Charleston has new ‘Green Team’ to lead sustainability efforts

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The City of Charleston is on its way to becoming greener.

On Tuesday Mayor Amy Goodwin appointed members of the newly-created Green Team. Emmett Pepper will be chair.

Pepper is a lawyer in downtown Charleston, but he’s the policy director of Energy Efficient West Virginia.

He’s now bringing his expertise to help businesses become greener to the city.

“We have a lot of really smart people who know a lot about ways to be more sustainable and so this is a way to utilize them,” he said.

He’s joined by seven other citizen volunteers who come from entities like the West Virginia Land Trust, the West Virginia DEP, and the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority.

One of Pepper’s ideas is to make city buildings more energy-efficient.

“And figure out which ones have opportunities to save taxpayer money by reducing the amount of energy that’s being used,” he said.

This could include upgrading heating and cooling equipment, ceilings, and light bulbs.

“I think the biggest issue is what to do with materials collected by the city,” said Rod Watkins.

Watkins joins the Green Team as a former board member for the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority.

He says he wants to keep recycling in Charleston and not send materials all the way to Beckley.

“I think there’s a real opportunity to manufacture some kinds of products locally from those recycled products, and that would be something I would really like to see happen,” he said.

Linda Frame also joins the Green Team and is currently the president of the West Virginia Environmental Council.

Frame says she wants to do more citizen outreach.

“I think most people I talk to would like to participate in the city’s curbside recycling program but are confused as to what’s accepted, what they should be putting out on their curb,” said Frame.

Whether it’s recycling, energy efficiency, or reducing litter around the city, none have an easy fix, says Pepper.

But, he says the Green Team is a start.

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