A publication of Appalachian Voices


A publication of Appalachian Voices

Innovative Appalachians constructing a clean-energy world, one home at a time



Increasing Homeowner Access to Energy Savings

Financing programs are helping homeowners invest in upgrades that make residences more comfortable while lowering electric bills and reducing a home's carbon footprint.


South Fork Sharestead

In six years, Jonathan Towers has transformed his average American home into an energy-efficient, food-abundant powerhouse. By retrofitting the house to be energy efficient and maintaining a strong commitment to energy conservation, their utility bill has dropped 75 percent.


Smoke in the Hills: Wood Stoves in Appalachia

Some cherish wood heat as a renewable, inexpensive energy source that offsets fossil fuel use, but wood stoves have been under fire in recent years for smoke pollution. Despite their smoky reputation, wood stoves can be an efficient, low-impact heating source when operated and maintained correctly.


Families Win Energy Savings

A plastic tube winds through the Dunlaps' front room to a door covered in red plastic sheeting. It's the first step in a process to make this drafty home warmer and more efficient through smart investments in air-sealing and insulation.


Crowdfunding Solar in West Virginia

In a state known for coal, solar energy emerges through a grassroots "barn-raising." This innovative program relies on energy efficiency and a collaborative spirit to harness the sun's power for community nonprofits.


Winter Weatherization: Stay snug and save

By Eliza Laubach As falling leaves signal approaching winter winds, autumn is an ideal time to “bundle up” your home. Over time, building materials shift, which forces heating and cooling systems to work harder. And since many houses were built


Appalachian University Builds Home With Solar Flare

Appalachian State University, partnered with a French university, will be the sole representative of Appalachia’s green ingenuity in the third European Solar Decathlon Appalachian State University’s net-zero energy home, shown above under construction in Boone, N.C., will compete in the event.


A Sustainable Habitat

By Sarah Kellogg Nestled in a mountain forest of oaks, poplars and rhododendron, a neighborhood of charming houses sits lightly on the land. These are the energy efficient homes of the GreenWood Community, a project of the Watauga County Habitat


Gateway to Sustainability

By Kimber Ray For Patrick Ironwood, the point where the Sweet Gum Gateway home ends and the wild lands of the Cumberland Plateau begin is blurred, with the sweeping porch and edible landscape of Sweet Gum elegantly blending with the


Growing Community in the New River Valley

Story and photos by Molly Moore From a curvy, two-lane road roughly four miles from downtown Blacksburg, Va., Arlean Lambert’s property is easily recognizable. Three solar panels are mounted by a pond in front of her ranch-style home. A verdant


Microhydro Powers Mountain Farm

Our spring multimedia assistant, Matt Abele, traveled to Woodland Harvest Farm in Ashe County, N.C., to see how Elizabeth West and Lisa Redman are harnessing their creek’s energy to power their small farm and homestead.


Home Energy Tips

Making your home more energy efficient can sound like an expensive and complicated task, but in reality there are many easy steps homeowners and renters can take to convert a dwelling from an energy waster to a sustainable homestead. Below


Two School Districts Go Green to Save Green

By Toby MacDermott North Adams Elementary is one of the greenest schools in southeast Ohio. With solar panels on the roof, wild turkeys roaming the grounds, and a design based on LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, standards,


Recycling the Rain Brings a Barrel of Savings

By Paige Campbell Tom McMullen may be the most water-wise homeowner in the neighborhood. McMullen, his wife Amanda and their two sons live on six-tenths of an acre inside the town limits of Abingdon, Va. A small front lawn and


These Green Houses:
Green Building 101

By Jeff Deal Green building might just be the world’s oldest construction style. Caves, lean-tos, waddle and daub, mud brick, stone pyramids and temples, wooden post and beam, Devonshire Cob; all are green building styles, some dating back more than