Adaptation has continued to be the name of the game this year, and we’ve been grateful for the ability to continue expanding our reach and deepening our impact thanks to our community’s partnership and support during these unusual times.
See the year-in-review module below for updates on the many accomplishments and achievements realized by our nonprofit’s programs in our community with your support in 2021.
We appreciate your ongoing involvement and look forward to continued collaboration through 2022. Best wishes for a happy, healthy holiday season until we see you next!
Program Updates & Year in Review
Green Built Homes surpassed 2,000 homes certified this year and we are now approaching the 2,500 mark. This milestone is an achievement that reflects on the success of all of the builders in our region who have committed to the Green Built Homes standard and the sustainability of our community.
We released our Regenerative Home Certification at the beginning of the year. This standard incorporates concepts from programs like the Living Building Challenge to create homes that go beyond doing less harm and move toward having a net-positive impact on the environment.
We created an interactive map on our site that displays all the homes we have certified. Users can search by certification level or proximity to an address to browse or look up homes.
From left to right, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Matt Dull, new Green Built Homes Program Manager Josh LittleJohn, Chancellor Dr. Sheri Everts and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs J.J. Brown stand with a plaque honoring the Green Built Homes certification for Appalachian State University’s new residence hall. This 151,861-square-foot project ushered Green Built Homes across its 2,000-certification milestone.
Appalachian Offsets celebrated a moment six years in the making earlier this year as installation completed on the much-anticipated solar system at Asheville’s Isaac Dickson Elementary School, thanks to our fundraising campaign.
Since then, we fully funded a 10 kW project to be installed on the Reverend Roy J Young Education Building. Operated by St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church, the education building provides community support and computer access to youth and adults alike in the Burton Street neighborhood.
Next up, we have begun collecting offset dollars for our next project with United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County. The building houses multiple nonprofits, and lessening their utility burden would be broadly impactful for each of them.
Sundance Power Systems employees install a 300 kW photovoltaic array with a total investment of $428,000 at Asheville’s Isaac Dickson Elementary School earlier this year.
Blue Horizons Project’s Solarize Asheville-Buncombe campaign, which publicly encouraged local group purchasing of solar energy in Asheville and Buncombe County, resulted in the addition of 1.45 megawatts of clean, renewable energy to the community in 2021. A total of 180 property owners signed contracts for solar systems that represent an equivalent of close to 2 million kWh produced annually and an estimated $250,000 in annual utility bill savings.
The local coalition also developed and launched Neighbor to Neighbor Solar. This initiative extended beyond the Solarize campaign by offering a grant program to further support those identified in need, bringing affordability, access and equity to others as a means to lower their household energy burden. A dozen families qualified to receive rooftop solar for their homes. Fundraising is ongoing to expand these efforts.
Blue Horizons Project staff is also offering Home Energy Chats as free, virtual consultations to Buncombe County residents who have questions on energy efficiency, renewable energy, available programs, or local contractors.
We released a short film that captures the spirit of our work.
Our Neighbor to Neighbor Solar initiative funded contracts with 12 low- and moderate-income families for solar arrays at no cost to them. One beneficiary was the Garcia household, pictured above. As a family of six, they were excited to be able to dedicate funds that would have gone to their electric bill toward other critical needs. With a life expectancy of more than 25 years, these panels will benefit them for decades to come.
Energy Savers Network completed energy-efficiency upgrades on 184 homes this year, with the help of a team from United Community Development which contributed to 43 of those.
Our team of staff and volunteers also completed 94 units at Housing Authority of the City of Asheville’s Klondyke Homes.
We also completed 16 health and safety projects through the Healthy Home Initiative in collaboration with Community Action Opportunities and Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC.
We made many efforts to boost our volunteer engagement, including improving the ease of our signup process by adding a calendar and map functionality on our website, increasing accessibility for Spanish-speaking community members, and creating a training video to prepare people for their workday.
Energy Savers Network clients share how they benefited from our support this year.
Our continuing-education program offered a six-class series in both the spring and fall with a variety of elective courses. Classes were approved by the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors, as well as eligible for credit through the American Institute of Architects and certain other trade organizations. More than 240 individuals participated in the dozen learning opportunities our nonprofit offered this year.