Regional Green News

 Regional Green News

Here you will find the latest environmental oriented news for WNC and the Southeast. We will udpate this information every week as new and exciting initiatives take place across our region. Of course if you have information you wish to share then please email us at

Monday April 29th, 2013

A Really Cool Net Zero Energy Home in the North Carolina Mountains

Amy Musser has a PhD in Architectural Engineering and, like me, used to be a college professor. Her husband, Matthew Vande, is an architect with an MS in Architectural Engineering. He is also a treehugger. Together, they founded Vandemusser Design, a firm that provides green design, certification, and consulting. They walk the talk, having designed, built, and moved into their net zero energy home in Asheville, North Carolina...

I travel up to the North Carolina mountains and hope to visit their place on one of my trips this year. Of course, this is news to them, since I haven't asked them yet. Nothing like publicly inviting yourself to someone's home, right? The photo below shows the front of their home in its natural habitat. (As far as I know, it never leaves that habitat, but with a net zero home, you just never know.)

Full Article at:

Tuesday April 16th, 2013

$5 for Recycling Vehicle/Marine Batteries...

 AAA Carolinas offers $5 to recycle old batteries April 16, 2013 04:05 EDT CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- AAA Carolinas is offering people in North Carolina and South Carolina $5 for any old automobile or marine batteries they turn during the remainder of April. The organization's Great Battery Roundup is held each year in conjunction with Earth Day. AAA Carolinas says it is willing to pay $5 apiece for old batteries to discourage illegal dumping and encourage recycling. The organization has collected more than 150,000 old batteries in the past three years. AAA Carolinas says to get the money, the batteries must be brought in to one of the group's 33 AAA Car Care Centers or 56 approved auto repair shops across the Carolinas by the end of April.

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Thursday January 17, 2013

Sustainability Offers Promise of Long-term Profit for NC Businesses

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Going green and making green can go hand in hand, as some North Carolina businesses are finding out. New Belgium Brewery is a business new to the state that is making sustainability a priority from day one. It is one of 125 businesses that have committed to greener practices through the N.C. Sustainability Center. This new organization has a goal of establishing North Carolina as a leader in sustainability.

Jenn Vervier is the director of sustainability for New Belgium Brewery. The Colorado-based company is opening up a brewery in Asheville in 2015.

"We believe that we are more successful because of our sustainability, rather in spite of it. In some cases, we may spend more money. We believe that we reap higher return in the long run."

Vervier says that the Asheville area's commitment to sustainability is one of the things that attracted the brewery to the state. The N.C. Sustainability Center says other businesses will come to the state for the same reason if communities continue to make greener practices a part of their everyday lives.

Harrington Bank, based in Chapel Hill, is another business participating in the N.C. Sustainability Center program. Branch manager Lori Eichel says incorporating sustainability practices goes hand-in-hand with the bank's overall goals for the community.

"We're client-focused, so it wasn't such a big jump from that to a really deep involvement within the community we serve, and sustainability was another component of that."

The N.C. Sustainability Center is also developing an economic developer's guide to sustainability.

Link to Article...

Monday December 17, 2012...

Energy Department Announces $20 Million to Integrate Concentrating Solar Power Systems with Fossil Fuel Plants


As part of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Energy Department today announced $20 million in new funding that will help integrate <font>concentrating solar power</font> (CSP) systems with fossil fuel power plants. These hybrid systems leverage the infrastructure of fossil fuel plants such as turbine and transmission systems, helping to reduce the cost of solar-generated electricity and bring CSP plants online quicker. Today, between 11 gigawatts and 21 gigawatts of CSP could be built and integrated into existing fossil fuel plants in the United States, enough to power to between 3 million and 6 million homes.

The new funding announced today strives to overcome near-term market and technological barriers for cost-effective CSP hybrid system implementation. Additionally, CSP hybrid technology may help enable further cost reductions in stand-alone CSP projects and spur innovations across the broader concentrating solar power supply chain. The projects selected for funding under this program will work to design, build, and test cost-competitive integrated CSP-fossil fuel power generating systems.

