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Student Documentary Highlights Ciĕl as a Sustainable Development

Monday, September 7th, 2009


ASHEVILLE, NC – Sustainable energy has been declared a key initiative of the European Union by the Czech Republic, the current holder of the E.U. presidency. With this focus, the E.U. solicited assistance from the United States Department of State in identifying and highlighting the most innovative sustainable projects in the U.S. Ciĕl was honored to be selected as a potential featured project, as only a few projects were chosen.

Rich Beckman, the Knight Chair of Visual Journalism at the University of Miami, worked with journalism students to create a documentary that highlights Ciĕl.

City of Asheville Saves $65,000 on Electricity Costs

Friday, August 21st, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – Shutting down computers, turning off lights and changing work schedules. Those are some of the strategies the city of Asheville used to save more than $65,000 in energy costs last year. The city implemented these and other programs by challenging employees to find ways they could save energy on their own.

“A little goes a long way. We had hundreds of city employees taking the extra step to conserve energy and participate in our sustainability programs,” said Maggie Ullman, the city’s energy coordinator.

The results paid off. Over the last year, the city reduced its municipal energy usage by 867,000 kilowatt hours, which is the same amount of energy it takes to operate City Hall for six months. As a result, the city reduced its municipal carbon footprint by 623 tons.

The city points to three key sustainability programs as major contributors to the organization’s success during the last year: the compressed work week, an automatic computer shutdown program, and the employee energy conservation challenge.

* The compressed work week, where employees typically work four ten hour days as opposed to a traditional five-day week, was first piloted in the Public Works Department and soon spread to other divisions. The schedule allows the city to realize energy savings by utilizing buildings, computers and other equipment 25 percent less. It also reduces the carbon footprint associated with employees commuting to work. About 180 city employees currently work a compressed schedule.,/p>

* The computer shutdown program utilizes software to automatically turn off more than 500 city computers at 8 p.m. to reduce energy usage.

* The energy conservation challenge encouraged employees to voluntarily reduce energy usage wherever possible. Simple acts like turning off lights when rooms were not in use and adjusting thermostats made an impact, especially in smaller facilities like community centers and fire stations.

As part of its strategic plan for the city, the Asheville City Council included a focus area on green initiatives, stating, “Asheville will be the southeastern leader in clean energy and environmental sustainability while preserving and enhancing the city’s natural beauty.” In April 2007, City Council adopted a goal of reducing the municipal carbon footprint by 2 percent every year. Staff conducts an annual energy inventory to track the organization’s progress on energy usage.

Asheville will use a Sustainability Management Plan adopted by City Council in June to guide ongoing efforts to further reduce energy consumption. To view Asheville’s Sustainability Management Plan or for information on other city sustainability programs, visit www.ashevillenc.gov/green.

Hilton Asheville to Open with Major Step Toward Eco-stewardship

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Hilton Asheville, scheduled to open this August, is one of the first major hotels in the United States to take a considerable step toward sustainability. For evidence of the Hilton Asheville’s unique commitment to eco-stewardship, you need only to look up. Atop the Hilton is one of the nation’s first hotel solar water heating systems. This system will be one of the largest installations in the Western North Carolina region.

Water throughout the hotel, including the pool, will be solar heated, eliminating twenty-five tons of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of planting 7,377 trees. Here guests can feel good about relaxing in one of the Hilton’s Whirlpool Tubs or taking a dip in the heated saline pool. Moreover, the solar water heating system is just one of the hotel’s many environmentally focused features.

The 165-room hotel is set in the heart of Biltmore Park Town Square, the largest mixed-use district outside of the city’s downtown. The Hilton Asheville was built to blend green practices with the Hilton’s acclaimed commitment to guest comfort, and was designed to LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards from the Green Building Council. LEED certification is based on numerous metrics including energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

Committed to the stewardship of its natural surroundings, the Hilton will reduce water usage by 30% through the installation of low-flow toilets, showerheads and sink fixtures. The hotel will also focus on reducing energy consumption by using ENERGY STAR qualified CFL light bulbs, which use up to 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. Each kilowatt-hour saved preserves one pound of coal. The Hilton Asheville will also employ a recycling program for both guests and employees to further reduce raw materials, energy and air pollution. Select staff will even wear uniforms made out of regenerated plastic bottles.

Promoting lower emissions is also part of the hotel’s sustainability efforts. Guests may accept shuttle service in an alternative fuel shuttle, which reduces the burning of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter. The hotel will offer preferred parking for energy efficient hybrid vehicles. Additionally, guests may choose to bicycle as an alternative to driving, ultimately reducing the use of gasoline and the production of carbon monoxide.

