$2.1 Million in Clean Tennessee Energy Grants Awarded

Friday, July 12, 2013 | 07:26 am

Nineteen Recipients to Receive Grants for Projects Promoting Energy Efficiency, Benefiting the Environment and Bottom Line

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau today awarded $2.1 million to fund energy efficiency projects for local governments and municipalities, utilities, and other private and public organizations across Tennessee.

The Clean Tennessee Energy Grants were awarded to 19 recipients for projects designed to reduce air emissions, improve energy efficiency and create cost savings. The grant program provides financial assistance to state and local government agencies, utility districts, and quasi-government entities in Tennessee to purchase, install and construct energy projects.

“I am proud to see the commitment across the state at the local level to implement projects aimed at energy efficiency and reducing costs to taxpayers,” Haslam said. “The projects announced today highlight these local efforts as we continue our work to make Tennessee the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

Eligible categories of the Clean Tennessee Energy Grant Program included:


  • Cleaner Alternative Energy – biomass, geothermal, solar, wind
  • Energy Conservation – lighting, HVAC improvements, improved fuel efficiency, insulation, idling minimization
  • Air Quality Improvement – reduction in greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, oxides of nitrogen, hazardous air pollutants


“We are very pleased with the impressive roster of applicants seeking energy efficient ways to decrease emissions and reduce expenses at the local level,” said Martineau.  “We continue to look for ways to promote environmental awareness and energy efficiency within state government and within Tennessee’s communities.” 

Funding for the projects comes from an April 2011 Clean Air Act settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority.  Under the Consent Decree, Tennessee will receive $26.4 million over five years to fund clean air programs in the state (at approximately $5.25 million per year).  As part of the grant program’s initial offering, a total of $5.3 million in Clean Energy Grants was awarded in 2012 to a variety of projects within state government, municipalities, utilities, state colleges and universities and communities throughout the state. 

The maximum grant amount per project is $250,000 and requires match from the applicant.  Grant recipients were chosen based on the careful consideration to meet the selection criteria and for those projects that expressed the greatest need. To learn more about the Clean Tennessee Energy Grant and future grants, please visit www.tn.gov/environment/energygrants/ or contact Kathy Glapa at (615) 253-8780 or Kathy.Glapa@tn.gov.   



Recipient Organization

Grant Amount

Brief Project Description


City of Oak Ridge


To replace and retrofit existing fluorescent lighting fixtures to LED lighting in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building and the Oak Ridge Civic Center Complex. This project will enhance the actual lighting, save electricity, make the buildings more energy efficient and reduce electric energy usage by approximately 250,000 kWh per year. This is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 147 passenger vehicles, carbon dioxide emissions from 78,998 gallons of gasoline consumed, and carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of 105 homes for one year.


Clinton Utilities Board



To renovate the wastewater treatment plant with new diffusers, blowers, electrical and pipe-works. Estimated savings in replacing the aeration system for the wastewater plant is 271,800 kWh a year or 22,650 kWh per month, saving $60 a day for a total of $21,900 annually. The reduction in carbon intensity is 927,420,098 BTUs.  The aeration system replacement will also provide air emission reductions of about 1,613 metric tons of carbon dioxide.


City of Cleveland


To replace the existing EPDM roof with an energy-efficient thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) membrane roof, as part of the ongoing efforts to reduce energy waste at the Community Center through excessive electricity usage. The projected savings are estimated at $323,614.74 over a 20-year period. The new roof will also result in a 90.2-percent reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen oxide.


City of Elizabethton


To install oxidation ditch equipment into an existing unused basin allowing an aging and inefficient conventional aeration treatment train to be decommissioned. The oxidation ditch will consume less power to treat equivalent plant flows resulting in significant energy savings. The proposed project will lower the plant’s monthly aeration power consumption from 76,800 kWh to 59,000 kWh, resulting in a monthly energy consumption savings of approximately 17,800 kWh. This project will save $20,826 in aeration power costs in 2013 and annual emissions reductions will be 231 pounds of nitrogen oxide, 728 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 306,951 pounds of carbon dioxide.


