Green Entrepreneur Offers Energy Solutions to NC High Country

Story by Sarah Vig

Kent Hively

Kent Hively

Boone, N.C. resident Kent Hively says he considers himself a “green collar worker,” but in truth, he’s also somewhat of a green entrepreneur.

Hively started his business High Country Energy Solutions five years ago, before the term “green jobs” was the buzzword it is today. He had learned about alternative energy as a college student in Appalachian State University’s appropriate technology and sustainable development degree programs, and after graduation worked with an engineer designing heating and cooling systems.

But Hively wanted to expand his horizons to include a number of different alternative energy projects. He says the goal of his business is to “help people in the Appalachian region find energy-efficient options in residential homes.” To this end, his business offers a number of services including energy audits, weatherization, insulation, air sealing, solar thermal water heating and solar-heated radiant floor heating, photovoltaic installation, microhydro and wind.

As might be expected, the green “buzz” that’s been generated over the last year has definitely been good for business. “When people know what they’re asking for, they’re more likely to ask for it,” he explained.

When he started the business he had to do “virtually everything” himself: take calls, do consultations, keep the books, do installations, conduct energy audits and more. Since then, his business has grown; he now has eight employees on his payroll. He says he hopes that money from the congressional stimulus package, which included $6.2 billion for weatherization of low-income homes, will go to companies like his so he can continue to grow. “It’s important for people to know that it’s possible to do a job that’s socially just and still economically viable,” Hively said.

For more information, visit or call (828) 265-2683.

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