Sundance Power Systems discusses a practical way to generate your own reliable, pollution-free electricity. Site considerations, system designs, hybrid systems, utility interconnections, inverters, batteries and more will be covered in a Q&A format.
The Ridge Law & wind generators: Louis Zeller of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League explores the question of whether the state’s current Ridge Law already allows wind generators. Amending North Carolina’s Ridge Law may not be necessary, based on the historical use of the term “windmill.”
Solar cookers: The Appalachian State University Solar Energy Society explores appropriate solutions for Third World countries facing energy and natural-resource shortages. The society will offer demonstrations of solar cookers, ovens and food-dehydrators.
Solar hot-water systems: The N.C. Solar Center will discuss how to take full advantage of the sun and choose a system that’s right for your needs. Different types of active systems for heating homes, providing domestic hot water, and serving pools/spas will be examined.
Stone-circle building: Rob Roy, author of Stone Circles: A Modern Builders Guide to the Megalithic Revival, discusses how to move large stones (or megaliths) by hand, astronomical alignments, geometry and history, both ancient and modern. Roy will show slides taken during his travels around the globe studying stone circles and their construction.
Sustainability in North Carolina state government: explains the efforts and savings state facilities have realized through energy efficiency and describes ongoing State Energy Office research and programs. Presented by staff of the State Energy Office, N.C. Department of Administration.
Sustainable construction: explores the growing options available to general contractors for sustainable design, construction and consultation in the commercial market today. Presented by Appropriate Building Solutions, Inc.
Tax credits & ways to save money: This program, presented by the State Energy Office, N.C. Department of Administration, explains how to take advantage of North Carolina’s significant tax incentives for solar and other alternative-energy projects, whether residential or commercial. It also presents easy, low- or no-cost ways to save money by reducing energy use.
TVA’s green-power generation partners: Thomas Tripp of Big Frog Mountain Corp. covers utility intertie requirements for seven states in the Tennessee Valley Authority area.
WNC Alliance — membership & action: Executive Director Brownie Newman outlines the nonprofit group’s history and current issues, emphasizing membership development and opportunities for regional action. Learn more about how you can help preserve and protect Western North Carolina’s natural heritage with one of the oldest regional environmental organizations in the state.
WNC green-building efforts: Discussion of the WNC Green Building Council’s guidelines and efforts to more responsible, sustainable and energy-efficient construction throughout the region.
Wood heating: solid-fuel technician Alan Hoyle will discuss space- and water-heating systems with backup fuel sources, outside installation and many safety features.