Job Growth and Energy Independence


Vice Mayor Brownie Newman will present the Asheville Energy Independence Initiative Tuesday night at our City Council meeting. You can get a flavor for the program by having a look at this nifty Powerpoint:

I’m 100% behind this initiative.  Highlighted in my campaign again and again, this program will allow voluntary retrofitting of homes and businesses without the up front cost to the consumer.  It will create jobs, reduce energy use, and save people money. It’ll be revenue neutral or better for the City, meaning it’ll pay for itself. If you’re in favor of implementing this fantastic opportunity, please spread the word.


  1. Jim Reeves says:

    What happens in case of default?, job growth is still very negative,if the home is foreclosed by the mortgage holder due to job loss related nonpayment, what happens? What limits administrative costs? Would loan proceeds apply to homeowner applied retrofitting? What about new construction? With Carter era solar tax credits solar technology prices were artificially increased due to government subsidy, while I don’t know this would happen locally this would reduce energy savings and extend the period of cost recoupment to the consumer. Otherwise I like the proposed program I like efficiency, my small well insulated active solar assisted,small scale PV integrated dwelling has a light bill of $25-$30 per month (and had lights and power during the 4 day power outage)

  2. Gordon Smith says:

    Good questions, Jim.

    1) The monetary award remains with the property, not the homeowner. So if the home is sold, the new owner assumes the payback. If the bank forecloses, then the bank assumes the payback.

    2) Since the payback is rolled into the property tax bill, there is already adequate staffing.

    3) Yes.

    4) No.

    Thanks for supporting energy efficiency and for understanding how much money you save by using it!

  3. Barry Summers says:

    I like this proposal very much – but Jim asks some good questions, primarily, what risk to the City is there in case of foreclosure?

  4. Barry Summers says:

    Sorry – you answered while I was typing. So when a bank forecloses now, they are still paying the normal property tax, and if they foreclose on a home with this assessment, they are obligated to pay it as well? How common is this sort of piggy-backing, and is it certain that banks will pay it?

  5. Gordon Smith says:


    It’s a model used in other municipalities successfully.

  6. Tebbe Davis says:

    I love this proposal. I understand the caution about foreclosure but as you mention the benefits stay with the home. The facet of rolling the payments into tax bill in exchange for the full benefit of energy efficiency is just genius.

  7. eemilla says:

    I hope this is a big success for the city and that it compels the county to get on board too. Hopefully all the retrofitting will reduce consumption enough to keep Progress Energy quite about any expansion plans.

  8. Ken Huck says:

    Congratulations on this initiative to improve energy efficiency and move toward renewable sources of energy. However we seem to be missing a major opportunity here by failing to signal home builders about the need to substantially improving the energy performance of the new homes they construct.

    The most efficient houses being built in Asheville today are designed with the intention of reducing the energy used for heating and cooling by 80% or more before renewable energy is factored in.

    Check out Chris Otahal’s Superinsulated house at
    and More on Superinsulation

    The payback for this highly efficient house is expected to be instant because the house is projected to cost less to own and operate on a annual basis than then the same house built to code minimums. Thousands of homes like this have been built in Europe. The British have Home Energy Performance Labels (like car fuel economy labels but for houses) and are rapidly moving their Building Codes toward Zero Carbon Development.

    If you want to find out how you to can have a home that makes the Earth sing while saving you money without compromising on comfort give us a call.

    Ken Huck
    Ecosavvy Energy