The Biltmore Estate, energy efficient?

It is the largest and perhaps most famous private residence in the nation. When it was completed back in the 1890s by the Vanderbilt family, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, incorporated the latest technology of the time. Today, the Vanderbilt family continues that legacy.

TRANSCRIPT

IT IS THE LARGEST AND PERHAPS MOST FAMOUS PRIVATE RESIDENCE IN THE NATION, AND WHEN IT WAS COMPLETED BACK IN THE 1890s BY THE VANDERBILT FAMILY, BILTMORE ESTATE IN ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, INCORPORATED THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY OF THE TIME.

TODAY, THE VANDERBILT FAMILY CONTINUES THAT LEGACY.

HERE'S THE STORY.

GEORGE VANDERBILT INCLUDED THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY WHEN HE BUILT HIS ICONIC HOUSE IN ASHEVILLE.

IN BETWEEN THOSE 250 ROOMS AND FOUR ACRES OF FLOOR SPACE, THE NATION'S LARGEST HOME WAS WIRED FOR ELECTRICITY.

PRETTY AMAZING CONSIDERING ELECTRICITY WAS PRETTY RARE IN 1895.

OH, AND ONE OTHER THING.

VANDERBILT DESIGNED HIS ESTATE TO BE SUSTAINABLE.

HE WAS BUILDING A SELF-SUFFICIENT ESTATE, SO IF YOU THINK ABOUT ALL THE EMPLOYEES THAT WERE HERE, EVERYTHING THAT WAS HAPPENING, HE NEEDED TO FEED EVERYBODY, SO HE HAD A BIG PRODUCTION GARDEN TO FEED THE HOUSE, TO FEED THE EMPLOYEES.

HE NEEDED TO BE ABLE TO POWER THE HOUSE, SO HE HAD A GENERATOR IN THE BASEMENT TO BE ABLE TO POWER IT.

HE NEEDED TO PRODUCE AN INCOME, SO HE DID SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY MANAGEMENT ON THE ESTATE.

SO, IT'S NOT SURPRISING THAT ON NINE ACRES OF ESTATE LAND, OUT OF VIEW OF THE MAIN HOUSE BUT WITHIN EYESIGHT OF THE CATTLE GRAZING, YOU FIND THE LATEST IN BILTMORE'S SUSTAINABILITY DRIVE.

7,000 SOLAR PANELS GENERATING 1.7 MEGAWATTS OF ELECTRICITY COVER THE HILLSIDE.

BUT THEY ARE AT AN ANGLE THAT WILL GIVE YOU THE MOST SUNLIGHT.

WE'RE ALSO IN AN AREA THAT THERE'S NO SHADE COVERAGE, SO WE TEND TO GET -- WHEN THERE'S SUN, WE GET ALL OF IT.

THE PANELS GENERATE ENOUGH POWER TO OFFSET ABOUT 20% OF THE ESTATE'S NEEDS, INCLUDING BILTMORE HOUSE, HOTELS, AND RESTAURANTS.

PUT ANOTHER WAY -- IT'S ENOUGH POWER FOR ROUGHLY 200 HOMES.

HAD SOLAR POWER BEEN AROUND WHEN GEORGE VANDERBILT BUILT HIS HOUSE, IT IS LIKELY HE WOULD HAVE INSTALLED THEM.

AFTER ALL, HE PUSHED THE TECHNOLOGY ON EVERYTHING ELSE.

BUT THIS WORKED SO WELL, BILTMORE DECIDED TO CONTINUE ITS SUSTAINABILITY PUSH ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE PROPERTY.

THIS IS CANOLA SEED.

THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE AFTER IT'S HARVESTED WITH A COMBINE, THE SAME KIND OF MACHINE THAT YOU HARVEST ANY CROP WITH.

YOU CAN SEE IT'S VERY TINY AND IT'S VERY OILY.

CANOLA IS A MUSTARD, AND VERY, VERY SMALL SEEDS.

BUT THEY'RE VERY RICH IN OIL.

IN FACT, ABOUT HALF OF THAT TINY CANOLA SEED IS OIL.

THAT MIGHT NOT SEEM LIKE MUCH.

THE SEED IS REALLY LITTLE.

BUT THE ESTATE GROWS ABOUT 50 ACRES OF CANOLA BUSHES.

PLANTED IN THE FALL, HARVESTED IN THE SPRING, AND IT PRODUCES ROUGHLY 2,500 BUSHELS OF CANOLA SEEDS.

THE CANOLA MEAL COMES OUT OF THE BIN.

AND IT GOES UPSTAIRS THROUGH A CLEANER, THEN COMES DOWN THROUGH THAT PIPE THAT'S GOING INTO THIS BIN RIGHT HERE IN FRONT OF US.

THAT IS THE CRUSHER.

YOU SEE THOSE ROUND GRINDERS ON THE BOTTOM.

THOSE ROTATE AS THE SEED IS COMING THROUGH, AND CANOLA MEAL, THE BY-PRODUCT, IS EXPELLED, AND THE OIL GOES DOWN THE TROUGH AND THEN THROUGH OUR TUBES INTO OUR STORAGE TANK.

THE CRUSHED SEEDS ARE MADE INTO CANOLA MEAL FOR LIVESTOCK.

THE OIL IS PUT INTO A WASH.

BASICALLY YOU PUT YOUR OIL IN, YOU ADD WATER, METHOXIDE, METHANOL, AND IT GOES THROUGH SEVERAL STAGES, AND AT THE END OF THE PROCESS, YOU HAVE YOUR BIODIESEL THAT IS READY TO GO.

THE ENTIRE PROCESS FITS INTO THIS 100-YEAR-OLD BARN, AND IT PRODUCES ABOUT 25,000 GALLONS OF BIODIESEL.

THAT'S ENOUGH TO POWER THE ESTATE'S 60 PIECES OF FARM EQUIPMENT AND HAVE SOME EXTRA OIL TO SPARE.

I'M LOOKING AT THESE TWO.

THIS IS JUST A BIT DARKER.

A BIT MORE GOLDEN.

THAT DARKER LIQUID IS CANOLA OIL.

THE LIGHTER OIL IS BIODIESEL, AND AS YOU'LL LOOK AT THIS LATEST EFFORT IN BILTMORE'S SUSTAINABILITY, YOU GET THE FEELING GEORGE VANDERBILT WOULD BE PROUD.

FROM THE CANOLA PLANT, YOU'RE GONNA GET A BEAUTIFUL, BLOOMING FIELD IN THE SPRING, MADE INTO BIOFUEL, MEAL FOR YOUR LIVESTOCK, YOUR CANOLA OIL, WHICH CAN BE USED IN YOUR FRYERS OR FOR SALADS, AND THEN GLYCERIN FOR SOAP.

IT'S PRETTY NEAT.

IT'S PRETTY EFFICIENT.