City of Knoxville celebrates first Energy Star-certified home projects

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
kfarley@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City of Knoxville celebrates first Energy Star-certified home projects

Posted: 06/30/2008
The City of Knoxville will celebrate completion of its first Energy Star-certified home projects with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 3339 Selma Avenue on Wednesday 2. The ceremony will be at 1:30 p.m. and will be hosted by the city’s Community Development Division. The home, owned by Ollie Goolsby, was rebuilt through Community Development’s Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program.

It is designed to help low and moderate income homeowners rebuild or renovate homes which have fallen into a state of disrepair. What makes this house different is that it is one of the first two Energy Star qualified homes completed as part of the program. “We’re really excited about this,” said Mayor Bill Haslam. “This is an effort to build better and more efficient homes, both environmentally and economically, and that translates into stronger neighborhoods.”

Haslam and Community Development Director Madeline Rogero said the two homes are just the beginning of a new initiative. “We have committed to having all of the replacement homes built in this program be certified as Energy Star homes,” Rogero said. “So this is something of an “energy independence” celebration for the city and Ms. Goolsby, which is appropriate for this week when we celebrate the 4 th of July.” The Energy Star program is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy aimed at increasing energy efficiency and protecting the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. An Energy Star home is one constructed to use fewer energy resources because it is built to use energy more efficiently and produces fewer emissions. It costs a little more, between $1500-$2000, but the homeowner will recoup that additional cost because of lower energy bills. 

Community Development Division's Owner Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program have built two Energy Star homes and plan on building more Energy Star-certified homes. More information is available on the ENERGY STAR website at www.energystar.gov.These two homes are among the first Energy Star certified homes in the city and Rogero said she hopes other builders will also seek the certification for houses they build. “This is something that helps homeowners, helps the environment, and it pays for itself,” she said. “This is something our city is happy to do in the houses that we are working on and we hope other contractors will also get involved in Energy Star.” The decision to make all the homes in the program reach Energy Star standards was reached in part because of the city’s Energy and Sustainability Task Force, which is seeking to reduce the City of Knoxville’s energy consumption, costs and emissions. “As part of that effort we looked at how we could make an impact in the houses that we are building,” said Tim Dimick, housing manager for Community Development. Community Development is also involved the construction of seven new houses being built in the Five Points neighborhood that will also qualify for Energy Star and LEED certification. Those homes are being built by the Knox Housing Partnership with funding supplied in part by the city and HUD. Community Development will rebuild between 10 and 20 houses annually as part of the Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program. To do that Community Development employees work with the homeowners to assess the needed repairs or need for a new home. It also helps them find the financial resources, like low-interest loans, needed to pay the mortgage and works with contractors hired to do the job. The Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee was the contractor that rebuilt Ms. Goolsby’s home as part of a project led by CAC’s Jason Estes. The other just completed Energy Star Home is on Boggs Street and was built by Stacy Trull of Deer Creek General Contractors. Wes Soward, of Efficient Building Solutions, was the Home Energy Rater that verified the homes met the Energy Star qualifications.A third Energy Star qualified house sponsored by the City is nearing completion.