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.

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 […]

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).

The Green Scene

Anyone making a conscientious effort to scale back, consume less and live “green” has probably met with an irritating setback: It’s not that easy. Advertisers may portray earth-friendly living as a kind of Zenlike simplicity, but the questions people must confront when attempting to make the greenest choices are often more likely to induce a […]

Village people

The seeds for the Ashevillage Building Convergence were sown a dozen years ago when a small group of people in Portland, Ore., transformed a run-of-the-mill intersection into an attractive public gathering space. They built an earthen teahouse, planted gardens, erected a kiosk for fliers and poetry, painted a vibrant design on the pavement, threw a […]

The Green Scene

The greening of the paper industry? “Paper is still one of our most challenging environmental issues, and there’s still much more work to be done,” says Joshua Martin, coordinator of the Environmental Paper Network. But Martin expresses hope, not cynicism, about the industry’s recent environmental progress. Logging the industry’s progress: Companies like International Paper are […]

Going for the green

A March 15 workshop led by staffers from the Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc. could point the way toward a substantive sustainability initiative for Asheville. Invited by the city’s Sustainable Energy and Environment Advisory Committee, company representatives led some 50 participants—including Mayor Terry Bellamy, City Manager Gary Jackson and many high-level city staffers—through a series of […]