City Receives Green Leadership Award

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City Receives Green Leadership Award

Posted: 06/15/2009
The City of Knoxville will receive the 2009 Tennessee Municipal League Achievement Award for Excellence in Green Leadership Tuesday during the TML's 70th Annual Conference in Chattanooga. 

The recognition comes less than two years after the city created its Energy & Sustainability Task Force and charged it with developing a concrete plan to make the city's government more energy efficient and energy expenditures.

As part of that effort the City of Knoxville was selected as one of only three DOE Solar Cities in the Southeast, is readying a comprehensive program of energy and water efficiency upgrades for city facilities that will save millions of dollars over time and was recognized in a New York Times article earlier this year as being better prepared than most American cities to effectively use federal energy stimulus dollars. 

"We're very pleased to be recognized by the TML," said Mayor Bill Haslam. "Through the Energy & Sustainability Initiative we're reducing energy consumption and costs while having a positive impact on the environment. This is good public policy and it's what our residents want to see." 
The city's solar power initiative played a prominent role in Knoxville being chosen for the award.

Due to its status as a Solar America City, Knoxville has received more than $500,000 so far in funding and technical assistance from the DOE, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and TVA to develop a sustainable solar energy infrastructure by reducing barriers to the increased installation of solar technologies.
"There is a strong interest in solar energy in Tennessee but relatively few people know enough about the technologies to seriously consider installing them on their homes or businesses," said Erin Burns, the city's Sustainability Coordinator. "We're getting the word out through public educational outreach efforts, training programs and workshops for individuals and businesses." 

The city is currently partnering with Knox Heritage in the restoration of a Victorian-era house on the edge of the Fort Sanders Neighborhood and World's Fair Park. Using grant funding the partnership expects to install three different solar technologies to help make the restored home a showplace of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. 
"The partnership with Knox Heritage is truly innovative in that it combines LEED-certification and solar power with a historic renovation," said Gil Melear-Hough of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the project coordinator.

Madeleine Weil, Deputy Director for Policy & Communications, said the city wants to be a model for the state and region in terms of energy and sustainability. 
"We're grateful to TML for recognizing Knoxville's work in this area and we look forward to sharing good ideas and lessons learned with other cities in Tennessee," she said.

Knoxville's partners in the Solar America Cities Program include: DOE, TVA, the Knoxville Utilities Board, ORNL, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Florida Solar Energy Center, Knoxville Area Transit, PBA and Ijams Nature Center.