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

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