Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Progress Update

Here's a brief update on some of the work we've been doing so far in 2011:

1.) We compiled and fleshed out the content of the Energy & Sustainability work plan many of you spent so much of your time contributing to during 2010, and have turned it into a solid working draft document. In December, Knoxville was asked to serve on a National Academies committee on incorporating sustainability into the U.S. EPA, so to take advantage of working closely with national and international sustainability experts, the draft will be circulated for comment as soon as what we're learning from that experience can be rolled into our plan as well. Additionally, we are closing in on metrics and a model to track our progress, so implementation will have measurable results.

2.) The East Tennessee Quality Growth group has been hard at work developing a spring conference - March 30-31 are the dates, at the convention center.

3.) The Solar America Cities Grant is in its final months, with a 100-fold increase in grid connected solar since 2007. Jake Tisinger, our Sustainability Coordinator who is currently funded through that grant will now be funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) through 2012, so we are fortunate DOE was flexible with that.

4.) The City has hit all of the DOE EECBG spend deadlines to date, and the work is 36% complete. Highlights so far include:

- Weatherization of 19 local homes;
- 11 HVAC replacement in City Fire Stations;
- Earthcraft training will be available for free February 28 and March 1, and Energy Code Training dates are April 20-21 (865-539-7167 to register);
- Rollout of the City's single stream curbside recycling program marketing campaign for sign-ups starting in May; and
- Contract drafting for CAC administration of a 2011 solar and appliance rebate program, and contract drafting for third party financed solar on the convention center in progress.

5.) An Electric Vehicle Hosting Partners Forum will be at the Chamber February 24 from 10 AM to 12 PM. Interested parties can attend to learn about hosting a charging station. City right of way locations for both solar and non-solar electric vehicle infrastructure have been assessed and the contract with ECOtaility is being negotiated currently. Installation schedules are dependant on final DOE approvals.

6.) Knoxville's Transportation Planning Authority was awarded a grant to supplement a car-share program; the City and UTK will partner with them to host parking spaces on campus and downtown for those vehicles. That request for qualifications will be posted on TPO's website soon.