Monday, December 12, 2016

Green Holidays around the World - 7 days you should be celebrating next year!



It's the most wonderful time of the year! As this year comes to an end we cherish our time with friends and family, enjoy some time off and celebrate with holiday lights and treats.

But did you know that there are dozens of GREEN HOLIDAYS that people celebrate around the world? That's right, we're celebrating the earth many times each year. This blog post will highlight some of our favorite green holidays!

1.     World Water Day

Every year on March 22, people everywhere show that they care about water and the role it plays in our daily life. This international observance is an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference. It has been around since 1992 when the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development recommended an international observance. Check our blog post “Wasting Water – A Guide to Conservation and Innovation” to learn more about water usage in the U.S. and what you can do to conserve.

2.      Earth Day

According to the official Earth Day Website, the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

Earth Day is our favorite! Every April NC GreenPower gets dozens of requests for events and speaking opportunities. Help us celebrate the earth by signing up to volunteer!

        



3.      Bike To Work Day

This annual event is held on various days in the spring across the United States and Canada. Bike Month is in May, and Bike to Work Week is the week of Bike to Work Day, which varies from city to city. 

It promotes the bicycle as an option for commuting to work. If you live close enough to work, resolve to make an effort to bike or walk to work (if you don’t already!). Studies have shown that those who commute to work by bicycles are the happiest of all commuter transportation groups (versus single person cars, carpooling, or taking public transportation). Biking or walking to work accomplishes two things at once: it cuts down on pollution, and it gives you a little exercise, which boosts your mood.

With increased interest in healthy, sustainable and economic transportation options, it’s not surprising that, from 2000 to 2013, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 62 percent, as stated by The League of American Bicyclists. Forget your vehicles for a day and take that bicycle in your garage for a spin. 


4.      World Environment Day

World Environment Day (WED) is observed on June 5 every year. It is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. It also serves as the “people’s day” for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.

Each year the United Nations come up with a different theme to focus on another important issue. This year thousands of activities were organized worldwide this year, with beach clean-ups, concerts, exhibits, film festivals, community events and much more. 

5.       Global Wind Day

Discover wind, its power and the possibilities it holds to reshape our energy systems, decarbonize our economies and boost jobs and growth. As one of the fastest growing industrial sectors in the world with almost $100 billion invested in 2014, wind energy has a lot of potential.

Global Wind Day is a worldwide event that occurs annually on June 15. The European Wind Energy Association, the Global Wind Energy Council and the national associations collaborate to introduce the general public to wind energy through a series of activities.

The American Wind EnergyAssociation recently released a study showing that over 20 million homes are currently powered by wind installations in the US.
   
If you’re interested in the US wind energy industry you should read more about the Amazon Wind FarmProject. This exciting new development in rural northeastern North Carolina is creating jobs and economic opportunities for communities that need it the most. 



6.      America Recycles Day

Keep America Beautiful and its vast network of affiliates and partners initiated America Recycles Day to connect local communities to an annual national movement on November 15. It engages millions of people by educating them about the importance of recycling and taking action to increase and improve recycling in America. It serves as a reminder that what you buy and how you use it matters!

Every November thousands of events are being organized across the country. Consumers can pledge their support for recycling and groups of all kinds can organize events to highlight the work they’re doing year-round to make recycling a top priority.

7.       International Mountain Day

International Mountain Day was established in 2003 to encourage sustainable mountain development. The UN General Assembly has designated 11 December, from 2003 onwards, as “International Mountain Day”.  Take some time out of your day to go hiking or just admire mountains in your area from a far, appreciating their beauty and meaning to the eco system. 


So while you celebrate your end of year festivities make plans and get excited for next year’s green holidays. There are so many ways to get involved and promote earth related holidays.


Did we forget any important ones? If you know of any more green holidays that you feel should be included, please comment below.



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

NC GreenPower teams up with Yes Solar Solutions and Baker Renewable Energy to help out a disabled Army Veteran


Not everything is about profits and the bottom line for all companies. Recently, Yes Solar Solutions and Baker Renewable Energy teamed up with local nonprofit NC GreenPower to help get a wounded Veteran’s solar PV system back on track.

In 2005, Army Sergeant Jon Roberts was stationed in Iraq when he was hit head-on by an 18 wheeler on his way from the Baghdad airport to his base and sustained severe brain injuries. After several surgeries, months in a coma and more months recovering in a VA hospital, Jon returned with his parents, Steve and Heidi Roberts, to Waxhaw, North Carolina where their extended family lives. They started plans to build a handicapped accessible home on six acres of family land. Steve applied to Homes for Our Troops, a privately funded 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that builds mortgage-free, specially adapted homes nationwide for severely injured Veterans to enable them to rebuild their lives. Jon was accepted and his new home was completed by Homes for Our Troops volunteers in the summer of 2008.

