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April 2013 Archives

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The 2013 Nissan LEAF has been named the Best Green Car of 2013 by Kelley Blue Book. Now in its third model year, Nissan LEAF is the world's best-selling, pure electric vehicle with nearly 60,000 sold worldwide.

The LEAF is manufactured in Nissan's Smyrna, Tenn. plant and batteries for the vehicle are produced at an adjacent facility.

"The 2013 Nissan LEAF marks a turning point in the electric vehicle movement ... We're seeing buyers diversify beyond early adopters," said Erik Gottfried, Nissan director of electric vehicle sales and marketing.

The car was recently redesigned for the new model year. Upgrades include quicker charging and an improved driving rage, the company said. The LEAF has an EPA range of 75 miles at an average 90 percent charge or up to 83 miles on a full charge.

Vehicles from Tesla and Ford, and LEAF challengers Chevrolet Volt, and Toyota Prius are also featured on the list.

See the full list of the year's best green cars according to the Blue Book at

Photo credit: PRNewsFoto/Nissan North America
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English: 2011 Chevrolet Volt under the hood. R...

A 2011 Chevrolet Volt under the hood. Right side: the power inverter on top of the electric drive unit (electric motor) used for traction. Left side: the 1.4-liter gasoline-powered engine used as generator to provide power to the electric motor or to engage mechanically to assist propulsion when the battery is depleted. Taken at the 2011 Washington Auto Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once they've finished powering electric vehicles for hundreds of thousands of miles, it may not be the end of the road for automotive batteries, which researchers believe can provide continued benefits for consumers, automakers and the environment.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers are studying five used Chevrolet Volt batteries to determine the feasibility of a community energy storage system that would put electricity onto the grid. Over the next year, researchers from ORNL, General Motors and the ABB Group will conduct studies and compile data using a first-of-its-kind test platform.

"With about one million lithium-ion batteries per year coming available from various automakers for the secondary market beginning in 2020, we see vast potential to supplement power for homes and businesses," said Dr. Imre Gyuk, manager of the Energy Storage Research Program in DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability in a press release. "Since these batteries could still have up to 80 percent of their capacity, they present a great opportunity for use in stationary storage devices before sending them to be recycled."

Last year in San Francisco, a GM/ABB energy storage system provided 100 percent of the electricity needed to power a temporary structure for several hours. A similar application could one day power a group of homes or small commercial buildings during a power outage or help make up for gaps in solar, wind or other renewable power generation.

The ORNL platform provides 25 kilowatts of power and 50 kilowatt-hours of energy that could potentially provide cost-effective backup energy, said Michael Starke of ORNL's Energy and Transportation Science Division.
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The first annual GREEN + GO Sustainable Knoxville Green Tour will offer an inside look at some of Knoxville's high-performance buildings 9 a.m.-2 p.m. May 4.

The open house tours, organized by the East Tennessee Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, will present the features and benefits of sustainable construction. Participants can visit up to eight sustainable buildings in the Knoxville area that represent a variety of green design strategies. 

Sites on the tour include:

Scripps Networks Interactive Headquarters, rated LEED Gold
Knoxville Transit Center, LEED Silver
Three Rivers Market, Designed to meet 2010 LEED Retail NC
UT's Ayres Hall, Historic LEED Renovation at LEED Silver
UT's Living Light Solar Decathlon House 
Ijams Nature Center and solar array 
Sustainable Future's Net Zero Office
The Spectrum Solar Exhibit at East Town Mall. 

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The city of Knoxville's recycling program continues to grow.

Recycling in Knoxville has nearly doubled since the city started its curbside program in 2011, according to city statistics.

"Before we did the curbside program we averaged 4,500 to 5,000 tons a year; now we are doing close to 9,000," said David Brace, director of public service for the city of Knoxville in a story by the News Sentinel's Mal Alder.

Officials say they see more people who are interested in recycling and want to do more.

Brace says the city hopes to expand the single stream recycling program to cover the 1,900 households now on the waiting list.

When it was launched in 2011 the program took less than three months to reach it's full number of participating households.
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Local nonprofit ZeroLandfill East Tennessee invites area architects, contractors and similar businesses to donate supplies that would otherwise be thrown away.
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The program, in its second year, encourages businesses to donate leftover, expired and unwanted samples to be "upcycled," or repurposed by the community.

Architecture and interior design-related businesses are asked to donate items such as expired samples, fabric, magazines, paint chips, tile, old marketing materials, flooring and more. Building retailers like Lowes and Home Depot that utilize product samples are also welcome to participate.

The organization cannot process paint, demolition material from construction sites or items from residential homeowners.

Businesses may drop off material at Office Furniture Outfitters, 1817 Grand Ave. SW in Knoxville:
2-4 p.m. April 22-25; 9 a.m.-5 p.m.April 26; 2 p.m.-4 p.m. April 29-30 and May 1-2; and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May 3.
Volunteers sort material donated 
at a previous ZeroLandfill event
All photos submitted 
by ZeroLandfill East Tennessee

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

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