An environmental resource for East Tennessee Businesses

March 2011 Archives

Soltility, a Friendsville, Tenn.-based solar installer, plans to expand its business by leasing space in Spring Hill, reports Getahn Ward of the Nashville daily Tennessean.

The company is seeking 10,000 square feet of space on General Motors Spring Hill campus to assemble solar arrays.

Currently assembly is done at each installation site, which can take weeks, said Ken Elder, Soltility's chief executive.

The company will fund the new site with a $500,000 stimulus grant and hopes to be up and running early next year with up to 10 employees.

Read the full story at The Tennessean.
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Loudon County and it's landfill management company, Santek Environmental have agreed to build a landfill gas collection system at the Matlock Bend landfill. The facility will generate electricity that Santek plans to sell to TVA.

The project is expected to produce about 1.5 megawatts of electricity, enough to power up to 1,500 houses.

Estimated cost of the Matlock Bend project is $1.2 million, according to Santek.

A similar, larger facility in Anderson County generates about 3.2 megawatts of power. Waste Management, which runs the site, plans to expand the project to 4.8 megawatts next year.

Santek also is planning similar facilities at four other landfills it operates - including three more that would sell power to TVA. Those facilities are at landfills in Bradley and Rhea counties in Tennessee and Murray and Gordon counties in Georgia.

See the full story,  Loudon landfill to provide green energy by Ron Bridgeman, on Knoxvillebizl.
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This fall, the city of Knoxville will roll out a curbside recycling program on a first-come, first-served basis for 20,000 residents who already use city garbage pickup, reports Rebecca Ferrar of the News Sentinel.

It will be a single-stream recycling program, which means residents will not have to sort the materials, said David Brace, city deputy director of Public Service.

At present, residents must sort newspapers, glass, cans and other recyclables and take them to the city's 11 drop centers - two "huge barriers," Brace said.

The city plans to run public service announcements to advertise the program. Sign-up for the program begins in late April or early May by calling the city's 311 help line or by using the City of Knoxville's website.

The new program will mean closing four to six of the drop centers, charging most garbage customers who now get backdoor garbage pickup $8.75 a month and initiating a "modest" fee increase at the Solid Waste Management Facility on Elm Street, according to the city.

Read the full story at the Knoxville News Sentinel
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The University of Tennessee Arboretum Society will present an opportunity to learn more about biofuel and the use of switchgrass as a fuel source this week as it brings UT assistant professor Sam Jackson to Roan State Community College.111809biofuel9.mc12369.JPG

Sam Jackson, vice president of feedstock operations at Genera Energy and research assistant professor at UT's Center for Renewable Carbon, will present a lecture on the development of switchgrass as a bioenergy feedstock 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, at Roan State Community College, Oak Ridge Campus.

For more information, call 865-483-3571 or visit the University of Tennessee Arboretum Society.
Photo: A tractor and square bailer move through a mowed field of switchgrass in Loudon County. Watching the demonstration are John Waters, left, UT Extension Agent, Sam Jackson, center, Vice President, feedstock operations Genera Energy Corp. and David Richesin, right, a farmer. By J. Miles Cary, News Sentinel

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Earth Hour 2011 this Saturday

The logo for Earth Hour

8:30 p.m. this Saturday, March 26, has been designated as the annual Earth Hour by the World Wildlife Fund.

During the event, individuals and businesses are encouraged turn their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change.

Businesses can support Earth Hour 2011 by switching out the non-essential lights of buildings, facilities and signage and
encouraging staff and customers to also participate.

For guidelines on the program, help participating and to register your event visit the Earth Hour website.

To save energy on lighting year round, consider these tips from WWF:

--Turn off lights after hours in offices or install motion-sensor lighting.
--Install energy saving lights bulbs and devices (e.g. timers on lighting).
--Turning off printers, computers, monitors, microwaves and coffee machines at the power points at the end of the day when unused for long periods.
--Switch your business' electricity to green power.
--Provide and encourage staff to use recycling facilities.
--Involve your staff in everyday change. Elect Earth Hour Monitors for your business,whose job it is to ensure lights are out and appliances are off standby at the end of each working day.

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The City of Knoxville will take part in the national "Green Buildings for Cool Cities" campaign this Saturday with tours of two local "green" buildings.

Knox Heritage's Victorian "Green House" and the city's new LEED-certified transit center will showcase the energy-efficient building practices that make them unique

There will be an open house at the Victorian Green House from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. and guided tours at the John J. Duncan Jr. Knoxville Station Transit Center at 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., on March 26.

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The Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport has plans to build a 1.2-megawatt solar plant -- if a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration can be secured.

Ellis Smith of the Chattanooga Time Free Press reports the FAA would provide 95 percent of the estimated $4.3 million project cost, if the agency's budget is approved by Congress.

The project would include 4,256 panels producing 235 watts each, reducing the airport's power consumption significantly. 

The airport will pay an estimated $217,000 for its piece of the program, unless administrators can convince state officials to contribute, he reports. Project officials estimate the installation could be paid off in as little as two years by selling power back to TVA.

Read the full story at the Times Free Press.

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"Plain Talk On Quality Growth" is the theme of a conference scheduled for March 30-31 at the Knoxville Convention Center.

The event will kick off with a keynote luncheon speech, "Future Power Generation and Impact on the Tennessee Economy" by Kim Greene, TVA group president of strategy and external relations.

Afternoon sessions include panel discussions on clean energy, regional mass transit and land conservation.

Participants on the second day may choose among four tracks: education and the economy; healthy and livable communities; linking transportation and land use; and sustainable communities for economic vitality.

For a list of speakers, the agenda and to register, visit

Save Water During Fix a Leak Week

Environmental journalism supports the protecti...

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Drip, drip drip. That constant sound from your kitchen or bathroom faucet may be an annoyance, but according to the Environmental Protection Agency, household leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water per year - enough to supply the water needs of Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles combined.

Left uncorrected, those little drips can  increase your water bill by 12 percent, the agency says. To help consumers find and repair easy-to-fix leaks, the EPA has designated this week, March 14-20, Fix a Leak Week.

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An East Knoxville home that reduced its air leaks by 40 percent - and is the city of Knoxville's first EarthCraft Renovation-certified home - will be the site of an open house this week.

The city's Community Development Department will host the 2 p.m. Wednesday, open house at 4705 Plymouth Road. The house is owned by James Griffin Sr.

EarthCraft is a green program in which a technical adviser inspects, tests and verifies that construction or renovation meets EarthCraft standards.

According to EarthCraft, to receive certification, homes must meet ENERGY STAR certification criteria, including achieving passing scores from diagnostic tests for air infiltration and duct leakage.

In addition, each house must achieve a minimum of 150 points from a scoring sheet, with additional levels of certification awarded for points beyond the minimum.

For more information about the open house see the full story at East Knoxville 'EarthCraft' home has savings built in.

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