After the house was built, Steve felt that he needed to invest in renewable technology to stabilize their energy costs. He hired a company to install a 3.7 kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) array on the roof of the home to cut back on their use of traditional electricity. Unfortunately, the solar franchise experienced some difficulties during the installation, and the system was installed improperly and never fully completed. To improve his return on investment, Steve also signed up as an NC GreenPower generator, receiving a small incentive for every kilowatt-hour of green energy their solar PV system sent to the electric grid.

Sadly, the system didn’t produce as much energy as it should, and Steve’s investment struggled to perform properly. Earlier this summer, NC GreenPower’s Vice President, Vicky McCann, contacted Steve about possibly finding a qualified contractor to donate their services to fix the system. Vicky decided to reach out to a couple of NC GreenPower solar companies who are currently a part of the program’s Solar Schools pilot. “It has always bothered me that the system did not produce the way it was supposed to, likely because of a poor installation.”



Both Yes Solar Solutions and Baker Renewable Energy responded enthusiastically about being a part of this pro bono project and started work right away on correcting the solar PV installation, getting permits, interconnection requests and utility filings together on behalf of the Roberts family. The system was repaired by the team and is online now, producing more than 5,000 kilowatt hours of power annually, or about a third of what the average home in North Carolina uses over a year.

Stew Miller, Co-Founder and President of Yes Solar Solutions said, “The Roberts’ story is truly amazing.  This is great example of the NC solar industry working together for the benefit of a military family in need.” Jason Epstein, Executive Vice President of Baker Renewable Energy echoed Stew’s thoughts, “We wish it was done right the first time, but we were absolutely thrilled to be a part of the solutions team.” 

NC GreenPower will be following the solar PV system’s performance, comparing historical data to the next 12 months of energy production and sharing it with the team. The Roberts family had more good news this summer when Homes for Our Troops contacted them about another grant opportunity. The organization recently received funds to go back to homes they constructed and add a backup generator with a propane tank. Jon continues to improve in his recovery from his injuries and is able to communicate through the use of an iPad. He now also has the ability to drive an electric wheelchair and enjoys therapeutic horseback riding.

Now that his system is fixed, we expect that it will soon begin performing the way it should have been – thanks to this group – and Steve’s intent to reduce Jon’s energy costs will come to fruition... a small payback to a worthy Vet. 



About NC GreenPower

With the mission of improving the quality of the environment in North Carolina, the nonprofit NC GreenPower was founded in 2003 by Advanced Energy as a statewide program. NC GreenPower helps to connect consumers with renewable energy and carbon offset providers to create positive environmental and economic impacts for our state. All projects supported by the program are located in North Carolina.

In 2015, NC GreenPower launched Solar Schools, a matching grant program to support solar PV installations at North Carolina K-12 schools. Recently, Duke Energy and NC GreenPower announced a new partnership – “Schools Going Solar.” Duke Energy will invest $300,000 to pay for 100% of the installation costs for rooftop or pole-mounted solar PV systems for up to 10 schools in the state. Contributions to NC GreenPower are tax-deductible. For more information, visit: www.ncgreenpower.org.

Friday, October 14, 2016

How to help N.C. after Hurricane Matthew






Recently, our local news stations have made me aware of the devastating lingering effects of Hurricane Matthew across our state and I wanted to share this with you all.

We didn’t even lose power at my house, but almost a million customers across our state did, and thousands are still waiting for theirs to come back on. Serious flooding is affecting many highways, roads and cities. Fayetteville, Goldsboro and so many other areas are under water – 39 counties are still under alert for flooding that isn’t expected to peak until Friday. Farmers are experiencing catastrophic losses to their homes and crops. They are unable to use tractors with all the water, so they are desperately trying to salvage what they can from their fields by hand. Millions of poultry have been confirmed drowned in eastern NC. Many hog lagoons are in danger and the environmental impacts of this are still unknown.

Thousands of people are without shelter, without food and need our help. If you are able to, please consider contributing in one of the ways mentioned in the below article. You can donate cash, canned food, blood, clothing or your time. Be sure to check Charity Navigator or GuideStar before donating to any nonprofit.

(My recommendation is to keep your money as local as possible, perhaps the Food Bank of CENC or one of the United Way NC agencies.)


Thanks for your consideration!

Katie and the Green Team

https://secure2.convio.net/fbnc/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app274b?df_id=10383&mfc_pref=T&10383.donation=form1&NONCE_TOKEN=AD51FF55BCCDE4F1A3DE062D016E8F67
http://www.unitedwaync.org/donate