Mayor's Climate Council


Vasu Primlani [email protected]
(865) 215-2141

400 Main St., Room 598
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Knoxville Emission Reduction GoalsCommunity leaders prioritize strategies to meet community climate goal

Involving Local Leaders on Community Climate Goals: 80% Emissions Reduction by 2050

Making Knoxville a leader in fighting climate change requires collaboration. The scale of change required to drive emissions down goes well beyond the City and will require leadership at local, regional, and national levels. Collectively, we can find smart solutions to promote sustainable development while reducing emissions.

In 2020, Mayor Kincannon convened the Mayor’s Climate Council to identify and evaluate strategies to achieve the goal of reducing emissions 80% across the community by 2050. This task force brought fresh perspective to past successes, priorities, and lessons learned from other communities.

The cross-sector group of over 65 members included clean energy experts, conservation activists, advocates for equity, neighborhood representatives, developers, business leaders, representatives from KUB and TVA, and more. 

Council members and working groups evaluated dozens of proven high-impact strategies for their impact to climate, economy, and community. To assess the potential impact of various emission reduction strategies, the Office of Sustainability took feedback from members and used modeling tools to project potential emissions reductions. These scenarios, shown below, project both estimated growth (e.g. population, energy use, waste generation, and transportation) and the potential of various strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

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Knoxville Emission Projections

With input from the public, these rankings were developed into the 2021 Energy & Sustainability Work Plan. Priority strategies have been divided by sector and highlighted on their respective webpages.

 Mayor’s Climate Council - Priority Climate Strategies
  • Expand and improve bicycle and pedestrian facilities, connectivity, convenience, and/or safety in a manner that significantly increases the number of trips taken by walking or biking
  • Make public transit investments that significantly enhance coverage, service quality, frequency, and/or speed
  • Significantly accelerate community adoption of electric vehicles
  • Partner with major local commercial fleet operators to transition to electric vehicles
  • Buildings and  Energy
  • Create voluntary, large, commercial, and multi-family energy upgrade program(s) (eg. incentives, technical assistance) that achieve deep energy savings (~25%+) in ~20%+ of buildings
  • Amplify and opportunistically expand voluntary home energy upgrade program(s) that will achieve deep energy savings (~25%+) in 20% of homes
  • Develop or amplify opportunities to invest in renewables at scale, including community solar and in-valley investments
  • Research and develop strategies to promote opportunistic electrification (eg. replacement of fossil fuel-fired furnaces with electric heat pump technologies) in existing buildings over time
  • Waste
  • Implement food waste reduction and collection programs that capture ~80%+ of organic waste from all high-volume locations (eg. restaurants)
  • Increase residential recycling through community engagement and education strategies
  • Promote consumption-reduction approaches such as sharing and re-use through education campaigns
  • Research pathways to offer organics (food/yard waste) collection for single-family and multi-family residential properties