Friday, November 1, 2013

Mayor Rogero Selected for President Obama's Climate Preparedness Task Force

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero has been selected as one of 26 governmental leaders to serve on a task force that will advise President Barack Obama on climate preparedness and resilience-building efforts.

The State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience was formed to develop key actions the Federal government can take to better support state, local and tribal preparedness and make recommendations on removing barriers to resilient investments, modernizing grant and loan programs, and developing information and tools to better serve communities.

President Obama announced plans for the task force in his Climate Action Plan, which was released in June.

“It is truly an honor to be selected for the Climate Preparedness and Resilience Task Force,” said Mayor Rogero. “Climate change is a real threat to our future, but working with government leaders across the country on solutions and sharing ideas with the Obama Administration on how to better sustain our communities can help to lessen the threat. The City of Knoxville has long been committed to clean energy and sustainability, and we welcome the opportunity to be a leader on this issue.”

The impacts of climate change pose threats to East Tennessee’s natural resources, local infrastructure, and economic sectors such as tourism and agriculture. The City has taken steps to both reduce its impact on climate and reduce the community’s vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change. For instance, efforts to improve the energy efficiency of municipal facilities lower the City’s greenhouse gas emissions, while projects to improve storm water management systems will help Knoxville better withstand extreme weather events that may result from climate change.

President Obama outlined his overall Climate Action Plan with three key pillars:

- Cut Carbon Pollution in America: The Obama Administration is putting in place tough new rules to cut carbon pollution to protect the health of children and move the economy toward American-made clean energy sources.

- Prepare the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change: The administration will help state and local governments strengthen roads, bridges, and shorelines to better protect people’s homes, businesses and way of life from severe weather.

- Lead International Efforts to Combat Global Climate Change and Prepare for its Impacts: The administration will help forge a global solution by galvanizing international action to significantly reduce emissions, prepare for climate impacts and drive progress through international negotiations.

The first meeting of the Task Force will be held at the White House in early December.

To learn more about the Climate Action Plan and Task Force, visit

You can learn more about the potential impacts of climate change in Tennessee by reading “Sustaining Tennessee in the Face of Climate Change: Grand Challenges and Opportunities,” a 2012 report from Sustainable Tennessee at

Friday, October 11, 2013

Centennial Conservation Expo October 12th!

The City of Knoxville's Centennial Conservation Expo celebration is Saturday, October 12th at Chilhowee Park and it promises a full slate of family-friendly events and entertainment. Among the highlights will be some special guests, live music, circus performers, children's games and activities, art exhibits, and displays from a host of conservation agencies and organizations.

The Centennial Conservation Expo will take place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12th, at Chilhowee Park. Admission and parking are free. The Expo will mark the 100th anniversary of the National Conservation Exposition of 1913, which ran for two months at Chilhowee Park and drew a million visitors. Some of the people involved in organizing that Exposition went on to help with the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and other significant local conservation efforts.

An opening ceremony at 11 a.m. will feature Mayor Madeline Rogero along with guests including keynote speaker Leila Pinchot, the great-granddaughter of legendary conservationist Gifford Pinchot. Gifford Pinchot was the first head of the U.S. Forest Service, under President Theodore Roosevelt, and also served as the chairman of the advisory board for the 1913 Conservation Exposition. Leila Pinchot recently received her doctorate in Natural Resources from the University of Tennessee, and she will talk about the legacy of the past century of conservation efforts here and elsewhere.

Also rumored to be attending are Theodore Roosevelt himself, and the long-lost Prophet of the Smokies. The Prophet was a mainstay of Knoxville public events during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but he has not been seen in public since 1916.

Visit or for up to date information.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Tennessee Energy Education Initiative: Multifamily

Register now for this free event on energy efficiency in multifamily housing.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Be Part of the Action

PlanET needs your help again!

From May 28 through June 28, community members will be asked to evaluate a set of goals and objectives that will serve as the framework for the development of an action strategy, which will serve as a guide for communities—and the region as a whole—as we seek to reach or vision for 2040.

Over the last 18 months, PlanET has asked residents to share their visions for East Tennessee. The strength of the volunteer spirit is evident in the number of people who have answered that call; nearly 6,000 people have helped shape a vision for the future of the region.

Four central themes emerged at the heart of this vision:

 Build strong towns
 Grow quality places
 Improve health of people and places
 Expand choices for all

Over the next month, PlanET is asking for community members to contribute their thoughts on the best approaches to help the region turn this vision into reality.

What is the best way to grow more local food and support agriculture in the region? What are the best ways to expand transportation and housing options for all of our community members? How does the region grow dynamic, walkable destinations in suburban centers? Round four participants will be asked to answer these questions and more.

