Sustainable WNC

The Gateway to Sustainability in Western North Carolina

Archive for September, 2007

Appalachian Offsets 1600 tons of Carbon

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

On September 11th, 500 UNCA Bulldogs switched out 5500 incandescent light bulbs with more efficient compact flourescents in the Asheville Housing Authorities affordable housing. The impact of something as simple as switching out these bulbs will save almost $200,000 dollars (split between the taxpayers and the tenants who need it most) over the life of the bulbs and keep 1600 tons of carbon from being released in the atmosphere. The light bulbs were donated to the Asheville Housing Authority via local businesses and individual contributions to the Appalachian Offsets program. The local businesses and individuals took the time to calculate their energy use and impact on pollution, and then paid to have it offset through this local initiative. Special thanks to Black Mountain Natural Foods, The Bend of Ivy Lodge, Laurey’s Catering, Earth Fare, Samsel Architects, Honeywear, The EcoBuilders/EcoHouse Realty, Vandemusser Designs and Jade Mountain Builders and all of the individuals that made this event possible. For more information visit www.WNCGBC.org/offset

Side Note: For those of you that are concerned about the mercury contained in the compact flourescent light bulbs (CFLs) here are a few thoughts- CFLs are helping us transition out of such an incredible wasteful technology while innovation catches up. Incandescent bulbs produce 90% heat and 10% light, and all of that energy that goes to waste is responsible for about 3000 mg of mercury being released into the atmosphere through the coal fired power plants used to produce it. Meanwhile, a CFL contains about 4 mg of mercury, about as much as a watch battery. To further put it in perspective, those old mercury thermometers have about 500 mg of mercury in them. All of that said, we recognize that CFLs aren’t perfect, and are excited about the innovations in LED technology. We advocate proper disposal (though I have yet to have one burn out and have to dispose of it)- available at fire stations throughout Buncombe County. Additionally, when it comes to greatest impact for least amount of money, cfls are a great place to start. For more information on CFLs and proper disposal: energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change_light/downloads/Fact_Sheet_Mercury.pdf