The Hilton Asheville is proof that eco-conscious travel can come packed with amenities. Hilton houses spacious and inviting executive suites complete with luxurious bathrooms – some featuring Infinity Edge Whirlpool Tubs. Businesses committed to green travel will be attracted to the hotel’s state-of-the-art meeting facilities, 4,500 square feet of meeting space and green meeting policies that avoid the use of linens when possible.

The hotel is also home to Sparrow Spa, a plush destination spa featuring a full menu of relaxing services. The spa will exclusively use Eminence Organic Skin Care products, a European line that contains the highest possible levels of all-natural organically grown herbs, fruits and vegetables. The hotel’s ultra-modern fitness center features Precor equipment and an indoor lap pool and whirlpool. Traveling foodies will enjoy the gourmet stylings of Executive Chef Randy Dunn, who brings 15 years of culinary achievement to Roux, the on-site full service restaurant. The restaurant is making an effort to use as much local food as possible as part of the hotel’s place-making commitment.

Hilton Asheville is located just off Interstate 26, Exit 37 on Long Shoals Road in Biltmore Park Town Square. This location is just 5 minutes from the Asheville Regional Airport and 15 minutes from Biltmore Estate and downtown Asheville. The Blue Ridge Parkway is just minutes away, along with many other attractions in the Great Smoky Mountains. The Hilton is just steps from major national retailers and restaurants including P.F. Chang’s, Barnes and Noble and REI.

Pre-opening information about the Hilton Asheville, Biltmore Park Town Square is available at 828-210-8290. Guest reservations are currently accepted on www.ashevillebiltmorepark.hilton.com or through a travel professional.

Appalachian State University and Google Host ‘Green Economy’ Forum

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

BOONE, NC – A free forum, ‘Re-Powering Our Region: Building Profit by Being Green,’ will be held at the Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir Friday, Aug. 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The event is sponsored by Appalachian State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Commission of Caldwell County and Google. Space is limited. To register, visit www.business.appstate.edu/realworld or call 828-262-7747.

The forum will feature keynote speaker Harry Wingo, policy counsel in Google’s Washington, D.C., office where he focuses on cybersecurity, energy and other issues. Wingo will discuss Google’s clean energy vision with his talk “Smart Grids: Building the Energy Internet.” The information will address how consumers and businesses can benefit from this emerging technology, which will help transform the nation’s energy usage.

The day-long event also will feature expert panelists who will discuss responsible energy use, local and global perspectives on the green economy, the area’s existing green business and various resources for education and economic development.

The event is designed to connect business leaders, entrepreneurs, educators and policymakers to create a more sustainable economic future for the region. Participants will increase their awareness of substantial savings available through new technologies and education in today’s energy market.

“We are pleased to partner with Appalachian and our community in helping lead the way in educating both businesses and consumers in the green industry,” said CCC&TI President Ken Boham. “Through this forum, we hope to increase awareness among local leaders and have further conversations on why it is important for the community to embrace this initiative and how we can work together to help bring more jobs and opportunities to the area.”

Asheville Teenagers Take Paint Brushes to Graffiti Walls

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Asheville Greenworks

ASHEVILLE, NC – Asheville teenagers, armed with paint brushes, headed to the Riverside Drive business district last Friday in search of walls decorated with graffiti. These teenagers had something special in mind. It was to begin a restoration of several vandalized warehouse walls as a service project.

Thirty-five homeschooled athletes, who are members of the Western Carolina Athletic Association, descended upon the downtown river district Friday with their “paint kits,” obtained from Asheville Greenworks. “We are determined as an organization to make an impact on the Buncombe county community since we have been so blessed with the area’s resources in our homeschooling efforts,” said Kathy Kania, WCAA’s historian.

Asheville Greenworks provides Graffiti Removal Kits, which include paint, painting supplies and graffiti removal to neighborhoods and businesses that have been vandalized, for use in restoring vandalized property. Asheville Greenworks has also teamed up with the Asheville Police Department and Asheville-Buncombe CrimeStoppers to offer a $200 reward per tip that leads to a graffiti vandalism arrest. If you have a tip about graffiti vandalism, call CrimeStoppers at (828) 255-5050. All Buncombe county residents are encouraged to get involved in the Graffiti Prevention Program and can obtain kits by emailing [email protected].

Riverlink Hosts "Rockin’ RiverFest" on Saturday

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – RiverLink hosts its annual Rockin’ RiverFest Saturday, including a Raft Race, Kids’ Parade, Music Showcase & Competition, local food and beer, vendors, arts performances and recreational activities.

The festivities begin at 11 a.m. at the French Broad River Park with a Kids Parade for ages 12 and younger who can decorate their bikes, rollerblades or skateboards.

Surprise judges will award prizes to kids for their creativity and green means of transportation. After the parade, there will be fun activities including face painting and hula hooping.