To encourage as much participation as possible, PlanET will again offer two ways to provide input. Individuals may visit the PlanET website and work through the materials online anytime they want, anywhere they want. Neighborhood associations, civic organization, or other groups can hold a Meeting in a Box at a time and location of their choice and with or without a PlanET facilitator.

Details of each method are available on the PlanET website.

To schedule a Meeting in a Box or for questions about how to use the online community input tool, contact the outreach coordinator:

Sherith Colverson
(865) 215-4396

Thursday, May 9, 2013

City Surplus Property For Sale

The city is holding its first ever auction of properties acquired in past tax sales on 05/15/13.

Attached is a list of surplus city property selling for as little as $200 (minimum bid) next week. The auction is at 10 AM in the Small Assembly Room in the City County Building. The bidding process will be explained when you arrive.

If there is any interest in gardens on any of these parcels, please check the zoning here

If a rezone needs to be requested, Jake or Susanna can help walk you through that process.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

USGBC Needs Help

Sixteen people needed to be a VOLUNTEER at USGBC East Tennessee’s GREEN+GO Sustainable Green Tour on Saturday, May 4.

• Get a hands-on look at some of Knoxville’s most cutting-edge in efficient green design
• Help teach the general public about sustainable buildings!

Job Description:
• Report to one of the open house tour locations for a 9-12 shift or a 12-2 shift on Saturday, May 4
• Work with a team to greet visitors, check-in guests, and give short tours
• Refreshments and training are provided

• No expertise required - anyone with an interest in sustainability can help!

Sign up today!
• 865-208-7887

Monday, April 29, 2013

East Tennessee’s First Annual GREEN + GO Sustainable Tour (AIA/GBCI Credit)

Get a hands on look at some of Knoxville’s most cutting-edge in sustainable and green design on Saturday, May 4, 2013!

This open-house format tour will educate tour goers on systems and designs that make up some of Knoxville’s ‘greenest’ buildings, which are healthier, more durable, use fewer resources and save on operations and maintenance costs.

Tour goers will see up to eight (8) structures in a wide price range and building size in or near Downtown Knoxville. Each stop will have on-site experts plus educational materials on sustainable features, economic savings, and construction details.

Featuring guided tours of:

 Scripps Networks Interactive Headquarters (LEED Gold)
 UT’s Ayres Hall’s Historic LEED Renovation (LEED Silver)
 The Knoxville Transit Center (LEED Silver)
 Three Rivers Market (Designed to meet 2010 LEED Retail NC criteria)
 Ijams Nature Center Solar Array
 Sustainable Future Net Zero Office
 The UT Solar Decathlon House
 East Town Mall Spectrum Solar Exhibit

The tour is open and FREE to the public (RSVP required) and offers 2 AIA and 2 GBCI credits with paid admission. Once registered, attendees will receive a booklet with information concerning the tours, including a map with directions to each tour location.

COST: Free, $15/$25 for two with CEU
WHEN: May 4, 2013 from 9am-2pm
WHERE: In and around downtown Knoxville, TN

To RSVP for the tour, visit the Green+Go Eventbrite Page or contact USGBC-ET at 865-208-7887 and

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Urban Gardening Video Contest

One of our partners sent this, and we're passing it on to you:

Tell your urban food story at the American Community Gardening Association's first-ever amateur video festival!

Storytellers of all ages are invited to submit short (3-minute) videos that tell their personal tales about growing food in backyard gardens, community gardens, urban farms, and other community food projects.

Selected participants will have their videos screened at the ACGA 2013 Conference in Seattle, WA. Attendance at the ACGA Conference is not required for those wishing to submit a film. Kids and young adults are especially encouraged to submit videos.

Submission deadline is July 8, 2013. Read more here. Email with questions.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lights Out: Earth Hour March 23rd

On Saturday, March 23rd at 8:30 p.m., thousands of cities around the world will go dark for one hour during Earth Hour, WWF's annual campaign that raises awareness on environmental challenges we all face, such as climate change.

Many residents of Knoxville are turning out lights and urging our community to take part in Earth Hour. Here's how:

1. Turn off all non-essential lights in and around our government buildings
2. Promote the event and encourage landmarks and businesses in our community to join in

The City of Knoxville has participated for the last 3 years and is already an Earth Hour City Challenger.

The Earth Hour City Challenge provides a software into which the Sustainability Office is uploading City of Knoxville energy consumption data in order to better organize and understand the City's energy consumption by commodity (gas, electric, water) and subsequent CO2 emissions.

With the assistance of the EHCC-provided software and a software called Utility Trac Plus, we are compiling a comprehensive data set to update our energy inventory baseline and identify opportunities for energy efficiency improvements.

To best accomdate emergency services operated by the City, lights out in the City County Building will be at 7:00 PM, March 23rd, instead of 8:30 PM.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Edible Forest and Green The Block 2013

Seeed plans to dedicate the month of March to greening the blocks of inner-city Knoxville.

