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Turn it off: WCU comes out on top in national energy reduction competition

out frWhen the Campus Conservation Nationals Competition wrapped up this spring, Western Carolina University came out near the top of a nationwide field of 109 schools. Schools didn’t receive specific rankings, but WCU made the top 10 with a 13.7 percent reduction in its residential halls’ energy use over the three-week competition period. 

“A common adage in the world of energy conservation is: Human energy change is low-hanging fruit, but the fruit grows back, so as we get new students in, we have to continue to improve our programs,” said Lauren Bishop, chief sustainability officer at WCU. 

Energy on the horizon: Debate on drilling still hypothetical, but groundwork is being laid

out frFrom the oil fields of North Dakota to the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania, the U.S. oil and gas industry is booming in a way that few would have predicted 20 years ago.

Energy extraction is now possible — and financially viable — in regions it wasn’t before. Energy deposits, primarily of gas, that were once too hard or expensive to tap are being opened up with the combined technology of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, called fracking.

Most oppose Duke rate increase and reliance on fossil fuels

Most who spoke during a public hearing at the Macon County Courthouse on Duke Energy’s proposed rate increases were not pleased with the prospect of another uptick on their electric bills and lambasted Duke Energy representatives for wanting to use the increase to pay for recently built fossil fuel plants and pay higher dividends to investors.

The drive to alternative fuels

Greenies, tree-huggers, granolas and old hippies are mothers, dads and grandmoms too. And there is a sincere desire to live and raise our children in a cleaner, safer, sustainable world. But until we greenies achieve the economical and political clout of Exxon-Mobile, Toyota and/or the governments of the G8 countries, face it, it will be utility, power and profit that will fuel the move to alternative energy.

Green energy

Over the next few weeks in The Naturalist’s Corner, I’m going to be exploring different aspects of the alternative and green energy movement.

The Energy Challenge: WCU summit calls attention to problems, possibilities

By Michael Beadle

North Carolina’s population is expected to rise by nearly 3 million people in the next two decades. As we use up more and more natural resources like oil and coal, how will we handle the energy needs of the future?

The energy debate: Taylor pushes increased drilling, while Shuler looks to alternative fuels

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

Prices at the gas pump began falling last month with the announcement that a new pocket of deep-sea oil had been found off the Gulf of Mexico. Locally, regular unleaded hit a mere $2.25 per gallon, or in some cases even less, such as in Maggie Valley where the new Quality Oil Co. station posted prices of $2.02.

Cherokee goes green with new biodiesel pump

By Michael Beadle

Cherokee now has a biodiesel gas pump at its filling station to fuel up Tribal transit and maintenance vehicles as well as buses from the Cherokee Boys Club.

Baby steps toward green power

Talitha and Louis Mes erected a 100-foot tall wind tower on a ridge above Crabtree last week to generate environmentally-friendly power for their home, marking the first privately installed wind turbine in this part of the mountains.

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