Sustainability

Duke Energy electric pickup
David Boraks / WFAE

Thinking about getting rid of that gas-guzzler in your driveway? A lunch-hour display of electric vehicles at Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center Monday offered options - from small utility vehicles to luxury Teslas.

WFAE

The heat is back, and that's pushing power plants to the limit. Duke Energy is testing a new way to trim demand – with a competition that challenges customers to turn off the A/C on days when electricity demand is highest. Monday was one of those days. 

David Boraks / WFAE

Alternative fuel vehicles are showing up more often on the roads these days, as some drivers look for eco-friendly ways to get around. Hybrids and electric cars are fast enough for the highway. But what if you want something simpler? I recently had a chance to test drive an ELF - an electric assisted bicycle made here in North Carolina.

Duke Energy Solar farm near Elizabeth City NC
Duke Energy

Duke Energy says it’s on track to beat its goal for renewable energy use over the next few years, so it’s raising the bar. The pledge came in the company’s annual corporate sustainability report out Thursday.

Carbon Cycle Energy

Duke Energy has signed a deal to buy natural gas recycled from swine and poultry waste generated at a new plant eastern North Carolina. The contract helps Duke meet state renewable energy rules and could help solve the problem of what to do with the state's growing amount of animal waste. 

Lucy Perkins / WFAE

A new energy project in Charlotte will use food scraps to power 3,000 homes in the Charlotte area. A Nevada company called Bluesphere will convert organic waste into electricity. 

Think banana peels. That’s basically what organic waste is, along with other food we throw out. The bio-gas plant will take the leftovers we don’t use, and accelerate the fermentation process.

"What happens normally in six months we concentrate in 30 days," says Alex Massone, the CEO of Austep -- an Italian company behind the technology.

WasteZero

There’s been a lot of trash talk in Charlotte recently. And no, we don’t mean college basketball. The city is studying pay-as-you-throw garbage service as a way to reduce the amount of trash we send to the landfill.


Colin Delaney / Flickr

The city of Charlotte is looking at changing the way its residents pay for trash collection, from a flat fee to a “pay-as-you-throw” system. 

Charlotte's Sustainability Report Card

Aug 21, 2014
bobistraveling / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Thursday, August 21, 2014

We've talked a lot about sustainability - the state and quality of Charlotte's air, water, energy use and more - and whether or not Charlotte is headed for a sustainable future. But now, the non-profit Sustain Charlotte has used the power of data to compile and compare nine different categories into one study, the first of its kind. The group rates our local sustainability trends, and compares them to national trends in air quality, energy use, equality and empowerment, food, jobs and income, land use, transportation, waste and water use. So, how are we doing? The report shows we're making progress on energy use, and the area's water use per household is lower than the national average. But we're lagging behind when it comes to transportation and land use. And food insecurity and childhood poverty are on the rise.

Exploring Local Farms And Local Food

May 15, 2014
anathea / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

We've all seen the bumper sticker - 'No Farms. No Food.' While agriculture remains North Carolina's largest industry, a new census from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveals that farmers in the state are getting older and scarcer. Experts say we need more growers and more attention on building the local and regional food economies. Eating local isn’t just the hip thing to do anymore; many see it as vital for environmental sustainability as well. Farmers markets are growing in popularity, more restaurants are locally-sourcing their ingredients and we're seeing the rise of agritourism that connects the eaters with the growers. Ahead of the 'Know Your Farms' tour this weekend, we meet some of our local farmers and food systems experts to find out about their challenges and discuss the future of food and farming in the Charlotte region.

Pages