City of Asheville staff get hands-on lessons in home energy savings

City of Asheville employees attending two Nov. 17 workshops got hands-on lessons in increasing energy efficiency and saving money through finding and sealing attic and basement gaps and leaks in their homes.

Around 70 city employees attended the workshops hosted by the City of Asheville’s Office of Sustainability and conducted in partnership with the city’s Public Works Department and Asheville Green Opportunities (Asheville GO).

The sessions focused on parts of the home that are vulnerable to leaking heat to the outside or cold air to the inside. Locating and patching those areas, which can be found around plumbing pipes, ventilation ducts and even light fixtures are steps that are as important as insulation in terms of reducing energy loss in the home said Green Opportunities project manager Marcus Renner.

“Insulation does not stop air flow,” Renner said. “If you insulate without sealing, you are not stopping air movement.”

City of Asheville employees were able to work alongside Green Opportunities experts filling holes in mocked-up fixtures and vent ducts that are utilized for training the nonprofit’s own technicians. The workshops were the latest in a series of free classes hosted by the city’s Office of Sustainability aimed at informing city employees of opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint and save money on energy bills.


“We had a great turnout, and Asheville GO had a lot of helpful information about how a little investment up front means savings later on,” said Sustainability Outreach Specialist Rachel Rogers. “We are lucky to be able to work with an organization like Green Opportunities to get that message out.”

Director of Public Works Cathy Ball greeted attendees to the morning workshop, and noted that the turnout of field employees exceeded her expectations.

“The number of people that showed up displays that people are very interested in saving money,” Ball said. “It’s an indicator that people are wanting to do the right thing in increasing efficiency and sustainability.”

The City of Asheville has a partnership with Asheville GO in which the organization provides educational opportunities for both city employees and the public to demonstrate how best to save energy in homes and businesses.

Giving city employees the opportunity to lower their personal carbon footprint goes hand in hand with the city’s own push for a 2% reduction in its carbon footprint per year and a 80% reduction by 2050.