Town of Ashland City


To upgrade and expand the water/wastewater plant by replacing the HVAC with a SEER rating above 16, installing low-wattage LED lighting and varying frequency drives (VFD) on water treatment pumps to use only energy necessary to meet demand. With the three new HVAC units, the city would have a monthly savings of $90 and a yearly savings of $1,080. The LED lighting would save over 70 kWh per month. By placing a varying frequency drive on the water plant motors, the plant will reduce energy use by 32 percent.  The plant uses an average of 42,480 kWh every month, which is an average of $5,000 a month. With the installation of a VFD, the plant will save 13,594 kWh monthly, along with a monetary savings of $1,600 monthly and $19,200 annually.


Duck River Utility Commission


To implement TVA Energy Audit recommendations by replacing all inefficient light fixtures with high-efficiency fixtures and installing occupancy sensors resulting in approximately a 60 percent electric energy savings. These savings represent large reductions in electrical production emissions and lowered use of natural resources. The project will save 173,072 kWh per year or an average of $11,942 per year in electrical cost savings. Estimated emission reductions include 454 pounds of nitrogen oxide, 980 pounds of sulfur dioxide, 283,967 pounds of carbon dioxide, as well as a minor reduction in hazardous air pollutants through reduced power plant demand. These reductions are equivalent to annual greenhouse gas emissions from 23.4 passenger vehicles or 13,379 gallons of gasoline.


Cumberland County


To retro-fit existing buildings with drop-ceilings, energy efficient lighting, network thermostats and a solar package. When complete, this project will save over $12,000 per year in energy consumption and will save 32 percent in energy loss from HVAC units. The solar component will generate 12,808 kWh of energy to be sold for $2,433 per year. By putting a drop ceiling in these locations, they can reduce the amount of energy needed to maintain optimal temperatures in these buildings by 32 percent. Drop ceilings will directly save $9,125.64 per year in operating costs.


Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority


To construct a 50 kWh solar array canopy parking structure servicing at least three new electric vehicle charging stations. Excess power produced from the solar array will supply power to nearby parking lot lighting, which will be retrofitted with LED technology. Rainfall runoff from the canopy array will be captured and stored for the purpose of irrigating adjacent landscaping. The solar array will generate approximately 60,500 kWh of renewable power per year, reducing air emissions by 65 pounds of nitrogen oxide, 206 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 86,946 pounds of carbon dioxide. The total carbon dioxide emission reduction is approximately 172,946 pounds per year.


Water & Light Commission, Town of Greeneville


To replace three inefficient pumps with one energy efficient pump and install two variable speed drives on existing pumps in order to reduce energy consumption and operate the pumps more efficiently. The energy savings are projected to be 2,895,140 kWh savings annually, which translates to $243,194 per year. Based on the $546,863 capital investment to replace the pumps, this converts to a return on investment in 2.25 years. The project will translate to air emissions reductions of 2,042 metric tons of carbon dioxide kept out of the atmosphere annually.


Chattanooga Fire Department – Firehouse #11


To support the additional cost premium to install a geothermal HVAC system in the office/living/sleeping area of Firehouse #11. Total savings by installing geothermal will be approximately $1,790 annually and a reduction in electric generation by 13,490 kWh. Air emission reductions will be 175 pounds of nitrogen oxide, 552 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 232,627 pounds of carbon dioxide.


Chattanooga Fire Department – Firehouse #9


To support the additional cost premium to install a geothermal HVAC system in the office/living/sleeping area of Firehouse #9. Total savings by installing geothermal will be $1,686 annually. The effect of implementing this project will reduce electric generation by 13,490 kWh. Air emission reductions will be 175 pounds of nitrogen oxide, 552 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 232,627 pounds of carbon dioxide.


