Articles from the BSC Library Sustainability in Communities Articles

  • HABITAT CHARLOTTE TO INSTALL 550 SOLAR PANELS

    December 11, 2013

    Photo: Phil Prince/Habitat Charlotte Solar power is taking off in a big way in North Carolina. Now Habitat Charlotte, which has already made a strong commitment to green building, is getting in on the act. Charlotte Business Journal reports that the non-profit is installing 550 photovoltaic panels on its roof in an effort to cut carbon emissions and reduce its reliance on the energy grid:  The solar panels are expected to generate 137,500 kilowatt-hours annually. Work started this week, says Habitat Charlotte spokesman Phil Prince. A private investor is underwriting the project. Habitat Charlotte’s main office is on 3815 Latrobe Drive, off… Read More

  • EXPLORING CLIMATE RESILIENCE FOR THE CAROLINAS

    October 31, 2013

    Photo: betancourt/Creative Commons  As anyone who has survived a hurricane knows, weather is a source of considerable risk. And given that weather is governed by climate, scientists' warnings of dramatic climate change should usher in, at the very least, a notion of uncertainty for communities and businesses alike. North Carolina businesses are starting to get it. Uncertainty, from a business perspective, is an uncomfortable notion. From physical risks like a changing hydrological cycle and sea level rise, to reputational risks, it’s looking like an increasingly tangible reality. Businesses, communities, society, agriculture, and policy makers need to understand the climate, what… Read More

  • UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL INNOVATION ACROSS OUR STATE

    October 20, 2013

    Photo: Selena N.B.H./Creative Commons What's the link between erecting solar panels and increasing employee education? What does supporting local fisheries have to do with donating to charity? It's easy to look at social responsibility or philanthropic efforts as individual acts of doing good, of course, but they are also examples of what's known as social innovation. And it appears that social innovation is on the rise.   Stanford’s Center for Social Innovation defines the term as follows: “A social innovation is a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than present solutions and… Read More

  • LOWES SPONSORS ENERGY EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENTS IN DURHAM

    September 30, 2013

    Photo: Rebuilding Together of the Triangle While there's much talk of a solar boom in North Carolina, it's easy to forget that much of the sustainability challenge lies not in new clean tech, but in the relatively low-tech, unsexy challenge of upgrading our existing housing stock. From weather stripping to insulation to repairing leaky doors and windows, some simple improvements can offer a great return on investment - both in terms of dollars saved and emissions slashed.  Home improvement giant Lowes is doing its part on this front, partnering with Rebuilding Together of the Triangle to offer energy efficiency upgrades for… Read More

  • A CELEBRATION OF PEPPERS, FARMERS, CHEFS AND ABUNDANCE

    September 25, 2013

    Photo: Jon Young/The Abundance Foundation For the past six years The Abundance Foundation, a non-profit based in Pittsboro, has celebrated all things local and sustainable by putting on the Pepper Festival.  Featuring pepper-related cuisine - both savory and sweet - as well as spicy hot pepper beer from some of the region's finest restaurants, cafes, bars and breweries - the event attracts a broad cross-section of the local foodie community. There's music throughout the day - with this year's bands being Big Fat Gap, Loamlands, and Steph Stewart & the Boyfriends. And there are interactive displays about local agriculture, renewable… Read More

  • CAN COMMUNITY SUPPORTED FISHERIES REVIVE SMALL-SCALE FISHING?

    September 18, 2013

    Photo: Core Sound Seafood North Carolina's coast has a long tradition of small-scale fishing.  But a globalized economy, pressure from coastal tourism development, rising fuel costs and competition from industrial-scale fishing operations have all meant that many family owned fishing operations have struggled or had to close down. All is not lost, however, and a number of fishing operations are experimenting with new and innovative ways to get their fish to market and still make a profit. Similar to the subscription-based Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs which have helped sustain and revive many family farms across America, Core Sound Seafood… Read More

  • AUDUBON NC PARTNERS WITH PRIVATE LANDOWNERS TO PROTECT RARE BIRD

    August 29, 2013

    Photo: Dominic Sherony/creative commons Too often, the relationship between conservationists and private landowners is framed as one of conflict. Yet landowners often have both an ethical and an economic intense interest in protecting the resources on their property, and conservationists have an interest in finding common ground - ensuring that their recommendations are actually implemented.  A new initiative from Audubon NC hopes to capitalize on this shared interest, working with 77 major private landowners in Western North Carolina in an effort to protect and improve habitat for the golden winged warbler, which has seen its numbers rapidly decline in recent… Read More

  • CHARLOTTE’S LIGHT RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE BECOMES A MARKETING ASSET

    July 22, 2013

    Visit the homepage of TreeHugger this week, and you may well see a video advertisment for engineering multinational Siemens, which champions the investments that Charlotte has made in new light rail infrastructure. Based on the long-form documentary above, and created as part of the corporation's Sustainable Cities campaign, the slot highlights the potential for light rail and other sustainable infrastructure to not just cut emissions, but reinvigorate a community and reinvent its image for the outside world.  It's a trend we see repeated elsewhere. When Raleigh embraced clean energy and electric vehicle infrastructure, it attracted major national conferences and international… Read More

  • HOW RALEIGH EMBRACED THE ELECTRIC CAR

    July 8, 2013

    When African civil society leaders toured Raleigh to learn more about sustainability initiatives, the city's electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure was one of the highlights. Working with the Rocky Mountain Institute, the city has installed 29 charging stations (EVSEs) which include 18 public charging stations and 11 fleet charging stations. The city also looked at some of the less talked about barriers to EV adoption:  "The City removed and reduced barriers to electric vehicle adoption by offering contractor and inspector education and training, by addressing building codes, electrical codes, and city ordinances related to uniform standards, signage, parking, and fees for charging.… Read More

