An environmental resource for East Tennessee Business


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 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.


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

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 or

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."


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

From 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26th, at the Krutch Park Extension on Gay St. Knoxville and Knox County residents will be able to shred documents or dispose safely of old medications as part of Amercia Recycles Day events sponsored by the City of Knoxville, Knox County Solid Waste Offices and area organizations.

Old or unwanted documents will be confidentially shredded and recycled by Goodwill. There is no limit to how many documents residents can bring for secure disposal.

Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union representatives will provide free information on how long old documents should be kept and when it is appropriate to dispose of them.

An Unwanted Unused Medication Collection event is provided by the Knoxville Police Department. Residents can turn in unwanted and outdated prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines and used mercury thermometers. The mercury thermometers can be exchanged for digital thermometers for free.

Keep Knoxville Beautiful will demonstrate using recycled goods to create art.

Also part of the event, the Knoxville Recycling Coalition will be giving away home recycling bins and the Water Quality Forum will answer questions about water quality and the Adopt-a-Stream program.

Other groups scheduled to be on site are the City Parks and Recreation Department, Fort Loudoun Lake Association, Waste Connections and the Knox County Solid Waste Office.

Throughout the weekend of September 28 - 29, 2013, events across the US and other countries will celebrate the third annual National Plug In Day.

The event is tailored to heighten awareness of plug-in vehicles and demonstrate the benefits of all-electric and hybrid-electric transportation.

Several cities and organizations in East Tennessee have planned events.

  • East Tennessee Clean Fuels is hosting an event today from 4-7 p.m. on Market Street and parts of Market Square. Nissan LEAFs and Chevy Volts will be available and organizers hope to have other EVs as well. See photos from the group's 2012 event on their flickr.
  • The University of Tennessee will host an event 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday in front of Gate 21 at Neyland Stadium. Several UT electric vehicles including a Chevy Volt, an NEV GEM and several E-bikes that are part of the campus' E-Bike Sharing Program will be on display. Information about the university's EcoCAR2 program, which seeks to build a plug-in hybrid fueled with E85, will be available.
  • The Townsend Visitor's Center will showcase alternative fuel vehicles during the Townsend Fall Festival 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.
  • Chattanooga's Plug In Day will be 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at the Chattanooga Market. The event will move at 1 p.m. to offer test ridges and drives to the public.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Shelley Phillips published on July 10, 2014 11:19 AM.

Congratulations to the 2014 Green Achievers was the previous entry in this blog.

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