Maryville College's Good Wood

The furnace only runs from October to April when steam heat is needed. The other five months of the year it's dormant. McCall says that during the summer, the maintenance crew works on the furnace and makes sure it is up to snuff for the next winter. He wishes the college could find use for the wood-fired furnace during the summer months.

And of course, the college is always at the mercy of the market. "If the construction industry slows, it means I'm not getting wood," McCall says.

However, the college and the environment have benefited from this alternative energy source for the last 20 years. McCall says, "It's safer for the environment than burning coal, oil or gas; it's using a waste product from industries; and it's a renewable energy source - trees can be regrown."

When it comes to energy sources, it seems that almost-200-year-old Maryville College is on the alternative edge.

Alyson Neville Knight is a sign language interpreter and a graduate student in public relations at the University of Tennessee. She is a 1993 graduate of Maryville College and tries her best to be a responsible citizen of Planet Earth