Saturday, March 16, 2013, Seeed will plant its Edible Forest at the Morning Side Community Center from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

In addition to planting the fruit trees, Seeed will complete five other projects : renovating the basketball court, painting retainer wall, clearing fence line, building raised beds, and laying wood chip path.

Sunday March 17, 2013, Seeed will hold its 3rd Annual “Green the Block” from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Seeed will give away over 70 fruit trees in order to spread the Edible Forest all around inner-city Knoxville while finishing up any projects not completed Saturday.


Seeed has been giving the chance to receive a $2,000 matching grant for the maintenance of the Edible Forest. As a fundraising effort to raise our $2,000, Seeed needs your help finding sponsors to purchase a fruit tree for $43 a tree and have your tree named after you in the Edible Forest or donated to an inner-city family member.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Get Involved

1.) 24th Annual River Rescue
A community action event, coordinated by Ijams Nature Center, which involves hundreds of volunteers. This annual cleanup covers 50 miles of Tennessee River shoreline and the streams that flow into it.

2.) Adopt a Stream
With a bit of adult leadership/supervision, there are a number of Streams that could be adopted in Knoxville.

3.) Free Rain Garden Workshops
March 7, 9, 14: How to create and maintain a home rain garden.

4.) City Neighborhood Conference:

The Neighborhood Conference to be held in three weeks at the Knoxville Convention Center is meant to strengthen neighborhoods and neighborhood organizations. All 32 of the workshops and 40 information booths at the conference are designed to help achieve this goal. Just for example:

• Neighborhoods are more livable, and neighborhood organizations more effective, when neighbors get along with each other. The session on “Disputes between Neighbors” will suggest effective ways to handle disputes before they escalate into long-term conflict.

• In the session on parks and greenways, the parks & recreation directors for the city and county will provide details on all city and county recreation programs, which can help to keep our youth occupied and out of mischief.

• Just like many other communities across the nation, Knoxville and Knox County have experienced an influx of new neighbors from other countries, particularly those in Central and South America. The “New Neighbors, New Opportunities” session will address myths about and suggest ways to reach out to these new neighbors.

• When it comes to money, neighborhood groups are like any other non-profit: Manage it badly, and your organization can suffer. The session on “Managing Money without Controversy or Suspicion” provides professional advice to help your organization earn everyone’s trust.

• To have money to manage, you have to know how to raise it. “Grassroots Fundraising” will help your group develop some independent fund-raising skills.

• A variety of city and county agencies, along with nonprofit groups, will offer a wealth of information at the 40 exhibition booths at the conference. This is information that can be useful to individual neighbors as well as neighborhood organizations.

Two hundred people have now registered for the conference. To guarantee your participation, browse to to download the program and register on line. Or call 215-3456 to have material mailed to you.

*** Admission to the conference is free and open to anyone interested in neighborhood improvement.

*** Online registration ends at noon Tuesday, March 19. Your registration must be in hand by that time to guarantee a free box lunch. Early registration also ensures that you get into the workshops you want.

*** When you register online, you should receive a confirmation email. If you did not receive this email, call Eden Slater at 215-3456 to make sure you are registered.

*** The conference ends at 3 p.m. after a drawing for door prizes. Door prize tickets are obtained by participating in the workshops.

5.) Be a Beardsley Volunteer:

Every year about 1,000 volunteers come to Beardsley Community Farm! Without the help of our many amazing and generous volunteers, Beardsley Farm would not be able to donate 4,000 lbs of fresh, healthy produce to local food pantries. Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn a wide range of gardening skills, such as composting, seed saving, beekeeping, basic construction, and everything in-between. We need your help and we welcome volunteers of all ages and skill levels to get involved.

Volunteer hours are Monday-Friday, 9 AM – 4 PM

- Beardsley Groups:

Beardsley Community Farm also works with youth and adult groups from schools, colleges, religious organizations, greek organizations, businesses, etc. We ask that large volunteer groups schedule with us at least a week in advance.

- Receive College Credit:

Beardsley Community Farm also welcomes volunteers seeking college credit internships. Internships typically last 90 hours, but may vary per college. Check with your institution to see if you can receive credit for interning at Beardsley!
To start volunteering, message them through their contact page or call 865-546-8446.

6) Schedule a clean up with Keep Knoxville Beautiful

This is a good quarterly/annual activity for any civic-minded group.

7) Transportation Options – Use these and encourage others to as well

Ride the bus
Ride a bike
Use ZipCar

All of these can help improve our air quality when used in lieu of a personal single occupancy vehicle trip.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Zipcar is here!

Zipcar is launching their service in Knoxville starting on Wednesday, February 20th.

