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All Occasions works toward greener rentals

Among All Occasions Party Rentals' strategic initiatives are "go greener" and "increase efficiency."

President Terry Turner said in the past two years, he has found that the two go hand in hand.

"Almost every efficiency we create is green," he said. "We've eliminated road trips, chemicals we use, water, electricity, and all those things are green."

Turner said the greenest thing the company does, though, is in its name - rentals.

"Rental itself is inherently green, because of the reuse over and over and over of the same equipment," he said. "When you think about china, glassware and flatware that people use all the time at their events, this is less plastics, Styrofoam, paper plates that are going to landfills."

Going the extra mile

Being an "inherently green" company wasn't enough. Jason McClure, operations manger, said his promotion to operations manager aided in getting the conversation started about green practices.

"When I got back (into the warehouse) and started seeing with my own eyes the tremendous amount of cardboard, paper, plastic that was being thrown away, I thought, 'This is crazy,'" McClure said.

McClure expressed his concerns to Turner and a recycling plan was implemented shortly after.

All Occasions now recycles approximately the same amount of material that it throws away. McClure said recycling is a green effort that has become the norm in today's culture.

"With us hiring a younger generation, it's more of a lifestyle for them," McClure said. "It is a way of life. It's not just a one off. It's not a fad or a trendy thing to do. That's half the battle - implementing a plan where recycling is an option."

Turner said the more his eyes were opened to various ways the company could be more sustainable, the more sense it made.

Saving gallons, miles and cents

Until two years ago, All Occasions did not think twice about making multiple trips to an event site. If something was left behind, an employee would take a van or truck to save the day with the missing item.

To read the full story, visit http://www.knoxnews.com/story/money/business/journal/2017/05/01/all-occasions-works-toward-greener-rentals/100413584/.

 

GoGreenET Achievers nominations open

We're looking to tell the stories of companies that have made significant progress in recycling/waste reduction, energy efficiency, renewable energy and community outreach, or in another area we may not have even considered.


We're looking for a specific project, process change or initiative in each category that can be used as a model for other organizations.

The nomination form can be found here. The deadline to submit a nomination is March 20. 

Winners will be featured in the Greater Knoxville Business Journal's May issue.

 

Aries Energy powers way into community solar

Aries Energy, a Knoxville-based company founded in 2011 to deliver simple, profitable and responsible renewable energy solutions, has jumped head first into community solar, one of the hottest topics in renewable energy.

Community solar is a large-scale system that allows solar energy to be deployed through a utility.

"The very nature of the business structure of the project is a win for everybody," Aries president Harvey Abouelata said. "If it goes through a utility, the utility's not left out of the picture."

A utility has power distribution, management expertise and could perform the ongoing operational maintenance, said Abouelata. Public partners then could be brought into the business structure to take advantage of tax credits, incentives and depreciation.

"You have the scale of the community, the tax credits and incentives because you have a private partner in there, so that's lowering the costs, and then you have the community," Abouelata said. "If I'm an individual that's renting, and I want to participate in clean energy, how do I do it? I can subscribe to this community solar project that's controlled by the utilities and I can put my money where my mouth is.

"It's really exciting, because whatever level I want to participate in ... I can be an individual and subscribe to essentially one panel, or I can be a corporation and subscribe to half a megawatt. But, I don't have to worry about people walking on my roof or construction or maintenance. That's all done by the utility. Again, it's a win for everybody."

According to Abouelata, that's why community solar is a popular topic.

"We joined the South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance, and one of the first meetings we went to, the topic was community solar," he said. "I just came from one of the subcommittee meetings that (Nashville) mayor (Megan) Barry put together. The topic? Community solar. Every time we turn around.

"There was a project in Spartanburg, S.C., that was largely surrounded by community solar that Harold Mitchell put together. It's one of those things you're going to see more and more."

Aries is putting the finishing touches on a 1.37-megawatt community solar project for Appalachian Electric Co-op in New Market. The company in August broke ground on Tennessee's first utility-scale community solar installation, which will serve 35,000 members in the electric cooperative.

The Tennessee Valley Authority provided a grant for the AEC project, and costs will be fully funded through revenue generated via power purchase agreement with TVA.

"(TVA provides) low cost and reliable power," Abouelata said. "We're very fortunate, because that's a huge part of economic development for Tennessee. Tennessee is on the map because of those partnerships with TVA. And TVA getting behind renewable energy has been huge in the economic development in Tennessee. ...

"Bringing the two together, utilities and renewable energy, has been brilliant, because millions of dollars have come into our state and it has been an economic boom because they have supported solar."

