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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.


2015 Green Achievers

2015 green achievers.jpg

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

Elizabeth Eason, principal of Elizabeth Eason Architecture in KNoxville, has been named a 2013 LEED Fellow by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Eason was one of 51 honorees chosen worldwide.

The LEED Fellow designation is the highest awarded by the USGBC and recognizes LEED professionals who make significant contributions to green building and sustainability at a regional, national or global level.

The firm's local LEED projects include work on the Shelton Group's Knoxville office, a downtown building renovation that aimed for LEED Silver; the Blueberry Ridge senior housing development seeking a platinum or gold rating; and the Lonsdale Homes project which is being built to the LEED for Homes certification specs.

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."

In case you missed it, here's a a glance at some energy-related kudos and events news for our area in the last couple of weeks:

--The city of Knoxville and contractor Ameresco celebrated the Knoxville Convention Center's achievement of LEED Silver certification on June 28.

The Knoxville Convention Center is the first convention center in Tennessee to receive LEED through its green initiatives.

Ameresco installed the convention center's 120-kilowatt rooftop solar photovoltaic system. Other energy efficiency efforts included new energy efficient boilers, a 30-ton air cooled chiller, window film, a new domestic hot water system and lighting systems to reduce the center's carbon footprint and make the building more sustainable.

"The Convention Center is committed to being a facility that takes the environmental impact of its operations seriously, and our sustainable practices are intricately woven into our everyday operations," said General Manager Mary Bogert in a press release.

--The Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association continued calls for TVA to change how it handles solar incentives.

The organization urged changes after the early closure this year of TVA's solar rebate program. Discussion led TVA to add 2.5MW capacity to Green Power Providers effective August 1. TenneSEIA is asking for an additional 2.5MW to be added in October.


--Campbell County Schools plan to raise funds with solar panels on school roofs.
Campbell County school officials hope to generate $1 million over the next 20 years by installing solar panels on the district's 12 schools. The 50 kilowatt systems would sell power to TVA.
Solar installation company Efficient Energy of Tennessee developed the idea with the county's finance department.

--ORNL names Ramamoorthy Ramesh as new research chief.
Rammoorthy recently served as director of the SunShot Initiative, a federal program designed to make solar energy cost-competitive.
His research includes material studies of thin films, including those used in solar panels.

--Tennessee-based solar company Silicon Ranch has partnered with Germany's Phoenix Solar AG to build a 38MW solar farm in Georgia.

It will be the state's largest. Silicon Ranch is a solar energy company cofounded by former Gov. Phil Bredesen.

--Mary Shaffer Gill of ARiES Energy will speak to the National Association of Women Business Owners in Nashville on July 25.
She will discuss challenges and opportunities ingrowing an energy-related business. This luncheon will focus on energy efficiency, where leaders in business, energy and manufacturing sectors will discuss energy management best practices, experiences with renewable energy projects and the challenges and opportunities for energy-related businesses.


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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Chattanooga is now home to the biggest solar installation in Tennessee and for a U.S. auto factory.

That's according to Volkswagen, which powered up its 9.5 MW solar park at the Chattanooga location last week.

The system will provide 12.5 percent of the already LEED Platinum-certified  plant's electricity. That jumps to 100 percent during non-production periods, according to the automaker.

The Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park occupies 33 acres, or half of the 66-acre land parcel adjacent to VW's state-of-the-art manufacturing plant. The solar park contains 33,600 solar modules from JA Solar designed to produce 13.1 gigawatt hours of electricity per year -- equivalent to the energy consumed annually by around 1,200 homes in the area. 

The solar installation is part of VW's "Think Blue" initiative for all Volkswagen plants to achieve more efficient use of energy, materials and water and produce less waste and emissions, said Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Group of America.

Photo: From left to right: Dr. Andreas Haenel, Phoenix Solar AG/ Jim Coppinger, Mayor Hamilton County/ Frank Fischer, Volkswagen Chattanooga/Matt Kisber, Silicon Ranch/ Ron Littlefield, Mayor Chattanooga/Wolfram Thomas, Volkswagen AG/ Dr. Murray Cameron, Phoenix. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen.
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Volkswagen will spend about $30 million to build a 9.5 MW solar power facility next to its Chattanooga plant. 

The solar park will supply more than 12 percent of the factory's power and be one of the largest solar facilities in the state, reports Mike Pare in Chattanooga's Times Free Press daily. 

VW executives add it will be one of the largest private solar facilities in the region and the largest such project for the company worldwide.

According to Volkswagen, two companies will build and run the plant -- Phoenix Solar, a German business with U.S. headquarters in California, and Silicon Ranch Corp., which is based in Nashville.

Plans for the solar generation contributed to VW's LEED rating for the Chattanooga site.
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Education around East Tennessee is getting a little greener on both the inside -- through student programs -- and on the outside -- including upgrades to campus buildings and equipment.

Maryville College received a STARS Bronze Rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements in January of this year.

In February, several area high schools and elementary schools were recognized by the East Tennessee chapter of the US Green Building Council at the High Performance + Healthy Schools Symposium.

The recipients included the Knox County Schools in the Outstanding School District category; Oak Ridge High School and White Pine Elementary School for Outstanding School; E.L. Ross Elementary School for Outstanding School Group; and Johnson City Power Board for Community Outreach.

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.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Cortney Roark published on January 10, 2017 4:40 PM.

Grow Bioplastics named Sizzle TechStart's first incubator client was the previous entry in this blog.

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