An environmental resource for East Tennessee Business

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Knox County organizations aiming for lower or zero waste events can now get a free helping hand from Keep Knoxville Beautiful.

Thanks to a grant from the Alcoa Foundation, KBB now offers an Event Recycling Trailer that holds 35 recycling containers and bags to be set up throughout any event.

The group can also help with planning a reduced-waste or waste-free event, said Allison Teeters, KBB executive director.

In addition to the recycling containers, the trailer includes bags, event signage, instructions, a fold out table and stop litter information.

KBB is also accepting sponsors for the trailer, which will feature their logos on the back.

For more information or to schedule an event visit the Keep Knoxville Beautiful website.

In June of this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed new guidelines regulating emissions from existing power plants under the Clean Air Act.

The public can learn how these new regulations could affect Tennessee and the Southeast at the EPA Clean Power Plan forum, presented by the Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee 1-5 p.m. August 26.

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The public is invited to learn about solar energy and its impact on Tennessee at the Community Solar Fair 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, July 19 at Knoxville Center Mall.

The University of Tennessee presents its SPECTRUM interactive solar exhibit, which illustrates how solar energy is powering states and creating new jobs across the U.S. and in Tennessee.

At 10:30 a.m., ARiES Energy will present information on installing solar panels on your home, including the process, pay-back period, impact on electricity bills, and more.


Learn about Tennessee Valley Authority's Green Power Providers program at 11:30 a.m. The program provides technical support and incentives for the installation of renewable generation facilities like solar to residential and commercial customers.

Children's activities and games will take place from noon to 1 p.m. The Muse Knoxville will be on-hand to provide fun STEM activities.

Representatives from all three organizations will be available for questions during the event.

Lisa New hesitated to have the Knoxville Zoo take part in the GoGreenET Business Recognition Program because she, its board and staff have a lot they still want to accomplish to make the zoo sustainable.

Sustainability, however, for most of us is a journey. None of us have the resources to make improvements overnight -- it's generally one step at a time and those steps vary depending on the time, money and attention we can spend at any given time.

The GoGreenET program is about recognizing that all of us can play a role in making our community greener.

The program's Green Achievers have downloaded the survey form GoGreenET.com that outlines 100-plus ways organizations can reduce their carbon footprint. Each checked at least one item in each category and scored at least 30 points -- most many more.

More than 100 private companies, nonprofit organizations and government agencies have taken the GoGreenET challenge in the program's fourth year.

Thanks to sponsors KUB, the Knoxville Chamber and Thermocopy for their continuing support.

In particular, we've highlighted several organizations that have undertaken initiatives that others can model to create their own. Their stories are below.

Knoxville Locomotive Works - Startup manufacturer's locomotive powers efforts cut emissions

Gerdau Knoxville Mill - Steel rebar manufacturer aims for zero landfill waste

Knoxville Zoo - Zoo reduces its own energy use, footprint

Oak Ridge Associated Universities - Two-day event at ORAU collects 10,000 pounds of trash

A full list of participating organizations is below, or find them on our Green Achievers page.

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The Solutions Project, using data from Stanford University, aims to show that using wind, water and solar to power the United States' energy needs can make economic and environmental sense.

So what would Tennessee look like if the state transitioned to 100 percent renewable energy?

According to the organization, by 2050 Tennessee's energy mix would look something like this:

6 percent - residential rooftop solar
69 percent - solar photovoltaic plants
5 percent - concentrated solar plants
10 percent - wind energy
6 percent - commercial/government rooftop solar
4 percent - hydroelectric

Through these changes and energy efficiency improvements, TSP projects a 38 percent drop in energy demand. Under its calculations, this and other savings could pay for the plan in as little as 14 years.

Each state has its own particular mix of energy needs.  For more on the Tennessee plan and other states, see thesolutionsproject.org

galbreath.jpgDodd Galbreath, head of the Institute for Sustainable Practice at Lipscomb University, right, with students and solar panels

Dodd Galbreath, head of the Institute for Sustainable Practice at Lipscomb University, will discuss sustainability practices in European and American culture 7 p.m. April 10 at the Pollard Auditorium in Oak Ridge.

The sustainability report is cosponsored by Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning and the Oak Ridge Environmental Quality Advisory Board.

Galbreath's presentation will showcase photographs and technical information from his tour of European sustainability sites, as well as lessons learned during four years of leading travel courses in Vermont and New England.

Topics to be covered will include history and practices involving food, energy, waste, water, transportation, land, building, communities, and culture.

For more information call Sandra Goss, TCWP executive director, at 865-583-3967.

Elizabeth Eason, principal of Elizabeth Eason Architecture in KNoxville, has been named a 2013 LEED Fellow by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Eason was one of 51 honorees chosen worldwide.

The LEED Fellow designation is the highest awarded by the USGBC and recognizes LEED professionals who make significant contributions to green building and sustainability at a regional, national or global level.

The firm's local LEED projects include work on the Shelton Group's Knoxville office, a downtown building renovation that aimed for LEED Silver; the Blueberry Ridge senior housing development seeking a platinum or gold rating; and the Lonsdale Homes project which is being built to the LEED for Homes certification specs.

Ed McMahon, a national consultant on sustainable development, will be the next speaker for the ETcompetes series presented by the Plan East Tennessee Consortium.

He is the author or coauthor of 15 books including Conservation Communities: Creating Value with Nature, Open Space, and Agriculture, a guide for urban planning professionals.

McMahon, senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C., presents "Secrets of Successful Communities" 10:30-11:30 a.m. March 27 at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay St. He will discuss building a prosperous community and how to take inventory of community assets as part of a development vision.

Other topics include:

  • What's next in real estate?
  • Calculating the economic benefits of preserving and enhancing community character
  • Changes in the retail paradigm
  • Economic changes and effective solutions

AIA and GBCI continuing education credits available.

RSVP required to Julie.ETQG@gmail.com or dori.caron@knoxmpc.org.

PlanET is a regional planning collaboration among East Tennessee local governments and organizations that seeks to establish a framework for potential growth in the region that addresses challenges regarding jobs, housing, transportation, a clean environment, and community health.

The latest updates from the city of Knoxville's Office of Sustainability show reductions in emissions and energy use both for city operations and the community as a whole.

The city's Energy and Sustainability Initiative, now in its seventh year, measures energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions through sustainability improvements for Knoxville. The eventual goal is a 20 percent reduction by 2020.

As a municipality, the city reduced its energy consumption by 6.5 percent. Greenhouse gas emissions associated with city operations fell 13 percent.

At the community level, the emissions associated with energy use, transportation and waste management fell 7.8 percent from 2005 levels.

"These savings reflect the success of projects like the city's conversion of traffic signals to LED technology and energy efficiency upgrades at city buildings," said Jake Tisinger, Project Manager for the Office of Sustainability, in a press release. "Residents and businesses are using less energy than in 2005, and improved fuel economy and cleaner electricity generation have helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

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Japanese manufacturer Sharp Corp. will stop solar panel production in Tennessee and at a U.K. plant in Wales this year as it restructures its solar business, according to Tokyo-based reporter Chisaki Watanabe of Bloomberg.

A Sharp representative said output at the Memphis plant will stop by the end of March. The plant employs about 450 people, 300 of which are involved in the manufacture of solar panels.

The plant will continue making other electronics such as microwaves.

In 2010 Efficient Energy of Tennessee used panels from the Sharp plant to open the first 1 megawatt solar installation in the region at the solar farm on Andrew Johnson Highway in East Knox County.

Photo: Sharp's southeast Memphis factory, a fixture since 1978, makes electronics and solar panels and employs nearly 500 people. By Mark Weber, Commercial Appeal



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