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City of Knoxville report shows reduction in energy use, emissions; further improvements outlined

The latest updates from the city of Knoxville's Office of Sustainability show reductions in emissions and energy use both for city operations and the community as a whole.

The city's Energy and Sustainability Initiative, now in its seventh year, measures energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions through sustainability improvements for Knoxville. The eventual goal is a 20 percent reduction by 2020.

As a municipality, the city reduced its energy consumption by 6.5 percent. Greenhouse gas emissions associated with city operations fell 13 percent.

At the community level, the emissions associated with energy use, transportation and waste management fell 7.8 percent from 2005 levels.

"These savings reflect the success of projects like the city's conversion of traffic signals to LED technology and energy efficiency upgrades at city buildings," said Jake Tisinger, Project Manager for the Office of Sustainability, in a press release. "Residents and businesses are using less energy than in 2005, and improved fuel economy and cleaner electricity generation have helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Mulching and recycling of waste has increased nearly 13 percent since 2005 with much of that attributed to the residential curbside recycling program.

An updated Work Plan explains how the city will continue to build on this progress. The report proposes several new projects in categories from community engagement to urban agriculture and sustainable growth.

Some of the new projects:

--Launch Neighborhood & Workplace Engagement programs that motivate residents and businesses to take actions to advance sustainability goals.

--Expand capacity for commercial recycling collection in downtown business district and expand curbside recycling program to all residential areas.

--Offer recycling at all city parks starting this spring.

--Develop an Urban Food Overlay, city gardening lease, or a similar
policy framework to facilitate urban agriculture and cultivation of
unused city-owned land.

--Work with local partners to launch a public bike sharing program

Read the full report at www.cityofknoxville.org/sustainability

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