Aries made news in September when it announced a working agreement with SMS Energy Group of North Carolina to expand its large-scale solar projects in the Southeast. The venture will allow both companies to take advantage of the other's strengths.

"SMS Energy is a company that has a long history with utilities," Abouelata said. "They've got tons of experience over there. We've got tons of experience on the solar side of it. We're going to hit North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee very hard with this working relationship, and take advantage of each other's skills. That's pretty exciting. That puts us into a whole different world, because now we have that utility, high-voltage experience mixed with (our experience).

"We've been working with them on bids and sharing each other's knowledge base. It makes us both stronger, so we're excited about that."

SMS Energy Group also has operations in South Carolina. Aries is evaluating the Aiken, Columbia, Greeneville and Spartanburg markets and soon will open an office in South Carolina. The office will initially be home to one full-time salesperson, but the company expects to hire several more employees there by the end of 2017.

Jonathan Hamilton, who joined Aries earlier this year as a customer service manager, will lead the Southeast expansion.

Abouelata said that the time was right for Aries to develop a working agreement with SMS.

"The growth idea, one of the things for us and SMS getting together, is we realize that growth is going to be in the utility side," he said. "They realize they're getting more customers asking for solar, so they needed a solar partner. We just came together. The timing was right. It was perfect."

2015 Green Achievers

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Congratulations to our 2015 Green Achievers! Their stories are featured in the May Business Journal and available at the links below.

Harrison Construction is putting 20,000 tons of recycled asphalt back on the road as part of its Western Avenue paving project. The company also keeps construction and materials out the landfill by recycling concrete, brick, and other demolition leftovers into base material for contractors, use in its own manufacturing or as landscaping material. As an added benefit, every bit of recycling means less rock that needs to be mined from the region's mountains.

See their story at Demolished buildings get new purpose as road material

Sunshine Industries provides jobs and services to Knox County adults with disabilities, but is also trying to better the community as a whole with its recycling programs. Now the agency is rolling out an e-cycling program with the additional benefit of certifying electronics as destroyed -- rather than resold -- so customers know their data is secure.

Read about the new effort at Social-service agency creates e-cycling advantage

Cool Sports knows running an ice rink in an East Tennessee summer takes a ton of power. It's reducing that need as much as possible by taking advantage of the season's abundant sunshine to power facilities. The company's solar array generates enough electricity to power 14 homes and helps the facility shave off costs. It also eliminates 222,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions among others.

Get the details at Solar power shaves off costs for ice rink, sports facility

La-Z-Boy knows you probably aren't thinking of the environment when you kick back in one of its recliners, but the company is working hard nonetheless to reuse and recycle as much as it can. It's been an ongoing effort. Last year the company recyled 93 percent of its materials. The facility marked Earth Day this year by achieving zero waste at its Dayton, Tenn. facility. 

Learn about the process at La-Z-Boy Tennessee reuses, recycles to avoid landfill

Lisa New hesitated to have the Knoxville Zoo take part in the GoGreenET Business Recognition Program because she, its board and staff have a lot they still want to accomplish to make the zoo sustainable.

Sustainability, however, for most of us is a journey. None of us have the resources to make improvements overnight -- it's generally one step at a time and those steps vary depending on the time, money and attention we can spend at any given time.

The GoGreenET program is about recognizing that all of us can play a role in making our community greener.

The program's Green Achievers have downloaded the survey form GoGreenET.com that outlines 100-plus ways organizations can reduce their carbon footprint. Each checked at least one item in each category and scored at least 30 points -- most many more.

More than 100 private companies, nonprofit organizations and government agencies have taken the GoGreenET challenge in the program's fourth year.

Thanks to sponsors KUB, the Knoxville Chamber and Thermocopy for their continuing support.

In particular, we've highlighted several organizations that have undertaken initiatives that others can model to create their own. Their stories are below.

Knoxville Locomotive Works - Startup manufacturer's locomotive powers efforts cut emissions

Gerdau Knoxville Mill - Steel rebar manufacturer aims for zero landfill waste

Knoxville Zoo - Zoo reduces its own energy use, footprint

Oak Ridge Associated Universities - Two-day event at ORAU collects 10,000 pounds of trash

A full list of participating organizations is below, or find them on our Green Achievers page.

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Don't forget to register for the GoGreenET Business After Hours event at the UT Gardens from 5-7 p.m. tomorrow. The Greater Knoxville Business Journal will recognize companies who have earned Green Achiever status.Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for gogreenet business recognition2.JPG

Additional recognition will be given to organizations -- large and small -- that have made notable achievements in recycling/waste reduction; energy efficiency; renewable energy; and community outreach.

