Local Scoop

Categories

Asheville, North Carolina News


Posts Tagged ‘green’

UNC Asheville is Greener and Ready for Freshmen

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – UNC Asheville is preparing to welcome 550 new Bulldogs to the campus community this Friday as freshmen move into their residence halls and get ready to start classes on Monday, Aug. 20. And when freshman and returning students arrive, they will find new, top-notch science labs, a modern new residence hall, and a greener, more energy-efficient campus.

“We are expecting a freshman class that is remarkably able academically,” said UNC Asheville Provost Jane Fernandes. “The students we have accepted have strong academic profiles, with excellent high school preparation and notable college entrance exam scores.”

The average SAT for the incoming freshman class is expected to be about 1188, surpassing last year’s average of 1174. For more than a decade, UNC Asheville has consistently been among the top three or four campuses in the UNC system – along with UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State and UNC-Wilmington – when ranked by entering freshman SATs.

The new science labs are part of the state-funded, $8.8 million renovation of Rhoades Hall, the campus’ first classroom building. The vintage 1961 building is now upfitted for the current century with nearly a dozen new classrooms, and five new teaching and six new research labs, including a high-tech robotics lab for engineering students, high-end computational labs for physics students, and server-based computer lab for environmental science students studying GIS.

White boards along the hallways provide informal space for student-faculty exchanges as does the new, two-story glass-walled study area at the building’s entrance.

“With the completion of the Rhoades Hall renovations this fall and the opening of the Zeis Science and Multimedia building in 2009, UNC Asheville now has some of the best undergraduate science and math facilities in the Southeast,” said Keith Krumpe, UNC Asheville dean of natural sciences and professor of chemistry.

The Rhoades Hall renovation itself is a study in green retrofitting. A geothermal field under the Main Quad now provides the building’s heating and cooling and a 10,000-gallon underground rainwater cistern collects water for the building’s low-flow toilets. There are occupancy monitors to control lighting, an improved building envelope and larger windows to add daylight and reduce energy costs. Project architects were PBC+L of Asheville.

A new five-story residence hall, which opens this week for 300 returning students, has numerous green features as well, from geothermal heating to in-room energy sensors so students can monitor their own energy usage. With the addition of Overlook Hall, some 1,400 students, or almost 40 percent of the student body, will live on campus.

The new residence hall, designed with student input, has four- and six-person suites that combine single and double rooms with a shared living area and bathroom. Students will also have a food court, kitchenettes, laundry rooms, study areas, meeting space and a rooftop study area and lounge with views of campus and Mount Pisgah.

Overlook Hall’s geothermal field is designed to supply heating and cooling to six adjacent residence halls for much of the year, with backup heating and cooling available during the heaviest demand. The university expects the system to operate at 40% of the cost of traditional systems. The nearby residence halls will also share Overlook Hall’s new solar-heated hot water system.

Overlook Hall construction cost $16.7 million. State funding is not provided for residence hall construction in North Carolina. Residence hall construction projects are self-liquidating, with debt service funded through residence hall fees. The architects for the new residence hall were Gantt Huberman Architects of Charlotte, with design consultant by KieranTimberlake Architects of Philadelphia.

WWC Named to The Princeton Review’s Green Rating Honor Roll

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – Warren Wilson College is among 16 colleges and universities nationwide to be included on The Princeton Review’s 2012 Green Rating Honor Roll. WWC is the only private college in the Southeast on the honor roll, having received the review’s highest possible green rating of 99.

According to The Princeton Review’s website, “criteria for the green rating cover three areas: whether the school’s students have a campus quality of life that is healthy and sustainable; how well the school is preparing its students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges; and the school’s overall commitment to environmental issues.”

The website also noted that “the institutional survey for the rating included questions on energy use, recycling, food, buildings, and transportation as well as academic offerings and action plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Princeton Review developed its Green Rating with ecoAmerica, a non-profit environmental organization….” For more information on the 16 schools, listed alphabetically in the review’s 2012 green ratings, go here.

The recognition by The Princeton Review is the latest in a long list of green accolades Warren Wilson has received for its environmental and sustainability initiatives. The college also received top billing regarding the Green Rating Honor Roll on the Earth911.com website.

Go Green at The North Carolina Focus on Flowers Symposium

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

ASHEVILLE – The North Carolina Arboretum will host its annual Focus on Flowers symposium on Saturday, July 16. The event this year, “Going Green in the Garden,” will highlight sustainable gardening techniques that all gardeners can employ.

Focus on Flowers is a popular event for amateur and Master Gardeners alike. This year’s symposium features keynote speaker Pam Beck, as well as gardening experts Randy Burroughs, Linda Patterson, Debbie Wood, Linda Blue, Pattie Quinn Hill, and Kit Schmeiser.

