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Landfill gas powers craft studios in North Carolina

energyxchange landfill gas wellhead and studios

Many crafters have discovered greener ways to create their wares: reused and/or upcycled materials, for instance, have become very popular among the crafty set. But if your medium is something like glass or ceramics, heavy energy use is just a part of the process: it takes a lot of heat to melt glass for blowing or to fire up a kiln. A craft incubator program in North Carolina, the EnergyXchange, has figured out a way to lower the footprint of these artistic endeavors: landfill gas.

Started in the late ’90s, the EnergyXchange was born out local leaders’ desire to make use of the methane-rich gas produced by a recently capped landfill. Created by a partnership between Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development Council, HandMade in America, and Mayland Community College, the vision grew of a incubator for young crafters to build their artistic and business skills… and to do so with a much lower environmental footprint. It also provides a cheaper model for residents to create their work; because of methane gas’ heating properties, though, it also requires some adjustments to normal processes (which graduates generally continue after their residencies).

In addition to landfill gas for equipment and heat, the EnergyXchange campus also makes use of solar, wind, and waste wood (primarily pallets) as energy sources. The craft studios aren’t the only business incubators on campus, either: Project Branch Out supports education for growers and hobbyists on the propagation of native flowering shrubs in four greenhouses and seven cold frames.

Sounds like a great place to hone one’s skills, and develop sustainable artistic and business practices. Know more about EnergyXchange, or other organizations doing similar work? Let us know about them…

via Crisp Green and @cleantechies

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Image credit: EnergyXchange