December 2011 Archives
A network of public walking trails is being built into an upscale residential community on the shores of Watts Bar Lake after city officials amended a hefty federal grant awarded more than a decade ago, writes Bob Fowler of the Knoxville News Sentinel.
City Manager James Pinkerton said the amended grant totals $3,015,928. That funding covers costs for three greenways, and the city is seeking a grant for a fourth paved path, Kingston Mayor Troy Beets said.
The Ladd Landing Greenways system, more than 2.3 miles of 10-foot-wide asphalt walking trails, was officially launched this past week with a groundbreaking.
The three trails will connect to points of interest, from the 10-acre, city-owned Ladd Park to a planned new development in Ladd Landing, the high-end gated community developed by Matt Caldwell.
Read more about greenways at the Knoxville News Sentinel
Gatlinburg is among the first municipalities to install the 240-volt Blink Wall Mount Chargers as a part of The EV Project. The stations are able to fully recharge an electric car battery in four to eight hours.
The charging stations, each with two wall-mounted units, are located at the City's Aquarium and Fred McMahan/Parkway parking garages.
ECOtality targeted Gatlinburg as a preferred site for charging stations because the Smoky Mountains are popular with travelers. The new stations give electric car drivers the option of charging their vehicles on the eastern fringe of the "The Tennessee Triangle," a 425-mile stretch of interstate highway connecting Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.
Judith Webb, chief marketing officer of US Green Building Council, presents platinum certificates to Volkswagen executives.
Volkswagen's Chattanooga manufacturing plant has received a platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building certification program.
The facility is the first automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive Platinum certification, the program's highest level.
"Volkswagen Chattanooga's LEED Platinum certification is the fulfillment of a promise that Volkswagen has made around the world and in this community that we will work in harmony with the environment," said Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga.
Rooftop Solar Challenge Grants by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The UT group, which includes TVA, the city of Knoxville, KUB and three other cities and their associated electricity providers, received $622,960 to work with local officials to streamline the permitting, planning, zoning and connection processes for solar installations in Tennessee.
The group also plans to develop a smartphone application that will simplify the application process for individuals and companies interested in installing solar technology.
In addition to the city of Knoxville and the Knoxville Utilities Board, the UT-led group includes Nashville, Franklin and Memphis as well as the Nashville Electric Service, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Coop and Memphis Light, Gas and Water.
The UT initiative is one of three organizations in the Southeastern United States to receive the awards.
The Solar Challenge Grants are part of the DOE's SunShot Initiative, "a collaborative national effort to make solar cost-competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade," according to a DOE grant.
A garden in Huntsville, Ala. and a Dyer, Tenn. high school are the newest members of TVA's Green Power Switch program
Huntsville and TVA officials held a dedication event Monday for a 23-kilowatt site at Huntsville Botanical Garden with 96 solar panels capable of generating 30,000 kilowatt-hours a year.
A dedication is planned Thursday in Dyer for a 19.7-kilowatt site at Gibson High School capable of providing about 24,000 kilowatt-hours annually.
New Wind LLC, a Nashville-based startup company, has installed its first solar-wind powered turbine in the city, reports Duane Marsteller of the Tennessean. The unit will power a parking lot's streetlight.
The company, formed in February of 2010, specializes in small wind-power installations for businesses and residential customers.
Unlike traditional windmills, New Wind offers turbines that spin horizontally, allowing them to be placed closer to the ground. The company says that the turbines are quieter and don't pose a danger to birds or bats.
The company's units also incorporate solar power for operation on non-windy days. New Wind offers seven sizes of VAWT turbines, ranging from small 350 watt units up to 9 kilowatts that can be mounted on a roof or on the ground.
Plans are in the works for more installations says company president and CEO Stuart Wilson.
New Wind also has an office in San Diego, Calif.
The city of Knoxville still has money available to help qualified homeowners and businesses make energy saving improvements to their homes and buildings.
The city's Green Building Incentive Program, launched in September and administered by the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee, helps pay for everything from simple improvements like weather stripping to more significant changes like installing solar technology with rebates on a portion of the total costs of improvement.
$200,000 remains available of the program's original $270,000 funds. The money is part of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant the city received as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"There is still plenty of funding available and we want to see more people involved and benefiting," said Jake Tisinger, the city's sustainability coordinator. "I think this is a great opportunity to make some money-saving improvements, but the program is temporary and if people are interested they need to apply now."
The city plans to distribute all the money by June 2012.
Seventy-five percent of the more than $5 million in rebates available to Tennessee residents who upgrade certain appliances with more energy efficient models this year has been claimed.
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However, more than $1 million is still available.
The State of Tennessee's Department of Economic and Community Development, in concert with the U.S. Department of Energy, is making rebates available with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to Tennessee residents who replace an existing room air conditioner, central air conditioner, air source heat pump, or gas furnace with a new ENERGY STAR qualified model between April 22, 2010 and January 14, 2012.
Individual rebates vary by appliance as follows:
Room air conditioners - $40 rebate
Central air conditioners - $250 rebate
Air source heat pumps - $250 rebate
Gas furnaces - $150 rebate
Applications will be processed as long as funds remain available, but applications must be postmarked no later than January 14, 2012.
To apply and for more information, visit the Tennessee Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program website or call 877-741-4304.