The program agenda includes:

“Change How You Garden,” a lecture by keynote speaker Pam Beck. This engaging presentation will introduce participants to a holistic approach to creating realistic gardens that are easily maintained, water wise, nature-friendly, and food-producing. Beck’s afternoon discussion, “Small Spaces Garden Design,” will explore how to make the most of an intimate landscape through thoughtfully chosen hardscape and plant material, tricks of perspective, and an array of fresh design ideas.

Landscape architect Randy Burroughs will present “Native Plant Secrets of Drought Tolerance.”

Linda Patterson, owner of Mountain Rainwater Systems, will offer insight into water harvesting.

Sustainable container gardening will be discussed by Master Gardener Debbie Wood.

Linda Blue, Agent of the NC State Cooperative Extension Service, will present “Water Wise Landscaping.”

An Ikebana demonstration will be led by Pattie Quinn Hill, member of the Blue Ridge Chapter of Ikenobo Ikebana Society.

Steve and Kit Schmeiser of the nature conservation nonprofit Mountain WILD! will present methods for attracting wildlife to your garden.

Focus on Flowers is a co-sponsored event of the NC State Cooperative Extension Service, the Buncombe County Master Gardeners, and The North Carolina Arboretum Society. The program fee is $49 for Arboretum Society Members and active Buncombe County Master Gardeners, $55 for the general public, and includes lunch and beverage service as well as extensive handout materials.

For more information or to register, visit www.ncarboretum.org or call (828) 665-2492. The central mission of The North Carolina Arboretum, an affiliate institution of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system, is to cultivate connections between people and plants.

Buncombe County Gas to Energy Project Nearly Complete!

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Buncombe County Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project is nearly complete. The generator, which is powered by landfill gas, will begin producing electricity in September.

The Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project began in 2010 with the installation of additional gas collection wells at the landfill. These wells tap the methane gas that is produced as trash decomposes in the landfill. Instead of releasing this powerful greenhouse gas into our air, which can negatively affect air quality, the wells capture it and divert it to the generator. Creating electricity from this gas reduces the demand for coal or natural gas, which are both non-renewable resources.

The generator at the landfill will produce 1.4 megawatts of electricity for the next several years, enough to power about 1,100 homes per year.

$3 million in federal stimulus grant and loan monies were awarded to Buncombe County, and have mostly funded this green project. The electricity generated will be sold through a joint venture between Progress Energy and French Broad Co-op. The renewable energy credits will be sold to GreenCo Solutions, covering the cost to repay the loan and operate the project and resulting in annual net revenue of at least $200,000 to the County.

Drive Green, Save Green

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – Driving green means adopting a few simple, inexpensive driving habits to decrease the amount of fuel you use and put more money in your pocket.

  1. Get the junk out of your trunk. When you carry extra weight, your vehicle must work harder – use more fuel to move.
  2. Don’t go to low. Check tire pressure once a month and keep tires property inflated and you can save up to a tank of gas a year.
  3. Slow down and save. Every five miles over 60 mph can cost you up to an additional 30 cents a gallon.
  4. Don’t be a jackrabbit. Abrupt starts and hard stops may only save you a few seconds of time but they can increase fuel consumption by 40%.
  5. Change your oil. Changing your oil regularly can result in better gas mileage.
  6. Idling is not ideal. Turn off your engine if you are waiting for more than a couple minutes.
  7. Be smart when you cool. At speeds less than 40 mph, roll down windows; more than 40 mph, use AC.
  8. Use the cruise. Use cruise control for more than 10,000 miles a year and save yourself 60 gallons of fuel.
  9. Let your car breathe. A clogged air filter can cut mileage by 10%.
  10. Don’t drip and drive. Tightening up your fuel cap can prevent leakage of up to 30 gallons of gas a year

Electric Vehicles Are Coming

Friday, April 1st, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – Yes, high speed plug in electric vehicles are on their way!

James Brazell of Asheville, an 84 year old former Texas oil man, just took delivery of perhaps the first Chevy Volt in NC. So in fact, the EVs have already arrived! Get Ready!

Cars on the way include the Nissan LEAF all electric vehicle with a 100 mile range and the Chevy Volt extended range electric vehicle that runs on its battery for 35 miles before switching to a gas-electric hybrid mode with an extended range of 379 miles. Ford is also releasing its Transit Connect in 2011 and Toyota is expected to offer a plug in Prius model in 2012.

The Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition has formed an Asheville Area EV Committee to develop a strategy to promote EVs and install a network of charging stations across the five county metro area. Advanced Energy and Progress Energy have provided technical guidance and conducted three training workshops over the past year. City and county governments and private businesses are involved and proposing sites for public access charging stations. The Clean Vehicles Coalition partnered with Advanced Energy to secure a grant from the State Energy Office that will cost share the installation of 25 Level II charging stations in the region. Site selection is underway and systems should be in place by this fall.

Most charging will be done at home overnight to avoid any strain on the electric grid. But there is a mad scramble across the nation to get ready by installing public access EV charging stations in strategic locations to avoid “range anxiety” by drivers. These stations will allow drivers to “top off” their batteries while at work, shopping centers, major tourist destinations and other locations. Most home chargers will be Level I 120 Volt chargers (about 8-12 hours to recharge a vehicle) or Level II 240 Volt chargers (about 2-8 hours depending on the charger and the vehicle battery capacity). Most public access stations will be Level II chargers (240 Volt). Level 3 DC Fast Chargers (480 Volts) will charge a vehicles battery to 80% charge in about 30 minutes. The Eaton Corporation’s plant just south of Asheville is manufacturing charging systems for distribution across the US. The prospect of using solar PV and other forms of renewable energy to provide or offset the power used in charging EVs is quite exciting. Integrating EV and renewable energy technologies can truly reduce the emissions from these vehicles to zero.

For more information, contact Bill Eaker or Brian Taylor at the Land of Sky Regional Council at 251-6622 or [email protected] or [email protected].

source: Sundance Power Systems March Newsletter

Grove Park Inn Completes Innovative Solar Projects at Sports Complex

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa and FLS Energy of Asheville have completed a project to add solar panels to the resorts modern Sports Complex. The 12 panel solar thermal system at the Sports Complex will provide about 600 gallons of hot water a day for use in the locker rooms.

The project was designed using an innovative solar Power Purchase Agreement, in which FLS Energy built and installed the system on the roof of the complex with no up-front cost to The Grove Park Inn. Grove Park Inn will in turn purchase the thermal energy to heat the water from FLS Energy at a rate equal to 20% less than that of fossil fuels. In addition to the immediate reduction in energy costs, FLS guarantees that the price of the solar energy will not increase for a period of at least 10- 20 years. In other words, in 2020, Grove Park Inn will still be paying the same prices for heating water at the Sports Complex as in 2011.

“We are excited about this latest improvement at our Sports Complex,” said Ronald E. Morin, Vice-President and Managing Director at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. “From an extensive recycling program to providing special parking for alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles, we are committed to converting to as many green practices as possible.” Morin added that not only will this save the resort money in the years to come, more importantly it will help protect the environment. “This project was such a success that it could lead to larger, more extensive solar energy projects at The Grove Park Inn in the future,” said Morin.

Key annual environmental benefits from the project include:
– 7 tons of CO2 avoided per year
– The equivalent of 22 trees planted equivalent per year
– 3 cars taken off the road per year

“FLS Energy is honored to have partnered with Grove Park Inn on this solar project,” said Brownie Newman, Project Finance Director for FLS Energy. “This project demonstrates how businesses can access clean, renewable energy, reduce their operating costs and lock-in low energy prices—all with no upfront cost required.”
For more information, please contact The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa at 800.438.0050 or 828.252.2711; visit www.groveparkinn.com, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ewgrove

New Seating “Goes Green” at Asheville Regional Airport

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – “Our seats are in the upright and eco-friendly position,” reads a sign adjacent to the new gate hold area at Asheville Regional Airport. Asheville Regional Airport replaced its aging passenger seating with new chairs that are the first of their kind in American airports.

“Our passenger seating was in need of replacement, and in our bid process, we looked at a new product that had several positive attributes,” said Lew Bleiweis, airport director. The seating, manufactured by Zoeftig and sold under the brand “inFINITE Seating System,” is made with metal replacement technology, which uses much less energy than steel manufacturing. The environmentally-friendly manufacturing process was appealing to the airport, which is working to implement a more “green” environment over time. “In addition, the product is 100% recyclable, so when the time comes to replace this seating, we won’t be adding unnecessarily to landfills,” added Bleiweis.

But these chairs won’t need to be replaced any time soon. Another positive attribute of this new seating product is its longer life-span compared to other options. The seats are made of a material called “PU,” or urethane plastic, and are colored all the way through, which means the seats will not dull, scratch or fade, allowing for easier maintenance. Also, they won’t wear like traditional upholstery.

Additionally, unlike traditional airport chairs that are permanently connected to one another in various configurations which makes rearranging seating patterns difficult, the new seating system is completely modular. Seats can easily be reconfigured as new needs arise, which saves money and increases efficiency.