The Energy Department seeks applications from industry, universities, and national laboratories. A total of up to $20 million is available for two to four projects under this solicitation. During the two- to four-year performance period, selected projects must pass reviews to continue advancing from the design phase through the construction and evaluation phases. Awardees are also required to provide 75% of the total project cost. For more information, see the CSP Heat Integration for Baseload Renewable Energy Development <font>Funding Opportunity Announcement (CSP HIBRED FOA)</font>.

The Energy Department's <font>Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy</font> (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.

The Department's <font>SunShot Initiative</font> is a collaborative national effort to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade. Inspired by President Kennedy's "Moon Shot" program that put the first man on the moon, the SunShot Initiative has created new momentum for the solar industry by highlighting the need for American competitiveness in the clean energy race.


Tuesday November 27, 2012...

New organization to address sustainability & economic competitiveness in NC

RALEIGH, NC - The North Carolina Sustainability Center (NCSC) announced it will hold a launch party this week to promote the new nonprofit organization and share news about its plans for the future.  On Thursday, Nov. 29, business executives, entrepreneurs, and community leaders will attend a fundraising and networking reception hosted by NCSC.  Clean energy investment fund Cherokee will host the event at its ‘green’ headquarters in downtown Raleigh.

NCSC describes sustainability as meeting the ‘triple bottom line’ of people, planet, and profit. “As a business owner, I’ve seen firsthand how sustainability can create new entrepreneurial opportunities,” said Maria Kingery, chair of the NCSC board. “Sustainability represents both new industries and the evolution of existing industries, and North Carolina has an opportunity to be a leader in those industries.”  Kingery is president of renewable energy company Southern Energy Management.  The 15-member NCSC board also includes representatives from Bank of America, Cisco, and the City of Charlotte, as well as nonprofits, foundations, universities, and community colleges.

Katie Kross directs NCSC’s daily operations as president of the organization.  “Sustainability is not only about preserving our environmental and cultural assets,” Kross said.  “It’s about making North Carolina’s businesses and communities more competitive.  It’s a means for attracting top-tier companies to the state.”

Kross is not a typical environmentalist.  She holds an MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.  It was at business school, in fact, that Kross was introduced to sustainability as an approach to corporate strategy. After her MBA, Kross managed the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at Kenan-Flagler and then helped create the Center for Energy, Development and the Global Environment at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

NCSC’s aim is to make the link between sustainability and economic opportunity more explicit by showcasing success stories and market opportunities.  “We want to help North Carolina industry leaders and decision-makers see sustainability as a means to growth in the global clean economy,” Kross said.  The organization plans to publish industry research, hold events, and serve as a clearinghouse for sustainability news and information.

At the launch event, NCSC will also announce the release of a statement from over 100 businesses across the state in support of North Carolina’s sustainability efforts.  The statement, which is published on NCSC’s website this week, asserts, “Sustainability has helped our state consistently rank as a leader in terms of quality of life and business opportunity.” Signatories include large corporations like Duke Energy, SAS, and Ingersoll Rand, as well as well-respected local firms like Harrington Bank, Eastern Carolina Organics, and Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants & Hotels.  “These companies are thinking about the long term,” Kross said.  “Communities that preserve social and environmental resources are places where their employees want to work.”

“We hope to do for sustainability what the NC Biotech Center has done for biotechnology in North Carolina,” Kingery adds. “This is an opportunity to really put North Carolina on the map.”

 CONTACT: Katie Kross, 919-932-7872,


Monday November 5, 2012...

A Santa Fe, N.M., company says it is asking the state government in North Carolina to approve plans for a large solar power generation project.

Amenergy Inc. hopes to install more than 90,000 solar panels on six tracts of private land at the Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville. The plant will be capable of producing more than 21 megawatts of electricity for sale to regional power provider Progress Energy.

Amenergy managing partner Bill Oglesby tells the Santa Fe New Mexican ( ) for a story in Sunday's editions that the project has been under development for about two years.

Oglesby says officials in North Carolina might hold public hearings as the project moves through the local permitting process. It would rival the state's largest existing solar installations if completed.

Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican,

Source provided by WLOS ABC 13