Who we are:
This committee promotes energy conservation and renewable energy through public policy, planned events and organized actions.
What we do:
- Education – The need for renewables and conservation promoted through publications in local media, forums, alerts on local policy issues, and ECO’s web site and blog.
- Earth Day Energy Expo – On a Saturday, near the traditional Earth Day (April 22), ECO coordinates an Energy Expo at Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock. The event is intended to educate the public on current energy issues, both globally and locally. Over 200 people attended the Expo held on Saturday, April 25, 2009. The event included: 20 commercial and organization exhibits including about 30 student projects, 6 alternate fuel vehicles, and Steve Smith of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy was Keynote Speaker. Additionally 4 workshops and other lectures were held. 2010 is the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day and ECO is gearing up for a big celebration. Stay tuned.
- Green Home Tour – The Second Green Home Tour was a self-guided tour of the finest green homes in the region that was held on August 22, 2009. The tour featured homes in Henderson and Buncombe counties that showcased the highest level of green technology that work in concert with nature. Many of the homes featured solar installations, radiant heating, water conservation measures and native gardens.
- Project Green Light – ECO’s outreach to help homeowners achieve conservation. Project Green Light works with local churches so their members can become better stewards of creation. By participating in workshops and home energy inspections, congregations of faith can take substantial steps towards lowering their carbon footprint and demonstrating to other residents how to become better stewards of our natural heritage.
- Downtown Hendersonville Going Green – ECO’s in coordination with Downtown Hendersonville Inc. and Waste Reduction Partners (WRP) is working with downtown Hendersonville businesses to improve conservation.
You can make a difference!
The Energy Committee meets on the second Thursday of every month at 4:00 pm at the ECO office.
Greening of Downtown
GREEN IDEAS FOR A SUSTAINABLE GREEN DOWNTOWN
1) What does being Green really mean?
- the focus of this discussion will be how a business community turns from brown to green
- being green includes both how the business is run, how it sources its products and services, the building envelope and what it does with its waste
- want to dispel the notion that being green means higher overhead, greater expense with little in return
- being green will not only have a dramatic effect on costs of operations, make an impact being a better steward of this precious place (which is presumably why the customer/tourist is here), but will also help market the business or downtown community
2) Taking Some Big Green Steps
I – Making the business more energy efficient
- energy audit (George on WRP and possible savings)
- typical steps businesses can take (owner or lessee) and anticipated savings (windows, insulation, doorways, lighting, HVAC systems)
- larger Green possibilities using renewal energy
II – Sourcing products from local/regional community
- Buying local from local artisans, vendors
III – Minimizing packaging- talking with distributors about how packaging could be eliminated or reduced
IV – Limiting bags- Create a Downtown shopping bag, ask everyone if they need a bag before offering one
V – Recycling: Establishing a Pooled arrangement on Mixed Paper and Cardboard
- Audit paper/cardboard use and create a cooperative agreement to share the costs
VI – Encourage walking rather than driving
3) Resources To Take Action
- ECO is happy to be a resource to help the downtown community take steps in any of these areas
- Contact WRP to schedule energy audits
- Contact the Green Building Council on steps that can be taken and resource available toward greater energy efficiency
- Participate in the Green Workshops at BRCC
3) Certification and Awards for Excellence
ECO is beginning a GREEN CHESTNUT AWARD to local businesses who have taken the biggest steps towards lowering their energy footprint and becoming good stewards
A point system will be established to help provide guidance on steps businesses can take towards making progress
Mintel has forecasted that green products will experience 19% growth through 2012. (Ask retailers to name other product categories they carry that are poised to experience 20% growth over the next few years.)
According to a recent poll conducted by the Global Strategy Group, 87 per cent of consumers are more likely to buy products from a retailer that is committed to environmentally sound practices. (This is an old report, I think, and I can’t track it down from the source, Global Strategy Group. Just a bunch of sites that cite it. Use at your discretion.)
Roughly 34 per cent of American consumers indicate they are more likely to buy environmentally responsible products today, and another 44 per cent indicate their environmental shopping habits have not changed as a result of the economy. Eight per cent say they are less likely to buy. This is according to the results of the 2009 Cone Consumer Environmental Survey. (you have to sign up online to see the study — I did and am attaching the .pdf here. Good stats about “green attitudes” of shoppers despite the economy.)
And 4 out of 5 people say they are still buying green products and services today – which sometimes cost more – even in the midst of a U.S. recession, according to a study commissioned by Green Seal and EnviroMedia Social Marketing.