Sustainability on display during 2013 Boy Scout Jamboree - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Sustainability on display during 2013 Boy Scout Jamboree

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Thousands of boy scouts and Venturers are experiencing all of the ways the Boy Scouts of America is working to protect our environment.

Monday was officially Sustainability Day at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.

In a press release, John Stewart, director of corporate development and sustainability, Boy Scouts of America said, "The Boy Scouts of America has a long-standing commitment to sustainability and the Summit has taken our initiatives to a whole new level.  The 10,600 acres that now house the Summit previously hosted railroads, coal mining, and timbering operations, but now through investment in habitat restoration and green infrastructure, it has begun a transformation into a model of sustainable development."

There are a few ways sustainability is considered in both design and day-to-day actions at the Summit and during the Jamboree:

  • Energy - The buildings at the Summit are designed to use 30 percent less energy than conventional structures.   The Summit has also made investments in on-site renewable energy generation, including geothermal wells, photovoltaic solar panels and wind turbines to reduce operating costs.
  • Water - Recognizing its role in protecting the New River, the Summit uses a network of 60 acres of swales and rain garden to treat runoff by filtering it through plants.   The Summit also employs gray-water systems, low-flow fixtures, and composting toilets to reduce water use by two-thirds.
  • Materials - The Summit is committed to thrifty and resourceful use of materials.   Timber was salvaged for reuse in structures, while other materials were sourced from within 500 miles of the project to reduce emissions.
  • Economy - By requiring a 25 percent local labor force and materials from nearby, developing the Summit supported the local economy.   Every dollar spent in a local business re-circulates seven more times in the regional economy.
  • Habitat conservation - A full 10 percent of the Summit's most ecologically valuable land has been dedicated as a natural preserve.  The Summit has also planted over 60,000 Appalachian hardwood trees and established native grasses on campsites to restore wildlife habitat.

"The Summit is a statement of Scouting's long-term commitment to sustainability," said Dan McCarty, director of the Summit.   "The evidence of that is reflected throughout the site in terms of energy and water conservation, recycling practices, reutilization, dedicated conservation areas, endangered species protection, and community engagement.   Our intent is that Scouts not only experience sustainability practices but, more importantly, make a commitment to those practices as they return home."

The Sustainability Treehouse is targeting the Living Building Challenge, known to be the world's most ambitious green building program.  The treehouse is designed to generate as much energy as it uses through an array of photovoltaic panels, wind turbines and geothermal energy.   The building also captures and treats rainwater and wastewater for an over "net zero" facility.

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