To commemorate the event, Zipcar will be available to anyone who wants to chat with their team starting at 10am in Market Square and free lunch to the first 400 people to stop by after 11:30am (courtesy Tomato Head).
Mayor Rogero will announce the partnership at 10:30am at the Bill Lyons Pavilion at Market Square.

Check out how Zipcar works at or see how it could benefit your business here.

If you still have questions, head to Market Square and the team will be happy to answer all of your questions.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tennessee Clean Fuels invites you to attend


A FREE business seminar and vehicle showcase on the economics and practicality of implementing clean, alternative fuels in today’s fleets Get a closer look at propane, biofuels, natural gas and EV, along with your questions answered by the experts on cost, safety,maintenance and fueling considerations.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013
9AM – 12Noon
9AM 10AM Vehicle Showcase
10AM – 12Noon Seminar/Presentations


Knoxville, Tennessee
Tennessee Smokies Stadium
Double Play Cafe
3540 Line Drive Kodak, TN 37764


Register here or call 678‐810‐0929


Tennessee Department of Transportation
Tennessee State Energy Office
East Tennessee Clean Fuels
Ferrell Gas | Force 911 | Westport | EFACEC

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sustainable Zoo on its Way!

Knoxville Zoo is starting to take some serious steps towards becoming a sustainable operation. Look for a 50 kW system on the elephant barn this spring, funded by local Wamplers and installed by local Aries.

Those interested in solar installations can attend a workshop at the zoo on January 26, 8:30 AM.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

City Sustainability - A Look Back...and Ahead

Knoxville’s Energy & Sustainability Initiative is helping define a new paradigm for Knoxville’s development: one that reduces energy consumption while enhancing the quality and competitiveness of our community.

Sustainability staff discusses the following activities within an economic framework: energy retrofits free up tax dollars for uses other than electricity, and positively impact the health of the community by directly reducing local air pollution.


• Mayor appointed the City’s first Energy and Sustainability Task Force
• Transit Center designed for LEED platinum certification (green roof, geothermal, solar)


• City upgraded stoplights to LED, avoiding $250,000 annually in energy costs
• City piloted LED streetlight project on Wall Ave. with Beta fixtures in partnership with TVA
• Community and government data gathering began for energy baseline inventory
• Knoxville won DOE Solar City Designation


• DOE funded Sustainability Coordinator position for 2 years
• $300,000 in grant and leveraged funds designated to grow the local solar economy
• 2,326 contractors trained in solar and renewable energy applications
• Local solar capacity rose from ~30 kW to over 1 MW during 3 year life of solar grant
• Energy Baseline Inventory and Reduction Goals document was released
• Recovery Act funded Sustainability Program Manager and ~$2,000,000 for energy and sustainability related projects


• $19,000,000 13 year guaranteed savings energy performance contract executed
• 146 Contractors trained in green building best practices and energy code updates
• 99 city facility retrofits completed, generating $1,100,000 annual energy savings
• Fire Stations updated with new HVAC units
• Curbside recycling for 20,000 implemented
• 19 middle income homes retrofitted for energy efficiency
• Single stream recycling begins in city facilities
• City’s first Energy & Sustainability Work Plan is created with 6 working groups


• $270,000 in energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives launched
• Co-authored the EPA Green Book with the National Academies
• Co-authored Accelerating Transition to Sustainability book with Environmental Law Inst.
• Founded Southeast Sustainability Director’s Network with Asheville, NC
• DOE SunShot: Rooftop Solar Challenge won and started
• Implementation of 12 items from City Energy & Sustainability Work Plan began


• Became an official, locally funded Office of Sustainability
• Convention Center LEED certified
• Installed the 90 kW 3rd party solar model at the convention center
• Became a DOE Better Buildings Challenge Partner
• Installed 24 public electric vehicle charging stations in partnership with DOE & ORNL
• Began monthly measurement and verification of local energy consumption
• Pathway Lending Mayor’s Challenge announced: $10,000,000 designated for Knoxville
• Won IBM Smart City Challenge for residential energy efficiency measures
• Top 20 for Bloomberg Mayors Challenge for urban agriculture food corridor idea
• Became an Earth Hour City Challenge participant with World Wildlife Fund
• Won TDEC Infrastructure grant application for new stormwater permitting best practices


New Pursuits

• DOE Home Energy Score Pilot letter of intent with the Energy Foundation
• UTK Service Learning grant application to the EPA and program development


• Urban Agriculture: Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge grant idea development (January)
• IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant team coordination (February)
• Continue Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program research and development
• Continue co-chairing the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network
• Continue partnering with IMT on development of a local energy policy

Will Finish

• Implement Zipcar car share program implementation in downtown and campus
• Wrap up Sustainable Communities HUD grant
• Incentivize commuting in city employee benefits
• Update TIF/Pilot application language for sustainable building practices