December 14, 2007 - The City of Knoxville's
government spends $9.7 million a year on energy, burns through more
than 2.4 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel, produces more
than 75,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 2.1 million pounds
of waste annually.
The city's street and traffic lights accounted for almost a quarter
of its total CO2 emissions and the electric bill for those lights
- nearly $3 million - exceeds the costs of fueling the city's fleet.
The city spent $2.92 million to keep those vehicles, including
buses, police cruisers, public service trucks and fire engines,
Those figures were in the City of Knoxville Energy Consumption
and Emissions Inventory released during a meeting of the city's
Energy & Sustainability Task Force this week.
The group - which includes members from the city, the University
of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Knoxville Utilities
Board, environmental groups and others - is charged with analyzing
city government's energy use and developing a plan to reduce its
energy consumption, costs and emissions.
Madeleine Weil, the city's deputy director of Policy and Communications,
chairs the Task Force, which was created earlier this year.
Weil said the energy inventory was an important step in the process
because, "We have to know where we are before we can decide
where we want to go."
She and Beth Reed developed the report for the task force using
information from local, state and federal agencies and methodology
from ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.
"The inventory is still somewhat of a work in progress,"
she said, "but it is complete enough to start providing some
insights about where the opportunities are."
The report is available on the City of Knoxville's website at www.cityofknoxville.org
Some other findings of interest from the report include: Electricity was the city's single largest energy expense at $5.36
million, or 55 percent of the city's total, while gasoline was a
far distant second and biodiesel fuel was third.
Electricity was also the leading source of CO2 emissions accounting
for nearly two-thirds of the city's total.
Specifically streetlights were the biggest single source of emissions,
at 19,297 tons, while the City County Building finished second with
10,450 tons and Knoxville Area Transit's fleet was third with 6,985
The City of Knoxville shares the City County Building with Knox
County, which is the larger tenant, but the report does not differentiate
between the two governments in terms of the building's emissions.
City government is "small potatoes," according to the
report, in terms of overall energy consumption and emissions in
Knoxville, accounting for about 1.6 percent of the total energy
consumption in Knoxville and producing about 2 percent of the
total CO2 emissions.
The task force will use the information to help formulate plans
to reduce city government's energy footprint. Working groups have
been formed to focus discussion in three areas: buildings, transportation
and land use, and waste and recycling.
The city is also in the process of developing a request for qualifications
for an energy service company to help it audit and reduce energy
consumption in the city facilities.
The group will meet again next quarter.
"The level of expertise in the room is huge asset. It is
great to see so many people and organizations willing to step
up to give their time to help make Knoxville a greener, more efficient
city," Weil said of the meeting's turnout.