Hickory Green Homes Blog

Hickory Green Building & Solar Tour 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hickory Green Building & Solar Tour 2009

Covering Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba Counties

In partnership with community leaders, partner organizations and the American Solar Energy Society, The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association will once again host the annual Green Building & Solar Tour on Saturday, October 3, Saturday, October 10 and Saturday, October 17 in communities across our great state. The 2009 tour will educate citizens with the most up-to-date information on a wide range of green building solutions, technologies and energy efficiency measures.

This is your chance to visit and “see up close” various sizes and styles of “green” homes, businesses, schools, privately-owned renewable energy projects, and government facilities featuring solar and/or green building products and technologies on this self-guided tour in communities across North Carolina. Site owners, green builders, contractors, installers and other experts will also be available at tour sites to answer questions and provide more details.


Kickoff Event (8:00 – 9:00)

Western Piedmont Council of Governments

736 4th St. SW Hickory, NC 28602


-Registration with coffee and donuts

-Alternative Fuel Vehicle Display

-Screening of the film “Kilowatt Ours”


Morning Tour (9:00 – 12:30)

-Catawba County EcoComplex

-Passive solar home with renewable energy features


Luncheon at WPCOG (12:30 – 1:30)

-Solar Thermal Presentation


Afternoon Tour (1:30 – 5:00)

-Snow Creek Elementary School

-Green home with ENERGY STAR and NAHB Green certifications



FREE tour with roundtrip transportation provided

(donations will be collected to cover food and fuel costs)

To register, contact Rob Howard at (828) 217-0506 or rob@homeenergysol.com

Affiliated with the National Solar Tour www.ases.org and the North Carolina Green Building and Solar Tour www.energync.org


Thank you to our sponsors:

Catawba Valley Green Building Council


Home Energy Solutions



Contact Information

Email: info@hickorysolartour.com

Phone: (828) 328-3650

Address: Home Energy Solutions, Inc. PO Box 3352, Hickory, NC, 28603




Written by: Mike Kelly Jr. and also posted on http://activerain.com/blogs/mikekelly


Building green means incorporating environmental considerations and resource efficiency into every step of the home building and land development process to minimize environmental impact. During the design, construction, and operation of a home, energy and water efficiency, lot development, resource efficient building design and materials, indoor environmental quality and homeowner maintenance should all be considered. Although we cannot entirely avoid affecting the environment when a house is built, green building can work toward minimizing that environmental impact.

The concept of green building isn’t new-our great-grandparents built climate-appropriate homes using locally-available materials. Today’s green homes incorporate not only climatic considerations, but are resource and energy efficient, safer for occupants, and often less expensive to maintain.

To learn more about building a green home in the Hickory Area Visit:


 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Randy Bowman has been a Licensed General Contractor since 1990, with an unlimited license, Bowman Construction & Design, Inc. is located in Newton, North Carolina. It is our goal to design and build homes of the highest quality. We insist on the best materials and put many “custom” touches in all of our homes.


Randy Bowman awarded the NAHB Certified Green Professional designation.

Randy Bowman named NAHB-RC Accredited Verifier for NAHB Green Building Program

Randy Bowman appointed to NCHBA Green Building Council

Randy Bowman in the Chairperson for the Catawba Valley Green Building Council.

Tax Savings for Energy Efficient Upgrades

 Written by: Mike Kelly Jr. EcoBroker and also published in my Active Rain Blog

 The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was signed into law in October and starting January 1, 2009 the law expanded and extended valuable federal tax credits for homeowners that make certain energy efficient upgrades. Benefits include lower energy bills, reduced home air pollution, and increased indoor comfort.  You can also save with the energy efficient products that are eligible for the new federal tax credits that actually lower the amount of federal income taxes that taxpayers must pay. The following shows how much you could save if you take advantage of the some of these tax credits.

PURCHASE: Central Air Conditioner of Heat Pump  (only some Energy Star products qualify)



PURCHASE: Furnace or Boiler (only some Energy Star products qualify)



PURCHASE: Windows  (all Energy Star products qualify)

TAX SAVINGS:  up to $200


PURCHASE: Insulation and Sealing   (must meet model building code as installed)

TAX SAVINGS:  up to $500


PURCHASE: Ground Source Heat Pump  (only Energy Star products qualify)

TAX SAVINGS:  up to $2,000  

*NOTE: maximum of $500 total for home improvements

In some areas and regions, consumers will also be eligible for utility rebates, state rebates, or state tax incentives for homes, vehicles, and equipment.


For more information about living Green in Hickory – Click Here  


Mike Kelly Jr. REALTOR Hickory NC

 I am the first certified EcoBroker® in the Catawba County Area. This is a value added service I offer to my clients.  Contact me today to show your properties that are Built Green, have green energy saving aspects or could be remodeled green with your personal touch. If you own a green home and are ready to sell, list your home with me and I will market and sell your place to a green-minded buyer.


EcoBrokers® are equipped with additional energy and environmental information and tools that help them provide added value to all of their real estate transactions. EcoBroker® training helps real estate agents address the newest topics in real estate, such as “green” home certification programs like Energy Star® Qualified Homes, energy-efficiency, and environmentally-sensitive design. The EcoBroker® designation assists real estate agents in working through issues that may arise in any real estate transaction, such as mold, radon, and poor indoor air quality, providing real solutions. EcoBrokers® grow their client base by attracting the green-minded consumer and providing valuable energy and environmental information to all types of clients. With expertise and Affiliate relationships, EcoBrokers® are known for providing exceptional value to all of their relationships.