Come and support East Tennessee organizations that are improving their business -- and the bottom line -- by being more environmentally friendly.

The GoGreenET.com Business After Hours event recognizing Green Achievers will be 5-7 p.m. May 14 at the UT Gardens. Register at the Knoxville Chamber website.
GoGreenET is now accepting applications for the 2013 Green Business Recognition Program.

Each year we recognize area businesses for improving their sustainability through environmentally friendly practices and policies.


Green Achievers and Outstanding Achievements are noted in Recycling/Waste Reduction; Energy Efficiency; Renewable Energy and Community Outreach categories.  They will be recognized in the Greater Knoxville Business Journal's green issue in May 2013, at our website and at the Knoxville Chamber's Business After Hours program in May. Additionally, Outstanding achievements will be profiled in the Business Journal.

Has your company started or increased its recycling? Switched to energy efficient lighting? Formed a green practices committee? All these and more qualify -- and we want to hear about it!

Applications for the 2013 Green Business Recognition Program will be accepted through March 25. Download and start filling out the <a href="http://www.gogreenet.com/GoGreenETSurveyTool%202013%20.pdf" target="_blank" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','Download','PDF',this.href]);">GoGreen Business Recognition Survey</a>&nbsp;now.

For some examples, check out all our previous honorees and Outstanding Achievement features at the GoGreenET Achievers page.

Still have questions? <a href="mailto:phillips@knoxvillebiz.com?subject=Green Survey questions">Email us!</a>




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Originally published in the Greater Knoxville Business Journal May 2012 issue and knoxvillebiz.com, were feature stories from the essays provided by several of our Green Achiever applicants

Green doesn't have to be red or blue.

As Mayor Madeline Rogero points out in the Business Journal cover story, her recent predecessors -- Republican and Democrat alike -- made Knoxville a greener place, whether that meant creating more parks, renovating city facilities to make them energy efficient or launching a curbside recycling service.

In her inaugural budget address, Rogero outlined "living green and working green" as a top priority for her administration. She defines that broadly, as do the dozens of organizations that participated in our GoGreenET Business Recognition program. Each of them downloaded a survey that includes 100-plus ways to reduce their carbon footprint. By checking at least one item in each category and scoring at least 30 points, participating businesses become Green Achievers.

Several businesses and their accomplishments are highlighted in the stories below in the areas of community outreach, recycling/waste reduction and energy efficiency. Their stories illuminate how many shades of green exist, and I hope they'll inspire you to find a shade that works for your organization.

Join us at a Business After Hours from 5 to 7 p.m. May 15 to celebrate their achievements and learn more about making your own workplace greener. The event will be held at the University of Tennessee Gardens, just off Neyland Drive next to the UT Veterinary School. RSVP by calling the Knoxville Chamber at 865-246-2622 or visit www.knoxvillechamber.com and click Chamber Events.


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The Holiday Inn Worlds Fair Park is the first full service Knoxville hotel to earn the Tennessee Green Hospitality Designation recognizing sustainable practices from the Tennessee Hospitality Association.

"Since day one of the renovations we have pushed forward to make this hotel as energy conscious as possible.  Whether it is recycling in the restaurant or low-flow toilets in the bathrooms we want to part of this movement," says Michael Parisi, the hotel's general manager.

Renovations on the Holiday Inn Worlds Fair Park started 18 months ago and will be completed this summer.

The hotel previously received GoGreen's Energy Efficiency Award in this year's Business Recognition Program.






Thumbnail image for 2011 GoGreenET event 003.jpgBusiness people gathered Thursday at the Knoxville News Sentinel for the Knoxville Chamber's Earth Day a.m. Exchange. Photo by Leslie Karnowski, Business Journal.

More than 100 business people gathered Thursday to celebrate Earth Day and organizations that took part in the GoGreenET.com challenge.

Four organizations were honored for outstanding achievements: Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union, Community Outreach; Holiday Inn-World's Fair Park, Energy Efficiency; DTR Tennessee, Recycling/Waste Reduction; and City of Knoxville, Renewable Energy.

More than 40 businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies wee named Green Achievers, after taking the GoGreenET.com challenge, scoring at least one point in each category and earning a total of 30 points.
   

Related article:
Winners of the GoGreenET Business Recognition Program Announced


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This page contains a single entry by Cortney Roark published on May 11, 2017 2:22 PM.

Keep Knoxville Beautiful announces Orchid Award nominees was the previous entry in this blog.

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