  • AFRICAN LEADERS TOUR RALEIGH’S GREEN HIGHLIGHTS

    July 3, 2013

    Photo: Donna-Maria Harris Sustainability is not about limitations. It's about understanding the true nature of the challenges we face, and then finding ways to work around them. That's why it's often a spur for technological and cultural innovation. The city of Raleigh has long been working to position itself as a leader in sustainability. From clean energy to electric car charging, there's plenty to show for that work. As WUNC reports, a group of 14 African civil society leaders recently stopped by the city to take a look. They're hoping to take what they've learned and apply it in their… Read More

  • HOW BERTIE COUNTY TEENS BUILT A FARMERS MARKET PAVILION

    June 27, 2013

    IYBI Trailer 2 -- Hi Res from OCP Media on Vimeo. Focusing on providing instruction and instilling discipline, the mainstream model for education has, in many ways, remained unchanged since it was developed during (and for) the Industrial Revolution.  But how does this model translate now that we can access almost any piece of information through our computers and phones? And when success is measured more by your creative, problem solving skills than it is by your ability to follow orders. Most educational experts point to the need for more independent collaboration, more team building, more problem solving skills, and… Read More

  • CAMP LEJEUNE’S GROUNDBREAKING SOLAR SURGE

    December 30, 2012

    By Sami Grover There was a time when solar panels and renewable energy were considered somewhat fanciful solutions, more appropriate for the hippy communes of California than the military bases of Eastern North Carolina. But that reality is shifting, and the shift is only partially related to a desire to protect our ecosystems. "We made them a solid business proposition - that we could install these panels and sell them the energy at less than the cost of the electricity they were buying - and they chose to go for it. This is absolutely being driven by cost reductions as… Read More

  • CHRISTIANITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT: NC CHURCHES TAKE ACTION

    October 29, 2012

    Solar panels at 1st Congregational United Church of Christ, Asheville. By Sami Grover "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to till it and keep it." Genesis 2:15 Stewardship of the Earth – or creation care – is at the heart of the Bible’s Creation Story. Allison Reeves Jolley is Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light (NCIPL), an organization that brings believers of all faiths and denominations together to address the causes and consequences of global climate change. She argues that the prominent placement of environmental concepts at the beginning… Read More

  • ‘LIVABLE COMMUNITIES SUMMIT’ HIGHLIGHTS PIEDMONT TRIAD PLANNING EFFORT

    October 25, 2012

    By Katie Kross On Thursday, Oct. 25, nearly 200 stakeholders gathered at the Old Salem Visitors Center in Winston-Salem to discuss trends in demographics, housing, jobs, and transportation in the 12-county Piedmont Triad area and encourage a regional approach to planning for the future.  The event was part of the Piedmont Triad Sustainable Communities Planning Project—newly branded as “Piedmont Together”—made possible with a $1.6 million grant in 2010 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The goal of the three-year project is to develop scenarios and recommendations, with input from Triad residents, that will meet the infrastructure and… Read More

  • ASHEVILLE GREEN OPPORTUNITIES: CREATING GOOD GREEN JOBS IN WNC

    October 2, 2012

    By Lesley Lammers If Van Jones is the father of the “Green Collar Economy,” then Dan LeRoy and DeWayne Barton are certainly close relatives. After attending a national conference called "Good Jobs, Green Jobs" in 2008, LeRoy and Barton were inspired to start Asheville Green Opportunities (GO) to help train unemployed young men and women for careers in emerging clean economy industries—what they saw as an opportunity to help communities on multiple fronts at the same time. “Creating jobs is a vehicle to social change,” says LeRoy.  Barton and LeRoy recruited eight participants for that first program in 2008 and… Read More

  • SIEMENS CEO CITES SUSTAINABILITY AMONG FACTORS IN SITE SELECTION

    September 7, 2012

    By Katie Kross Eric Spiegel, President and CEO of Siemens Corporation, has a message for mayors: sustainability factors can influence a company’s decision of where to locate its next manufacturing facility. “As a global company that makes these investment decisions every day, we look very hard at how sustainable the cities are when we’re locating new plants,” he said while speaking on a panel at Davidson College in Davidson, NC on Tuesday, Sept. 5.  The panel also included Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, Vincent Davis, Director of Duke Energy’s Smart Energy Now program, and Davidson professor Graham Bullock. Bloomberg Businessweek's Sustainability… Read More

  • SUSTAINABILITY HELPED ATTRACT BREWERIES TO ASHEVILLE

    July 19, 2012

    by Katie Kross Local sustainability factors were important criteria in the decisions of both Sierra Nevada and New Belgium Brewing to locate their new East Coast operations in western NC, according to the magazine Site Selection, which features the breweries in “Hops City: Beer culture comes to a head in the Asheville region” in its July 2012 issue. The article describes the extensive selection process used by Sierra Nevada, which chose to build its $108-million brewery in Mills River, NC. Site consultant Don Schjeldahl of Austin Consulting led Sierra Nevada’s location search and is quoted in the article. SIERRA NEVADA'S… Read More

  • WHY SUSTAINABILITY IS GOOD FOR NORTH CAROLINA’S ECONOMY

    May 7, 2012

    by Katie Kross In its simplest definition, sustainability—balancing the three pillars of economic, social, and environmental interests—is a hard-not-to-love concept. Who among us doesn’t want a good stable job, a strong and safe community, a comfortable quality of life, and clean air and water for ourselves and generations to come? Of course, it’s never quite that simple. In practice, sustainability can be a maddeningly complex amalgam of issues, actors, and agendas. Everything from local food to landfill gas gets thrown in the sustainability bucket at times. Communities, government leaders, policy makers, and businesses all have various takes on what sustainability… Read More

Business Sustainability Collaborative Library: