City Releases Report of Energy Use and Emissions

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City Releases Report of Energy Use and Emissions

Posted: 04/22/2009
In 2005 the City of Knoxville's roughly 100 buildings and 40 parks and playing fields generated enough energy to heat and cool thousands of average-sized homes for a month, produced 1,237 tons of non-recycled waste and spewed 48,997 tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Its fleet - including buses and police, fire and public service vehicles - burned through 1.8 million gallons of fuel. The energy to power Knoxville's 29,630 street lights could have lit up a small city.

In the end the city government's bill for all that electricity, natural gas, fuel and water came to nearly $8 million in 2005.

Yet all of that is just a minor blip compared to all the energy consumed, greenhouse gases produced, and money spent for water and power by Knoxville's citizens and businesses that year.

The City of Knoxville released a summary report of a comprehensive two-year study of the energy use and emissions of city government and the city as a whole on Wednesday as part of the observance of Earth Day.

Titled, "Knoxville's Energy Inventory Government and Community Analysis and Strategic Plan," it provides a detailed snapshot of energy use in Knoxville during a single year as well as a plan to make city government more energy efficient - and hopefully encourage the city as a whole to use energy more wisely. 
 
"This report gives a great blueprint to work from as we move toward creating a more energy efficient Knoxville," said Mayor Bill Haslam. "Two of our key goals when we started this process were to develop realistic strategies we can use to make city government more energy efficient as well as plans that are transferable to the community. I think we've done that." 
 
The report was researched and written by Erin Burns, Beth Reed and Madeleine Weil, with the city's Policy & Communications Department. 
 
"This report summarizes the inventory findings, establishes greenhouse gas reduction targets and presents an outline of existing and proposed policies and programs intended to strengthen Knoxville's urban environment," the study states, "and improve economic efficiency while we do our part to address the most pressing environmental challenge of our time." 
 
The strategic plan includes initiatives aimed at reducing the city's utility bills by 15-to-25 percent annually in addition to plans designed to reduce fuel consumption, emissions and maintenance costs of the city's fleet among other measures.

The city is already working with an energy services company, Ameresco, to develop energy upgrades of all its buildings. 
 
"We believe that by focusing on sustainability the city can reap benefits of less pollution and also seize the economic development opportunities presented by the transition to clean energy technologies," Weil said. "We want Knoxville to be a regional leader in the efforts." 
 
The study is a result of the creation in the summer of 2007 of the city's Energy & Sustainability Task Force, a 15-member advisory committee including business, industry, research, and government organizations.

The mission of the task force was to develop a concrete strategy to reduce the city's energy usage, costs and emissions and increase the city's energy sustainability. One of its first steps was to launch the survey to determine exactly how the city used energy. The study focused on 2005, the nearest year that complete figures could be obtained.