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DOT officials celebrate first NC "green" rest area

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NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. -- North Carolina's first "green" rest area will minimize traditional electric and water usage in favor of environmentally friendly alternatives. Transportation Secretary Gene Conti and others held a ceremony Thursday at the new combination rest stop and visitor center on U.S. Highway 421 North in North Wilkesboro. Conti said the building will be about 40 percent more efficient than traditional rest areas, It uses natural light and solar panels to heat water and generate power. Rainwater collection and a geothermal heat pump also will reduce the need for outside water and energy. There's a Web page where Internet users can track the savings attributed to the stop's environmental design. Construction on the $12 million, 10,000-square foot building began in January 2008. (Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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