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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
City's Energy & Sustainability Task Force Releases Report
Energy & Sustainability Task Force
Task Force Presentation - 12/12/07 [PDF]
Task Force Handout - 12/12/07 [PDF]
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, running.

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 tons.

    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.


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