Town of Middleton


To improve existing motors and pumps at the wastewater treatment facility. Proposed improvements have the potential to save the town of Middleton a yearly energy savings of $3,780. Average monthly energy savings include 2,859 kWh and $315 per month. Annually, this equates to 34,308 kWh and $3,780. Air emissions will be reduced by 41 percent, reducing 37 pounds of nitrogen oxide, 117 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 49,302 pounds of carbon dioxide.


Hardin County


To implement energy efficiency upgrades to the Hardin County Fairgrounds. The upgrades will consist of replacing 220 34-watt bulbs with new 17-watt energy efficiency lighting and installing a new HVAC system. Estimated monetary savings will be $1,327.99, which can then be used to fund additional energy efficiency upgrades in other county-owned facilities. This project’s outcome goal is increased energy efficiency, reduced energy consumption, and reduced energy costs through efficiency improvements in the building sector. The total estimated annual energy use reduction is estimated to be 27,840 kWh.


Knoxville Utilities Board


To replace an existing black roof with a cool, white roof at one of its facilities. In addition to calculated energy savings and emissions reductions, cool roofs are known to reduce the urban heat island effect through improved reflectance and emittance. Replacing the rooftop and upgrading insulation is estimated to provide an annual savings of 20,364 kilowatt hours and $1,230 compared to a black roof. These energy savings would result in annual emissions reductions of 29,263 pounds of carbon dioxide, 69 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 22 pounds of nitrogen oxide.


McMinn County


To add a 16,000-square-foot inmate pod and a 27,000- square-foot courthouse addition to the McMinn County Justice Center. A geothermal HVAC system will be used to heat and cool both buildings. This requires a total of 96 wells that are each 300 feet deep plus the purchase and installation of the HVAC units. The geothermal system, when compared to traditional electric and gas HVAC, will reduce energy consumption by 750,000 kWh per year with a $45,000 per year in net savings.



Sweetwater Utilities Board


To renovate the water treatment plant. Phase 1 of the renovation is to replace existing pumps and electrical switch gear with new pumps with high efficiency motors controlled by variable frequency drives. The filter media at the plant will also be replaced. The work will eliminate many low efficiency motors and across the line starters, thereby saving energy and lowering emissions. The changes to the pumps will decrease the overall energy usage of the utility by 133,558 kWh annually. Through this energy reduction, the utilities board will save up to $15,000 annually. Pollutant emissions will be reduced by 144 pounds of nitrogen oxide, 455 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 191,926 pounds of carbon dioxide.



Cumberland Utility District


To replace outdated, inefficient pumps with high efficiency pumps with variable frequency drives, reduction in system pumping requirements and various lighting and HVAC improvements at treatment plant. Total energy savings for the project is approximately 1,454,800 kWh and $126,840 annually. Total yearly emissions reductions include 2,090,599 pounds of carbon dioxide, 4,957 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 1,570 pounds of nitrogen oxide.


City of Gatlinburg


To replace 124 400-watt metal halide bulbs with 250-watt fixtures in the Great Hall of the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Estimated energy savings include 140,601 kWh and $11,248.06 annually with a 5.4-year return on investment.  It is estimated that 524 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions are produced from the electricity supplied to the Great Hall and 262 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions result from lighting the Great Hall. Assuming that this project will result in a reduction of 17.5 percent of energy used, it is estimated that the project will result in a reduction of 45.9 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.


Sumner County


To complete lighting and HVAC improvements at the Sumner County Criminal Justice Center (jail facility). The proposed project will involve the installation of LED and LEP lights, which will be more energy efficient. The project will also involve purchase and installation of Building Automated System (BAS) controllers for the HVAC system. The county will realize significant energy savings from this project. The jail building has the highest electricity demand for Sumner County, with 4,211,000 electric kilowatt hours used from December 2010 to December 2011, with an average of 350,916 kilowatt usage per month. The reduction in kilowatt hours usage for the lighting project will provide an estimated annual savings in energy costs of approximately $49,000.