PITTSBORO — Green was everywhere at the Celebrate Green Central 2010 Trade Show and Home Tour at Central Carolina Community College’s Chatham County Campus.
The Oct. 15-16 event featured the campus’s green programs, including the official launch of its new Natural Chef culinary arts program. Visitors saw the new joint county-college Chatham Community Library and the college’s Sustainable Technologies Center, both constructed to achieve at least the Gold Level standard in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) of the U.S. Green Building Council.
At the Trade Show, located in the library’s conference room, vendors of green building and energy efficient products touted their materials and systems to the visitors who came to explore how going green works and how it is beneficial to people and the environment. A tour of green homes in the county was also part of the event.
“Green,” whether referring to construction, farming, transportation, or energy production describes environmentally and people-friendly ways to reduce mankind’s carbon footprint on the Earth, conserve resources and create healthier environments.
“I saw some of the college’s green programs on line and that drew me in to this event,” said visitor Kevin Klug, a materials engineer from Sanford. “I like what I’ve seen.”
As a materials engineer, Klug compared the growing interest in green to the space race of the 1960s.
“That galvanized everyone and a lot of technologies spun off of it,” he said. “I think the same thing could happen. I think green is the driver of the next economy. I expect a lot of jobs to develop in the field.”
Tom Wills, of Carrboro, a vendor for Solar Consultants, stopped by the Chatham Habitat for Humanity booth at the Trade Show. He spoke with a visitor about a sample block of aerated concrete on display. Chatham Habitat has used this type of block in home construction because it is energy efficient, fire and insect resistant, versatile and long lasting.
“It’s a great idea to show what’s already being used in Chatham County because green building is not something only rich people elsewhere do,” said Wills.
In the Sustainable Technologies Center, the Natural Chef program students were busy assembling trays of finger foods created from organic, locally grown food — much of it from the campus’s sustainable agriculture student farm. Visitors sampled tasty offerings such as whipped blue cheese and roasted pecans on endive leaves.
“This is a wonderful class,” said student Jacquey Carey, of Pittsboro. “It’s all about using local food.”
Dressed professionally in her white chef’s coat and hat, she was setting out more finger foods, trying to keep up with visitor consumption. The class is also about improving health by eating healthier food, she said. Carey’s goal is to teach chronically ill people how to use nutritious, locally grown foods to maximize nourishment and enjoyment.
At the student farm, visitors had another opportunity to pamper their taste buds and their health with fresh-made pizza crusts topped with organically grown arugula, fresh-made pesto and cheese from local farms. The pizza was baked in an oven constructed by the college’s green building students.
“I like how the college and this event participate with the local community,” Andrew Mayo, of Pittsboro, said between bites of pizza. “People can forget what it’s like to be outside. The more people see, the more they want to embrace it.”
More people and government levels are embracing green in their thinking about the personal, economic, and environmental importance of going green. Central Carolina Community College has been a leader in this since 1996, when it offered its first sustainable agriculture class at the Chatham Campus.
It became the first community college in the nation to offer an Associate in Applied Science in Sustainable Agriculture. It was the first community college in North Carolina to offer an associate degree in biofuels. In 2010, the college added an associate degree in sustainable technology.
Its green building/renewable energy program was the first at a North Carolina community college to offer a North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)-approved solar PV panel installation course. CCCC also offers an ecotourism certificate, as well as certificates in its other green programs. All this has earned the college the nickname “Green Central.”
“Going green is the logical way to go,” said David Snyder, of Pittsboro, a visitor to Celebrate Green Central. “CCCC is promoting what’s cutting edge and what’s best for the community.”
The college hosted the event with support from the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and the American Solar Energy Society. Sponsors were Solar Consultants, architect Alicia Ravetto, Carolina Country Builders, and Home Performance NC.
For more information about Central Carolina Community College’s green programs, visit www.cccc.edu/green/
or call the Chatham County Campus, (919) 542-6495.