“We try to plan for the future in all decisions, and our choice of passenger seating is no different. Replacing 400 chairs is costly, and we feel very good about the decision to ‘go green,’ as well as to choose seating that will last,” said Bleiweis. “We’re the first airport in the United States to choose this product, and we feel we’re setting a good example in the industry.”

Jason Plaisted, Delta passenger visiting Western North Carolina from upstate New York, couldn’t agree more. “I noticed the chairs when I arrived at the airport – they’re different,” he said. And then he learned that the seating is an environmentally-responsible choice, and he was impressed. “I drive a Prius, and am a huge fan of anything ‘green.’ I didn’t know airports had such a thing as ‘green’ chairs, and I’m glad to see them. Whatever you can do to help save the environment is phenomenal.”

The new airport seating is one of the last installments associated with the renovation of the terminal, which opened to passengers in October 2010.

Celebrating its 50th year as an economic anchor organization in the region, Asheville Regional Airport is dedicated to advocating for needed routes and competitive fares for the air travelers in Western North Carolina. To compare fares, book a trip or to learn more, visit www.flyavl.com.

Panel Highlights WNC Craft Organizations Modeling Green and Sustainable Practices

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – Modeling “green” and sustainable approaches to craft while producing beautiful and meaningful works will be the focus of a moderated panel discussion at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, at UNC Asheville’s Owen Hall, 3rd floor conference center.

The event, sponsored by UNC Asheville’s Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD), highlights two WNC organizations – EnergyXchange of Burnsville, and Jackson County Green Energy Park of Dillsboro – that use methane gas captured from adjacent landfills, solar energy, and other sustainable practices to fuel the studios of potters, glassblowers and blacksmiths, as well as greenhouses.

The panel, moderated by Dee Eggers, associate professor of environmental studies at UNC Asheville, includes Dan Asher, executive director of EnergyXchange; Tim Muth, executive director of Jackson County Green Energy Park; glass and metal artist Hayden Wilson, artist in residence at Jackson County Green Energy Park; and potter William Baker, artist in residence at EnergyXchange.

Jackson County Green Energy Park, Dillsboro, N.C.”Craft media are not all inherently ‘green,'” says CCCD Executive Director Stephanie Moore. “So it is important to highlight these two organizations that are pioneers of environmental sustainability and also have business models that are pertinent to the 21st century.”

Both EnergyXchange (EE) and Jackson County Green Energy Park (JCGEP) use methane gas from capped landfills along with other alternative energy sources to fuel their artistic tools – ceramic kilns, glass furnaces and blacksmithing workstations – and power working greenhouses. These organizations serve as business incubators for the artists in residence, working as partners with local businesses and county governments to use these renewable resources to provide economic development as well as business learning opportunities.

EnergyXchange, Burnsville, N.C.CCCD is bringing attention to these two unique and forward-thinking organizations through this panel discussion and with its current exhibit, “WNC Models of Sustainability in Craft Making,” on view through April 22. Artists featured from JCGEP are: Clayton Hufford (glass), Hayden Wilson (glass & metal), Julie Boisseau (mixed media) and Laurey Masterton (glass). Artists in residence featured from EE are: Lisa Gluckin (clay), Joy Tanner (clay), Michael Hatch (glass), and William Baker (clay).

The mission of the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design is to advance the understanding of craft by encouraging and supporting research, scholarship and professional development. The Center is located 5 miles west of Hendersonville at 1181 Broyles Road adjacent to the UNC Asheville Kellogg Center. Gallery hours are noon- 5 p.m. weekdays. Visitors are invited to walk the Perry N. Rudnick one-mile nature and public art trail following a visit to the exhibition in the Craft Center galleries. For more information see www.craftcreativitydesign.org or call 828.890.2050.

Go Green With Your Pets

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – A fun and easy way to start going green begins with your family pets. Here’s a few tips from fellow pet lovers:

  • Dogs and cats love to play with the cardboard cores from paper towel and toilet paper rolls.
  • Parrots and birds love to shred old newspaper put in their cages, and it also serves to collect discarded food and refuse.
  • Recycle older pet toys, collars and leashes to a local animal shelter or rescue group. Stray and abandoned animals will not be picky about the quality, as long as the items are safe and functional.
  • Feline Pine® makes cat litter from renewable Southern yellow pine and natural guaranteed and is 100% biodegradable.
  • Yesterday’s News® makes cat litters that utilize recycled newspaper to create safe, odor controlling pellets that are low tracking and environmentally friendly. Use traditional, non-clumping cat litter to ease the landfill.
  • Cleaning with organic and natural cleaners is another simple way to help the environment and the welfare of your pets – vinegar, water and baking soda can do wonders.
  • When you walk your dog, bring along a plastic grocery bag to pick up trash and recyclables along the way. You’ll feel better inside and out, and Mother Earth will certainly thank you.