The Music Showcase & Competition sponsored by 98.1 the River and the Musician’s Workshop starts at noon with local area bands competing for Best Band and Wild Wing’s Choice.

For more information including raft race registration, parking information and free shuttles and schedule of events, please visit www.riverlink.org.

Asheville Greenworks Holds Fundraiser

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009


ASHEVILLE, NC – Please join Asheville Greenworks for the first annual Pritchard Park Fundraiser with Live and Silent Auctions, celebrating the 77th birthday of Pritchard Park.

The event will take place on Friday, July 31, 2009 6:30-9:30pm at the S&W, Ellington Room, 56 Patton Ave. Tickets are $75 for single and $125 for couples.

Enjoy beverages and hors d’oeuvres while considering a unique collection of great silent auction items. Join in the live auction beginning at 7:30pm. All proceeds benefit the beautification, greening, summer entertainment program and holiday festivities for Pritchard Park.

This event is sponsored by The Friends of Pritchard Park, Downtown Asheville Residential Neighbors (DARN), and Asheville GreenWorks.

New Green Weddings Program Unveiled at NC Arboretum

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009


ASHEVILLE, NC – It’s one of the most treasured moments of your life. Make it more meaningful by choosing one of the most beautiful natural settings in America as your wedding site. And, make another choice-make it “green.” Extend your celebration of love for each other to the natural world by reducing your wedding event’s carbon footprint on the earth.

Located just outside Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 393, the North Carolina Arboretum is nestled in the Southern Appalachian region – one of the most botanically diverse areas in the world. With more than 65 acres of cultivated gardens and 10 miles of forested hiking and biking trails, the Arboretum shows how plants are important to our world. The Arboretum property and facilities offer excellent lessons in sustainability through its green architectural practices, sustainable garden areas, natural products, water conservation and recycling.

The Arboretum’s Green Wedding Program offers elegantly designed green buildings and lush, sustainable landscapes as sites for ceremonies and receptions. Couples will follow guidelines for using organically grown and natural products as part of their wedding and pledge to a reduce consumable products as part of their activities.

Green weddings and receptions are offered Friday-Sunday evenings after 5 pm, April – October.

For more information about the Arboretum’s Green Wedding Program, including fees and restrictions, call Cindy Blankenship at 828-665-2492, Ext. 216 or Angie Chandler, 828-665-2492, Ext. 217.

Local Conservation Group Opens Nominations for Conservation Award

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Grandfather Mountain

ASHEVILLE, NC – Local conservation group Wild South has opened nominations for the second annual Roosevelt-Ashe Society’s Conservation Awards.

The award seeks to honor often unsung heroes for their work to protect the southeast’s wild places.

Nominations are being accepted for Outstanding Educator, Outstanding Philanthropist, Outstanding Volunteer, Outstanding Business and Outstanding Youth.

Nomination forms will be accepted online at www.wildsouth.org until Aug. 15. The award recipients will be honored at an Oct. 2 Green Tie Gala in downtown Asheville.

Asheville’s Rose Hill Plantation Offering Single Family Homes in Green Community

Friday, June 26th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – Rose Hill Plantation, Asheville’s first single family thoughtfully planned "Healthy Living Community," is bursting with green. A focal point of life at Rose Hill Plantation is the community garden which allows residents to choose a raised garden bed and grow their own vegetables, fruits and flowers. The garden plots are one of several sustainable features that support the community’s dedication to fostering an invigorating, healthy, and sustainable lifestyle for active adults. The homes are built to the Western North Carolina Green Building Council standards.

These are new homes in Asheville, NC. And additional green focused amenities include alternative power choices, rainwater collection programs, energy and resource efficient appliances, walking trails and dedicated areas with benches for bird watching, a Clubhouse including a fitness center, a swimming pool and spa, a media room and a tennis court, as well as a stocked lake for fishing. In addition, the community will feature a Healthy Living Manager to help plan community events and outreach programs.

For a limited time, ready to move-in two and three bedroom homes at Rose Hill Plantation, or new built homes are priced from $279,900 representing a price savings of 15% or more. In addition owners can enjoy a $5,000 move-in decorator allowance on any existing new built home.

For more information, the Sales Center at Rose Hill Plantation is now open and new homes and model homes may be previewed. The Clubhouse, swimming pool and spa, and walking trails are complete, and also under construction, scheduled for opening later this summer, is the tennis court and a unique "Green Showcase Model Home" where homebuyers can preview green friendly upgrades that can be added to any new home prior to construction. These upgrades are designed to enhance the healthy environment, contribute to energy cost savings and help reduce carbon emissions.

To visit Rose Hill Plantation call the sales office at: 828.337.2212 or register
www.rosehillplantation.net. The Sales Office is open seven days a week and is located at 3041 Leicester Hwy. (Hwy. 63) Leicester, NC 28748