After earning a master’s degree in industrial technology from Appalachian State University, Heath Moody left the academic world to work as a carpenter. “Sustainability is a passion for me. I was homesteading and building a cabin and decided what I really enjoyed was working with my hands,” he recalls.
Moody wound up back in academia when he took a position at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College teaching carpentry, and he found his interest in sustainability was shared by Construction Management & Building Sciences Department chair Ken Czarnomski. With a three-year grant from the Global Institute for Sustainability Technologies, they created A-B Tech’s Sustainability Technologies program.
Now the department head himself, Moody says the program focuses on green building and renewable energy but prepares students for a range of careers. “Sustainability is a vast field where you can get into agriculture, transportation, manufacturing and energy,” he says. “These skills are vital for society going forward.”
Hands-on projects, Moody notes, are key to developing those skills. Three student-assembled solar-charging workstations are currently installed on the main A-B Tech campus, while construction and sustainability students are partnering to construct 8-by-8-foot “pod” buildings that could be used as offices, studios or mediation rooms. Students in other departments are chipping in on the pods through computer-aided design, marketing and construction management. “We were looking for something everyone could get their hands on,” he says.