Sustainability

Catawba Sustainability Center
12:16 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Resurrecting The American Chestnut Tree

American Chestnut trees used make up twenty-five percent of the Appalachian forest.  A blight, in the early 1900s changed that, and today they’re all but gone from the forests from Georgia to Maine. 

But the tree left us a way to resurrect it from the dead, and with it, a kind of message:  Only with the help of human beings will the towering Chestnuts return. 

"I was raised here in the valley and when I started hunting, about 1960 or so there were still these old gray giant trunks standing in the woods," says Carl Absher a semi-retired forester from the Catawba Valley.  

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Conservation & Efficiency
4:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Federal Lawmakers Tackle Energy Efficiency

This week the U-S Senate is expected to have a debate on a bill that would modernize the federal government's use of energy, but it could get derailed by an oil pipeline in the Midwest.

The federal government is the single biggest consumer of energy in the U-S, so a bipartisan group of lawmakers want to make it an example to the private sector.

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Part 3 of 5
12:39 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Going Green? Cost is a Primary Concern in VA

Despite concerns about climate change, Virginia’s largest electric utility still generates more than half of its electricity from fossil fuels, and by 2027 Dominion Power expects to get  nearly 60% of its power from coal and gas. 

The state’s other electric utility, Appalachian Power, is also big on carbon-based fuel.  By 2020, parent company AEP says 79% of its power will come from burning coal and gas. 

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Part 4 of 5
12:39 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Going Green? VA Called the 'Dark State' of Solar

Credit Secure Futures

Critics say Virginia lags behind neighboring states in the development of wind and solar power, in part because lawmakers are influenced by two monopolies – Dominion and Appalachian Power. 

It’s more profitable for them to stay with fossil fuels and nuclear power, and the state requires them to keep prices down, but supporters of renewable energy say lawmakers are coming around. 

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Designed to Save Money
4:00 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Passivhaus & Energy Efficiency

The Specht House in Thaxton, VA
Credit www.jetsongreen.com

According to Virginia Dominion Power the average monthly residential electric bill in the state is $119.82 a month. 

With the deep temperatures of winter and depending on our heat source we can find bills for a single month two to three times that amount.

But there's a method of home construction that for one homeowner has cut their electric bill by more than half the state average.

“Our typical energy bill is actually as low as $40 to as high as $62 to $65 so far. Our annual energy usage is so much lower than a standard home’s”  

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