Source: Alliance to Save Energy and The Certified Residential Specialist

Green Construction Permit Incentive


Written By Mike Kelly Jr.  1/23/09

The Green Building incentives section of the Catawba County’s building fee structures is a special allowance to provide an incentive for building in accordance with LEED, Energy Star, and NC Healthy Built Homes.

The incentive based fee structure is intended to increase renewable/sustainable energy technologies and green building certifications for homes and commercial buildings in Catawba County.

Various permit and plan review incentives are available for new and existing construction. To qualify, the builder or owner needs to obtain all permitting from Catawba County and a green building certification from a third party agency (LEED, Energy Star, etc.). For new construction, once a Certificate of Occupancy is issued, a percentage of the permit fees will be reimbursed to the permit holder.

For existing structures, upon completion of final inspection, permit fee rebates will be issued to the permit holder.

Catawba County will rebate all fees related to plan review or express review for commercial buildings seeking LEED certification.

Regular fees must be paid in full at time of plan review or permit issuance. Fee rebates will be refunded upon project completion and certification by a third party agency.

Here are just some of the examples of residential rebates:

Geothermal Heat Pump – Mechanical Permit Fee – 50% rebate – $27.50 value

Geothermal Heat Pump – Electrical Permit Fee – 50% rebate – $25.00 value

Solar Hot Water  – Electrical Permit Fee  – 50% rebate – $25.00 value

Solar Hot Water  – Plumbing Permit Fee  – 50% rebate – $12.50 value

Gray Water Collection for flushing fixtures – Plumbing Permit Fee – 50% rebate – $30.50 value

For more information about these permit incentives you can contact the Catawba County Utilities & Engineering, Catawba County Government Center, 100 A South West Blvd., Newton, NC 28658, Phone: 828-465-8399.

For more information on Green building programs:






For more information about Catawba County or Hickory please feel free to visit my website at www.MikeKellyJr.com


I am the first certified EcoBroker® in the Catawba County Area. This is a value added service I offer to my clients.  Contact me today to show your properties that are Built Green, have green energy saving aspects or could be remodeled green with your personal touch. If you own a green home and are ready to sell, list your home with me and I will market and sell your place to a green-minded buyer.

Hickory High School Embraces GREEN


Written by:   Mike Kelly Jr.   1/17/2009

Due to the drought that has gripped the south east for more than a year – the city of Hickory has restricted water usage for its businesses and residents.  Hickory High School has a found a way around the city water restrictions. They are participating in the Community Conservation Assistance Program through the NC Department of Environmental and Natural Resources.

The school will install a cistern to hold rain water that drains off the roof of the athletic building. The cistern will hold the rainwater until the school needs it to water plants, garden, and irrigate the athletic fields around the building.

The state will pay for seventy-five percent of the cost through the Community Conservation Assistance Program. This will cover the cistern, pipes and other materials.  The school will just have to dig the hole.

The tank will hold seventeen hundred gallons and will be installed underground.  The hope is that it will catch up to fifty-five thousand gallons of rain water per year. Besides being used to irrigate the vegetation around the school this cistern will also slow the water going into storm drains which will improve overall water quality.

It is great to hear about local groups increasing the awareness of the importance of water conservation.


For more information about Hickory NC please visit my website at www.MikeKellyJr.com


 Hickory NC Government is helping Residents Purchase RAIN BARRELS

Written by: Mike Kelly Jr.  11/24/2008

The Hickory government is partnering with RainBarrel USA to offer residents a means to purchase rain barrels at wholesale prices as part of their continued effort to conserve water and implement stormwater management. Hickory government is not making a profit from the sale of these rain barrels. The manufacturer delivers the rain barrels to the Julian G.Whittener Municipal Building for residents to pick up.



For more information about eco-friendly resources please visit my website http://www.mikekellyjr.com/

For more information about this Hickory Government program please visit www.hickorygov.com

The Importance of Proper Leaf Collection in Hickory NC

Written by: Mike Kelly Jr  12/3/2008

The yearly drudgery of getting rid of the leaves that have fallen on your yard has begun.  Hickory is asking that homeowners rake all of their leaves to the curb before the first collection day of your quadrant.  Remember to keep leaves away from storm drains and out of the streets to help prevent flooding and accidents during rain.  It is not good for our storm water system to be overwhelmed with leaves because it can deplete the oxygen in our lakes and streams as they decay.  It is more helpful to our environment to shred and or compost our leaves than to dispose of them in the lakes or storm water system.

Also remember to not park your vehicle on a leaf pile because it can result in a fire and do not mix leaves with other yard waste or trash. If you do not want to have your leaves loose at the curb you can place them in open clear plastic bags or open containers which will be collected on your regular garbage day.

The next set of collection dates are as follows:

Northwest A December 15-18

Northwest B December 22-26

Southeast and Southwest December 29 – January 2

Northeast January 5-16




For more information about Hickory Leaf Collection you can visit the City of Hickory Website at www.hickorygov.com

For more information about Hickory NC or Eco-friendly ideas and information please visit my website www.MikeKellyJr.com