Green Projects

New Courthouse Windows

Here's what the new Courthouse windows will look like.The Buncombe County courthouse, built in 1927, is about to get all new windows.  The Courthouse cost approximately $1 million to build in 1927 and the windows are costing more than that to replace; however, the County plans to recoup this cost in just over 10 years from energy savings.  The new windows will be more energy efficient -- they will actually open.  Most of the old windows had been painted shut and bang back and forth as the wind blows.

The County researched the original color of the windows and found that in 1927 the windows were this color green but had been painted beige.  To restore the Courthouse to its original look, the new windows will be green. 

To hear more about the window replacement project; check out this month's edition of BCTV's Buncombe Life.

Green Bag Give Away

In an effort to encourage citizens to use reusable shopping bags, starting July 1st, Buncombe County will be giving out one free shopping bag per person at each County branch library. (While supplies last.)  Additional bags can be purchased for $1 each. 

Get a Green Bag

Every year the average citizen goes through 6 plastic bags per week or 312 per year. That may not sound like much, but when multiplied by the number of Buncombe County citizens that’s a potential of 1,260,000 bags per week. The cost of disposing of these bags in the landfill is about 17¢ each, and as you can imagine, that cost adds up. By using just one reusable bag for a year, the average household would save the disposal of 20 pounds of garbage in our landfill.  If you multiple that by the number of households in the County, the potential savings is 600,000 pounds of trash a year.

The cost of recycling plastic bags so outweighs their value that most recycling facilities will not take them - leading to more and more being thrown into the landfill. Thanks to their light weight, plastic bags are the debris most likely to fly away from landfills and garbage trucks, settling in trees, storm drains and road sides.

Jerry Mears, Buncombe County Solid Waste Manager, says that the bags are a nuisance and increase the amount of litter around the County every day. He encourages all citizens to take their own shopping bags to stores and cut down on the number of the plastic bags in use.

All citizens are encouraged to get their free green bag at their branch library while supplies last.  They can purchase additional green bags at the library for $1 each.

CFL Experiment

CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) use up to 75% less energy than incandescent light bulbs and last 10 times longer. Each CFL prevents more than 450 lbs. of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime and the burning of 210 lbs. of coal.

So far in Buncombe County, 6,633 fluorescent light bulbs have been dropped off, picked up and recycled at the 13 fire departments throughout the county. Much of the lighting in county buildings is fluorescent, but some fluorescent lights are more efficient than others. Buncombe County Government has been retrofitting the County's older fluorescent fixtures with newer, more efficient models. Where incandescent light bulbs are used, new more efficient CFL bulbs are being installed.


Buncombe County's CFL recycling program benefits residents by making it possible to recycle spent bulbs in a simple, safe and environmentally friendly way. Recycling centers are located at all fire stations in the County. Click Here for all County Recycling Locations. You can also recycle your CFL's at Home Depot and Lowes.