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United States: EcoVillage brings sustainability to the forefront of Floyd County

Published at: Sep 21, 2012
source: South West Virginia Today

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EcoVillage in Floyd, VA has officially been opened. The self-sustaining village already has large community buildings and it is planned that residents will be growing their own food and live in the village at some point in the future.

The opening of Floyd EcoVillage's economic centerpiece, the VillageCenter, was celebrated Friday, Sept. 14 with a special guest, Anthony Flaccavento, the Democratic candidate for Virginia's 9th congressional seat.

Sustainability was a theme of the afternoon, with Flaccavento talking about its importance and challenges. "It's come down to personal responsibility linked to a sense of community," he said. "A place like this," he added, referring to theVillageCenter, "a state-of-the-art ecological building, is a great place to have this conversation."

Finishing touches are being put on the structure, which includes a 2000 square foot Celebration Hall, consisting of a stage, sprung dance floor, and state-of-the-art sound and projection system. A baby grand piano has also been purchased in preparation for the arts events there. An event featuring David Wiley, who serves as music director and conductor ofNew York's Long Island Philharmonic and Virginia's Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, is set for next month.

TheVillageCenteralso houses: the Conversation Café for smaller community gatherings and meals; a commercial kitchen, which can be used by caterers; and the infrastructure for a new alternative high school.

The Center is part of a 78-acre property, located off Franklin Pike, that Jack Wall and wife Kamala Bauers have been developing. Wall told guests Friday the goal is to create a community of communities. He said it is expected that 30 energy efficient homes will be built on the property and "we'll have a zero carbon footprint on the world." The houses incorporate emergent technologies, he noted. "We get a lot of ideas fromEurope."

The residents will be growing their own food, and jobs associated with food production at the EcoVillage, the events at the Center - which can be rented for weddings and other occasions, and alternative high school will be created within the community. The high school will offer "real world, hands-on" instruction to develop skills, Wall commented.

Wall said the Floyd EcoVillage's apartments would be ready in the spring. "We're hoping to bring a half dozen young couples in the village to help in the garden next year."

Also speaking Friday was Joe Fortier of Acme Panel, a Radford business, which helped in the construction of the building. Fortier said the structure represented "progressive thinking" and would be good for the occupants and citizens ofFloydCountyand its future generations. He explained that it all began with a highly insulated shell and included energy efficient appliances, triple insulated windows, and 15,000 watts of solar on the roof.

Flaccavento told the group Friday that citizens "have been good at marketing our consumptive culture....It's time to take a new vision forward." Advocating sustainability, he said, "It's what we leave behind, not just what we take out."

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