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Gov. Bev Perdue honors Appalachian’s Solar Homestead team

BOONE—Onegovernor signing_t.jpg of the strongest advocates of Appalachian State University’s Solar Homestead project, N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue, made a stop in Boone Friday afternoon (Oct. 28) to recognize students and faculty for their participation in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2011 international competition.

Perdue signed a proclamation declaring Oct. 28-Nov. 4  as Appalachian State University Solar Homestead Week. Perdue first met members of the Solar Homestead team during a visit this spring to Hardin Park School in Boone. She toured the Solar Homestead construction site during the summer and updated citizens about the project on her blog and in statewide emails.

“These students have shown America that we can do things in North Carolina,” Perdue said.  “We all know that in North Carolina green is gold and that we must as a people focus on building a green enterprise for our state.”

The biannual solar decathlon competition challenges student teams to design and construct an energy-efficient dwelling that is powered by solar energy. Appalachian’s entry won the competition’s People’s Choice Award and also ranked first in the hot water competition, second in communications, third in architecture, and sixth in market appeal and energy balance.

“From my perspective as the governor, you’d have to be living under a rock not to see how important these kind of innovative projects are,” Perdue said. “All of us understand clearly that the cities and towns and the homes and the businesses of tomorrow must be increasingly dependent on new forms of energy and better solutions to old problems. This is not about do-good environmentalism that some of us feel in our heart and soul, it’s about doing the right thing for the planet.”

Perdue’s remarks came during a reception for Solar Homestead team members and sponsors held at Appalachian House, the official residence of the university’s chancellor, Kenneth E. Peacock, who thanked Perdue for her support of Appalachian and education. “From my perspective, (Perdue) understands the impact higher education has on the state and this region. She has shown that support for a long time and I appreciate it very much.”

“We had a lot of VIPs come to the Solar Homestead headquarters, but the governor’s visit sticks out because of her genuine enthusiasm and interest in the project,” Dave Lee said. Lee was the communication manager for the project. “She asked tough and in-depth questions, and she twice included us in her statewide e-mails and authored a letter of support that we proudly displayed in the home while it was on display on the National Mall. And even more importantly, together we strengthened Appalachian State’s and North Carolina’s leadership and education in renewable energy.”

Appalachian has been invited by the governor to display the Solar Homestead in Raleigh next spring in conjunction with the opening of the 80,000-square foot N.C. Nature Research Center, slated to be one of the most energy efficient buildings in the state.